It was forty years ago yesterday that North Vietnamese tanks crashed through the gate of the presidential palace in Saigon, marking an inglorious end to a war that the United States chose to forfeit. (The iconic photo of Americans scrambling to get out of Dodge was taken the day before. In the Wall Street Journal, Robert Turner made the case that it was not only a shameful abdication, but one that still mars our foreign policy today, to the world's cost. (You may be stopped by the Journal's paywall. It's a capitalist newspaper, right?) I'm marking the day by watching a DVR recording of "Last Days in Vietnam." I suppose PBS will take a somewhat more "nuanced" view than Mr Turner's.
Some good reads this month: Go to the Warbird's Bookshelf for my thoughts on several new books. There's Joseph Kanon's spellbinding novel about desolate eastern Europe in 1948, Leaving Berlin. It's in the tradition of Graham Greene's The Third Man, though grittier and earthier as befits our cynical time. Then there's the much-hyped The Unraveling by the Englishwoman who against all logic became civilian adviser to General Odierno in Baghdad. (I was disappointed in the book. Indeed, I didn't finish it.) Finally, on May 19 Osprey will publish the long-overdue Aces of the Republic of China Air Force, by the bilingual Raymond Cheung. I'm looking forward to that.
And as my own contribution to Amazon's staggering inventory of eight million books (3.5 million of them in digital format), I've published a new edition of Michael's War: A Story of the Irish Republican Army, 1916-1923, which is based loosely on my father's days as a rebel. When I wrote it twenty years ago, I had the guidance of his handwritten account of growing up in Ballinhassig, of going to war against the British Empire, and of winning that war but losing the civil war that followed. I love the book, and the new version is handsomer and less expensive than formerly: $9.95 in paperback, $2.99 as an e-book. Blue skies! -- Dan Ford
Here are a thousand or so files on airplanes, pilots, and military history, grouped under these headings:
Plus these excellent places to look for more:
Posted May 2015. Websites ©1997-2015 Daniel Ford. All rights reserved.