Going Downtown the War Aga Han

Jack Broughton, Author, Tom James Wolfe, Foreword by Crown Publishers $18.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-517-56738-8
Broughton, a Korean War ace, flew 102 missions in Vietnam and was vice-commander of a fighter wing. His suspenseful descriptions here of air combat in both wars is unsurpassed. The emphasis is on the extraordinary restrictions imposed on American pilots in the latter conflict and how they responded. When two of his pilots inadvertently strafed a Soviet freighter in 1967, Broughton tried to shield them from official ire by destroying the gun-camera record of the event. All three pilots were charged by their commanding general with conspiracy against the U.S. government and kept in the isolation ward of the psychiatric facility at Clark airbase in the Philippines. ``The whole thing was so absurd,'' writes Broughton, ``that you had to laugh to avoid numbing bitterness.'' There are many laughs in this book, for its author, in common with other fighter pilots, has a guffaw-provoking way with words; but this account is foremost an indictment of civilian and military mismanagement of the air war in Vietnam by leaders who, as Wolfe puts it in the foreword, ``wasted them shamefully by not letting them fight hard enough .'' In the final section the author presents an outraged account of the court-martial that followed. Photos. (August)
Reviewed on: 07/01/1988
Release date: 07/01/1988
Mass Market Paperbound - 10 pages - 978-0-671-67862-3
Hardcover - 978-0-517-05712-4
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