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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Chuck Horner is dead. He died in 1962 on a routine training exercise in the Libyan desert.
At least, that's the way he tells it.
In fact, Chuck Horner is alive and well and living in Florida. What happened in the North African desert is something he can only explain as a miracle. His fighter was pointing nose down, diving toward the sand, and the controls were not responding. Just feet above the ground, against the laws of physics and counter to his training, one last maneuver pulled him out of his dive. Upside down and with the tail inches above the sand, Horner righted the plane and flew home. "Every day of my life after that event has been a gift," he says. "I was killed in the desert in North Africa. I'm dead."
Horner thanks God for pulling him out of that dive. Readers who enjoy the inside story of modern military strategy and combat might feel some gratitude as well, because if the desert has claimed Lieutenant Chuck Horner 37 years ago, we would not today have General Chuck Horner (Ret.), whose stellar career has seen him serve as commander of the Ninth Air Force, commander of the U.S. Central Command Air Forces, and most relevant to Every Man a Tiger , the man in charge of allied air power in the Gulf War.
The story of Horner's survival in the desert and the rich details of his successful command in the Persian Gulf, recounted by Tom Clancy in Every Man a Tiger , are all told with the same skill and craft that Clancy brings to his bestselling fiction. The two men are an impressive team: Horner provides the facts, and Clancy re-creates thedrama.
Clancy does the bulk of the storytelling, but in passages scattered throughout the book and ranging in length from a few lines to several pages, he steps back and lets Horner tell the story in his own words. Clancy knows that it was Horner who made life-and-death decisions in the Gulf War, and he knows that Horner's firm and straightforward prose can best reveal the starkness of command and command decisions.
Neither author wades very deeply into the geopolitics of the war, leaving that work to pundits, journalists, and historians. But drawing on Horner's decades of experience, the two do delve into the lessons learned in the war, and look particularly at the efforts made to build and maintain the broad coalition of nations that opposed Saddam Hussein in 1990 and 1991.
Because this is not fiction, where character and plot outrank historical accuracy, and because Clancy is a self-confessed military buff, Every Man a Tiger is rich with explanations of strategy, organizational details, and enough technical militaryspeak to make a reader feel like he is in the command bunker.