An intimate, creditable wartime memoir set against the sound and fury of the Vietnamese sky.



Beveled by interludes of poetry, Schulz’s biting memoir tells of his eight-plus years as a supersonic fighter pilot.

Schulz offers snippets of his youth in Missoula, Mont.—where he excelled at sports to the point of being offered a shot at playing professional baseball, then proceeded to be a quarterback for the University of Montana football team while majoring in journalism—but the thrust of his story pivots on his combat missions during the Vietnam War flying his beloved but freakishly dangerous F-100 jet fighter. Early on, in both his searchingly sincere poetry and his controlled narrative, readers will sense the ambivalence he brought to the conflict: “The main U.S. headquarters base at Ton Son Nhut is the grubbiest place I have ever seen; filthy, and old and dingy inside….My first thought was, why would anyone fight over a place like this?” He continues to ponder this question throughout the book, but he’s intent on conveying what it was like to be behind the controls of such a volatile machine as the F-100, a touchy supersonic jet with an overwhelming arsenal of deadly weapons—cannons, bombs, napalm, etc. Nicknamed “widowmaker,” even the plane itself was murderous due to its difficult handling. As the war carried on—this book focuses on the early-to-mid 1960s—Schulz begins to experience a pride in protecting American troops, and he flew his missions with a certain bravura. On 107 of his 275 sorties, he returned with his jet shot up. “Mine was neither a heroic stance nor a form of bravery; it was merely a mindset,” he says, “an attitude based on preconditioning...hyper-extended to a form of unreality by the pressures of combat, cordite and loss—and more than a little anger.” He recognized his recklessness—“I loved being in combat, and loved to join with my metal partner as we roared down the hottest battles”—in time to stay alive; later, he found a measure of remorse: “And I’ve known a strange and special breed of men, / and lived with facts / that would appall me / now—but didn’t then.” Sprinkled into the mix are vignettes of his fellow pilots, vulnerable love poems to his wife, which serve as counterweight to the mayhem, and not enough about his 21-year career with Voice of America.

An intimate, creditable wartime memoir set against the sound and fury of the Vietnamese sky.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4929-6290-8

Page Count: 290

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Feb. 14, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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