FALCON'S CRY: A Desert Storm Memoir by Michael with Denise Donnelly Donnelly

FALCON'S CRY: A Desert Storm Memoir

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A moving memoir of the author's experiences as an air force pilot throughout the 1980s and the Persian Gulf War, that also confronts his seeming postwar diagnosis of ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) and his subsequent realization that he did not have ALS, but rather, ""Gulf War syndrome."" While lacking the polish of an experienced writer, Donnelly makes up for this with an impressive degree of candor--discussing his reluctance, for example, to see a doctor although he fears that his flying skills have been impaired--and manages to convey his feelings of loyalty to the armed services, even in the wake of his discovery that those very same forces had experimented on him with medicines not yet approved by the FDA. The book begins with the disabled Donnelly's current flying--in a video game, then turns back to his training and early military career. He ably conveys the rigor of air force flight school and assesses the difficulties of maintaining a family in the military. More interesting, though, is his take on the attitudes of front-line pilots at the tail end of the Cold War and his own feeling of a loss of mission as bases began closing down in Europe. But all of that alters, and Donnelly's own sense of anticipation builds, as the situation escalates toward war in the Persian Gulf. The sections of Falcon's Cry dealing with the war are dramatic and unlikely to disappoint anyone who watched the ""CNN war"" on a TV set--although Donnelly admits that he can't fully divulge all that happened over Iraq and Kuwait. Donnelly's tale of his personal sacrifices of health, mobility, and career quite naturally overshadow the victory in the Gulf. An honest, deeply felt look at the human cost of war.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0313361045
Page count: 265pp
Publisher: Praeger