Escape with Honor (H)

Francis Terry McNamara, Author, Adrian Hill, With Potomac Books $22.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-57488-120-2
In the early morning hours of late April 1975, McNamara, the U.S. consul general in charge at Can Tho, Vietnam, was awakened by loud explosions from enemy rocket fire. Over the next few hours, McNamara, who at 47 considered himself ""too old for this kind of nonsense,"" realized that the end had come: ""After twenty years, we were about to run from the North Vietnamese Army."" The career diplomat, whose service includes postings throughout Africa as well as ambassadorships, began evacuating his American staff and Vietnamese agents. Abandoning all but a satchel-full of his worldly goods, he slipped away from his home without alerting his Vietnamese maids, lest they alert the townspeople. He then rounded up a contingency of embassy personnel, U.S. Marines and endangered Vietnamese and Filipino civilians, whom he led on a treacherous escape via 70 miles of the enemy-lined Ba Sac River. Along the way, his convoy was abandoned by its small CIA contingent, threatened by severe weather and forced into a nerve-wracking standoff with a Vietnamese Navy boat. In the end, the group was rescued from rough seas by U.S. Marines. The work of a compassionate, literate man (here writing with Hill, a novelist and former career diplomat), this is an inside view of the final days of the American presence in Vietnam. More importantly, it is an informative, uplifting inside view of how people cope in times of chaos. Photos not seen by PW. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1997
Release date: 09/01/1997
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Paperback - 240 pages - 978-1-57488-230-8
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