The Heroes Who Fell from Grace: The True Story of Operation Lazarus, the Attempt to Free American POWs from Laos in 1982

Charles J. Patterson, Author Daring Books $16.95 (319p) ISBN 978-0-938936-37-4
This is about former Green Beret Lt. Col. ""Bo'' Gritz's bungled attempt in 1982 to rescue American POWs from Communist camps in Southeast Asia. Preparations for the mission included hypnosis as well as frequent prayer, but very litle realistic planning. Much is made here of Gritz's meetings with actors Clint Eastwood and William Shatner, who contributed money to what seemed a worthy project, and of President Reagan's brief interest. The authors' account of the mission itself reveals a series of amateurish and at times irrational moves on the part of this self-styled Lawrence of Laos, ending ignominiously in a courtroom in Thailand. The book, though crudely written and padded with pointless anecdotes, is mildly interesting as a comedy of errors although the underlying theme is solemn: the apparent unwillingness of the U.S. government to launch an all-out effort to establish the veracity of reports of still-captive Americans. Patterson is a California police detective; Tippin is a retired Army colonel. Photos. Military Book Club dual main selection. December
Reviewed on: 01/01/1985
Release date: 01/01/1985
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