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Rolling Thunder

Rolling Thunder

4.2 74
by Mark Berent

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They were America's brave men-seasoned veterans and young daredevil pilots with dreams of glory in the air: Court Bannister, an Air Force captain overshadowed by his famous father, 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; Wolf Lochert, the Special Forces major who


They were America's brave men-seasoned veterans and young daredevil pilots with dreams of glory in the air: Court Bannister, an Air Force captain overshadowed by his famous father, 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; 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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Berent is a decorated Air Force pilot who served three tours in Vietnam. His first novel is essentially a series of vignettes and anecdotes loosely structured around the yearlong tours of duty of Air Force Captain Court Bannister and First Lieutenant Toby Parker, with a ground-force counterpoint in Special Forces Major Wolf Lochert. Principal villains are the Washington policy-makers who send men to die in a war they are not allowed to win. Within this intellectually unsophisticated black-and-white framework, however, Berent's laconic, jargon-rich narrative evokes moods eclipsed by later and more spectacular events. Set in the mid-'60s--the last stages of the professionals' war, when career soldiers were still able to believe in what they were doing--the story focuses on ground-support operations over the south of Vietnam. This was a war the Air Force had been unprepared for and was uninterested in fighting, a war of obsolescent fighter-bombers flown by men who had dreamed of becoming astronauts, and of the Forward Air Controllers, the daring FACs, who called them in on almost-invisible targets. Yet as the novel ends, its protagonists intend to return for another tour of duty, which has come to overshadow survival in their minds. Fortunate is the country, Berent tells readers, where such men wear its uniforms; may they never again be so betrayed. The message is no less powerful for being predictable. Literary Guild and Military Book Club alternates; author tour. (May)

Product Details

Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
20.00(w) x 20.00(h) x 20.00(d)

What People are Saying About This

Stephen Coonts
The fighter pilot's war -- you love it and hate it at the same time, and Mark Berent writes it that way.
W E. B. Griffin
Rolling Thunder is terrific -- a novel of exceptional authority 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. I can't wait for the next book.

