Layne Heath, Author William Morrow & Company $19.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-688-05265-2
Although Vietnam was a helicopter war, in fiction the men who flew the Army's choppers have been overshadowed by grunts and fixed-wing pilots. Heath redresses the balance with his first novel. In his initial tour in 1969 Army Warrant Officer (CW2) Billy Roark flew slicks--transport helicopters--around the DMZ and the ill-omened A Shau Valley. In 1971 he returns as a scout pilot in the air cavalry to meet a destiny as uncanny as it is appropriate. Heath, a veteran of the fighting he describes, tells the story of Roark and his buddies in a series of loosely connected vignettes, blending the real and surreal in compelling images of a form of war that was new but not unique. Like the airmen of WW II, helicopter pilots in Vietnam staked their lives in machines that offered a thousand ugly ways to die and few chances to escape when things went wrong. Roark's evolution as a ``hunter'' parallels the development of the earlier war's fighter aces; his story can claim a place alongside such memoirs as Billy Bishop's Winged Warfare and Ira Jones's Tiger Squadron. Major ad/promo; author tour. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/05/1990
Release date: 06/01/1990
Genre: Fiction
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-671-70451-3
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-380-71000-3
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