Rolling Thunderby Mark Berent
They were America's bravest men - seasoned veterans and young daredevil pilots with dreams of glory in the air...Court Bannister, an Air Force captain overshadowed by his famous movie star father who fought in WWII, driven to prove his worth to his comrades - and himself...Toby Parker, the brash first lieutenant who gambled his innocence in the flames of… See more details below
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They were America's bravest men - seasoned veterans and young daredevil pilots with dreams of glory in the air...Court Bannister, an Air Force captain overshadowed by his famous movie star father who fought in WWII, driven to prove his worth to his comrades - and himself...Toby Parker, the brash first lieutenant who gambled his innocence in the flames of war...and Wolf Lochert, the Special Forces major who ventured deep into the jungle to rescue a downed pilot - only to discover a face of the enemy for which he was unprepared.
While in Washington at their infamous Tuesday luncheons, President Lyndon Johnson and his Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara, pick not only the targets but set restrictive rules of engagement that ensure Air Force, Navy, and Marine pilots will be shot down as they try to perform their mission. Johnson and McNamara do not permit any military presence at these luncheons as they are convinced they know best. Note that neither ever had any combat experience.
From the Pentagon, Air Force General "Whitey" Whisenand lays his stars on the line as he attempts to convince Johnson that if we must fight in Vietnam, there is a much better way.
Rolling Thunder is an explosive portrait of men at war and the politicians who make critical decisions that place them in extreme danger. It is so authentic and powerful, only a veteran pilot could have written it.
It is the first of the five-book Wings of War series. Next are Steel Tiger, Phantom Leader, Eagle Station, and Storm Flight.
"A taut, exciting tale of good men in a bad war. Berent is the real thing." --- Tom Clancy
"Rolling Thunder is terrific - a novel of exceptional authenticity that hits like a thunderclap. A decorated Vietnam pilot, Mark Berent knows planes and men and battle, and he whirls them around in a story of uncommon strength." W.E.B Griffin
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Vietnam Air War read.
By S. G Spires
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've read a number of books on the Vietnam War -- fiction and non-fiction. Rolling Thunder is one of the best. This book is the start of a five book series that covers the Vietnam war pretty much from the big American buildup era of 1965 to our last big air battle -- Linebacker II.
For a novel, Rolling Thunder reads like a memoir, and I guess that's because it partially is one for Berent.
His descriptions of air combat are authentic and edge of your seat type stuff. But it is the interactions of the fighter squadron and the wing and big Air Force politics that makes this book a great read.
Rolling Thunder starts with the death of a pilot that was flying with Court Bannister (the hero of these books). The other pilot is not a particularly good stick (or pilot as fighter jocks call them) and manages to prang his F-100 all over the jungle. For Court that's bad, not because he loses a squadmate, but because the guy's a powerful generals son.
The series follows Bannister around for the next seven years and through the last book -- Storm Flight, which ends the war with the Linebacker attacks on N. Vietnam.
Berent manages to weave all the elements of Vietnam -- Saigon dangers, Air Force fighters, Special Forces ground combat and political intrigue in Washington -- all into one story.
The only complaint I had with the series is the inclusion of the obligatory romance in Thailand or some RR spot in every book. The romance element wasn't as entertaining to me, but they are always brief interludes and then its back to work and war.
If you don't know much about the war in Vietnam or the Air Force read these books. They are a good education and entertaining.
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