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Rolling Thunder 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 75 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I flew in Viet Nam from 1966 to 1968 and from Thailand from 1973 to 1974. Mark's story took me back to the Tan Son Nhut Officers' Club and then to many of the myriad small bases in country. His familiarity with and use of the slang, acronyms, and crazy antics brought it all back to me. As for the reviewers who objected to the language and the almost total absence of questioning authority; there can be no explanation. Sorry gents, you just had to be there to understand. We were young warriors who lived a few days at a time. After 20+ years in the Air Force, two tours in SEA, over 6000 flight hours and nearly 800 combat hours, I can only thank Mark for making my pulse race again after these many years.....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Grew up in the 60's wow what a read,,,,, if profanity was a problem for you, please make it real....if you don't want reality, read the bible. I was a stew for AA in 1967, and brought THOUSANDS OF CASKETS Home via Travis . When will we learn to let the military experts run the war and not bean counters????
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read the story Rolling Thunder by Mark Berent. There were many positives to this story, but there were also a few negatives in the book.One positive to the book is it had a great storyline all throughout the book.I also liked that it was a longer fiction book that kept my interest from the turn of page one to the very end of the book. The negative that most clearly I did'nt like was the profanity that the book showed. There are three major characters in this book, Lieutenat Toby Parker and Captain Bannister both USAf pilots, and Major Lochert, a Special Forces member. This book is different from most fiction books I have read because it is written by a former USAF pilot who served in this war. I learned one important thing about this war ,it really wasn't fought by the soldiers in the field it was fought by high ranking civillian officials behind desks.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The author writes about what was REALLY join on back then. I lived it too and the narrative gave me some relief that I wasn't the only one who felt betrayed by our elected officials and those in certain commands.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As an Air Force Vietnam vet and former Braniff pilot, this book brings back a war that never should have been as seen through the eyes of the men and women who were there. We were supposed to learn a lesson from it but never did.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It opened my eyes about the Vietnam War. Read all the other books on the Vietnam War by Mark Berent. They were so good.
wellred1 More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The war in Vietnam was not something I knew much about, and this book didn't detail the ground troops war but was told from the viewpoint of the air war. It was a story told primarily about one tireless pilot and his triumphs and disappointments. It kept me reading late into the night because I didn't want to put it down!
DON40 More than 1 year ago
keeps you on the edge of your seat. I am enjoying this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This well written tail of the Viet Nam era conflict is hard to put down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mark's writing style is very much like Tom Clancy's. The multiple plot's hold your interest. I'm Now reading Phantom Leader by Berent as well !! - which continues the stories of the key characters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. I found it to be an easy read. My favorite part of this book was during the dogfight with the MIG 19s. I found myself rereadind this part over again because it read like a movie streaming throught my mind. A very well written story. I could see that this is a storyteller's story. Thank you Mark Berent :-)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book finally gave me some insight into why we could'nt and didn't win. Great story telling from the other side. Sorry we didn't know you were shackled by our Commander and Chief. Shame on him and his spineless supporteomrs.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not bad for a flyboy
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Start of a great series. Fun look back at a not fun time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am not usually a reader on History. But, the writer brings the characters to life and gives them heart and soul. I cannot wait to get the next book to see how the characters survive after the Vietnam War and their personal tragedies. I can feel the thunder of the jets, the highs and lows of everyone - this is a must read.
woodySP More than 1 year ago
I don't like talking or reading of the Viet Nam experience but I found this book hard to put down. This story is smooth flowing and to read but more importantly Mark made me feel like I was part of that little portion of the war.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read! Enjoyed how Mark Berent described in detail the the flight of the aircraft. It was like being in the cockpit with the pilot. Looking forword to Steel Tigers!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Took me back to a place and a time I'd tried to forget
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent reflection of the Air Force operations in early Vietnam War. However, no mention was made of the BatCats---EC121--- and their intel inputs to 7/13 for strike preparations. Also, Col. James Jabara a F100 ace was lost on the way in USA while the F-100 deployment was underway from Homestead. Lots of accurate stuff; memories of Korat AB while I was there.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kept my attention, couldn't put it down
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I spent 50 years of my life in big-time NY publishing; with positions in marketing and editorial. I have published books by authors you all know. This is the best 5 novel series I have ever read. While these books are choc-o-bloc with military acronyms and jargon, one need not know anything about what they mean to enjoy them (though ex-military will love them). Read them in order, because each stands on it's own, there is a continuing thread that is wonderful. Book One)
Vampire06A More than 1 year ago
Mark did a great job on this book in introducing his characters for the series. Kept my interest going and was an easy read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I would highly recommend this book to anyone. I would definitely give it a five star rating. In fact I intend to continue reading Mark Berent's books.
Laundry_Whispers 8 months ago
OK, before I jump into this book I've got to give you a little background. First I will date myself and secondly I will show you how lacking my education was while growing up. Born just after Vietnam I don't have any personal memories or ties to this period of American History. A few years later memories I do have are much more about being a kid than stuff that was happening. In general there is not much I do know about this period of time outside what I see in movies or read in books. I have a couple of uncles and cousins that fought in Vietnam but never had an opportunity to talk to them about it. In school, even through college, I never had a history class that encompassed recent American History. I swear, I think every single year of history in school started with the Revolution and let's see how far we get so to speak. I've never studied history more recent than the Civil War. Let's get going. Before I tell you why I really liked this book I'm going to share a few tidbits I didn't. I want to end this time together on a positive note so let's start with the less thans. All the acronyms and military lingo that I struggled to pretend to be able to follow. My memory is less than stellar so even though I read it once and knew what it stood for a paragraph later when it came up again I was clueless, I played along. The technical information, such as briefings, that seemed to take up multiple pages throughout the book. Don't get me wrong, they were kinda interesting in theory but so many acronyms and abbreviations and military lingo that I was hopelessly lost on impact. I feel like in saying this I'm creating an incomplete picture. I work with the military community and some things I am comfortable with and am not hopelessly clueless. However, I am also part ditz and so am in fact occasionally hopelessly clueless. The final drawback for me, though really also an enrichment, is the sheer number of characters. I have a hard enough time remembering the names of people around me. I struggled to remember who was who and where they fit in as different names were dropped off and on throughout the book. This was enriching as well though as the different individuals from different areas crossing paths added real life to the book. That part of it I appreciated Looking at my list of drawbacks one might believe I didn't care for the book. Actually, the complete opposite. Half the locations I just made up pronunciations in my head but that's OK. This book, while fiction, felt very real. Real people, real situations, real politics, and unfortunately real war for an 'engagement' that we didn't belong in. These characters drew me into this conflict, they drew me into their experiences, and even when I didn't understand them I felt them. Throughout this cast of characters I also found a little bit of representation of some of the more common ways that different personalities react to war. Not everyone is a stone cold soldier like Wolf or driven like Court. There are still way to many Parkers. Remember back where I started all this, I wasn't really around during this time. My knowledge is from books, movies, and TV shows. Pop culture so to speak. One thing that continues to hamper the US and our soldiers is the reception these men had upon returning home. The interchange with Wolf and the group in the airport is a prime example, splashing the group with red liquid and calling them murderers, pigs and baby killers. I can't begin to imagine being in those
landersonz More than 1 year ago
I'm hooked! I wasn't sure I'd like the book but wanted to know more about the Vietnam war. But I got hooked right away. Very interesting read but also lots of facts and political insights. Made me realize just how much Obama's war on Isis resembles all the problems we made in Vietnam. I'm on book 2 right now and ready to order #3