STORM FLIGHT by Mark Berent


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 American pilots languish in a secret Vietnamese prison as President Nixon and Henry Kissinger negotiate the end of US involvement in the war--in the fifth and concluding volume of Berent's highly detailed Air Force saga (Eagle Station, 1992, etc.). Vietnamization, the process that turned America's role in the war over to the natives, is nearly complete. Negotiations with the Viet Cong and their North Vietnamese masters are proceeding, however slowly. American ground troops are being shipped back to the States by the thousands, but the air war continues, and North Vietnam continues to hold prisoners. And there is a disturbing new pattern in the segregation of American flyers in the North Vietnamese prison camps. Electronic Warfare Officers, the men who sit behind the pilots and run the radars and weapons systems, are disappearing from the downtown Hanoi jail known as the ``Hanoi Hilton.'' The word from the prisoners' underground message system is that the Soviets, advisors to the North Vietnam Army, plan to ship the flyers back to the motherland, where their brains will be picked clean of American strategy and tactics and from whence they will not return. After much political agonizing, Special Forces Col. Wolf Lochert, who's been something of a one-man army through the series, gets the assignment to drop into Hanoi, learn the whereabouts of the secret camp, take incriminating pictures, and get the evidence of Soviet involvement back to the President, who will use it in negotiations. Meanwhile, saga star Court Bannister works up new bombing tactics for the huge B52s that will be used to encourage North Vietnam to negotiate more seriously, and saga costar Toby Parker at last gets to strap on the fighters he was born to fly. Militarily true to life in its long stretches of unfortunately snoozy detail--stretches punctuated by terrifying action and heroism. Not the place to start this worthy series.

Pub Date: Oct. 14th, 1993
ISBN: 0-399-13814-5
Page count: 416pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1993


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