From Publishers Weekly
This thoroughly readable, absorbing history chronicles the air operations known as Misty (officially called Commando Sabre) along the Ho Chi Minh trail during the Vietnam War. Flying mostly F-100s, the air force pilots acted as FACs (forward air controllers) for strike aircraft, directing them to North Vietnamese supply convoys and other targets along the conduit. Newman, a journalist, and Shepperd, a retired two-star air force general and current CNN commentator, launch their account with the story of Howard K. Williams, a pilot shot down on a Misty mission in 1968 and declared deceased in 1978 (his remains were recovered in 1991). They also bring to life a wide cast of Misty characters, including Williams's long-suffering widow, Monalee, daredevil Jim Fiorelli, hyperconfident pilot Dick Rutan and several airmen who were shot down, captured and tortured. Shepperd, a former Misty pilot, also figures in the story, as does Sen. John McCain, who provides the book's foreword. The courage and skill of the pilots emerges clearly, as does the dubious bureaucratic rationale that subjected their families to nightmarish ordeals. A distinguished addition to Vietnam War aviation literature, the volume raises serious questions about both tactics and politics. (Feb.)
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Praise for Bury Us Upside Down
"The stories . . . are vivid and timeless: : the North Vietnamese gunner who was so inept that the Mistys had a standing order not to shoot him; the pilot who dissuaded his new commander from launching night Misty missions by taking him on a night flight and surreptitiously switching on the outboard lights over heavy ground fire; the Misty custom of igniting their afterburners over POW sites, sending out a familiar booming noise that told the downed airmen they were not forgotten. [A] gripping narrative. . . . It's a fabulous read."
–The Washington Post
“This is a true story about real warriors–both those who came home and those who did not–and the legacy they left. The story of the Misty pilots fills a gap in our understanding of the Vietnam War, and reminds armchair tacticians what the true cost of war is, and who pays the price.”
–Joseph Galloway, co-author of We Were Soldiers Once . . . and Young
“Rip that Nintendo out of your kid’s hands and hand him Bury Us Upside Down! This outstanding book will give him insight into what real aerial combat, flown by real heroes, is like. Undoubtedly the best book of its type,
Bury Us Upside Down is the truth writ bold and simple–the story of the men who fought the war flying the toughest missions imaginable, and their families. It is a book of heroes, and just reading it gives you insight into what a true hero feels.”
–Walter J. Boyne, former director, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution
“With its great in-the-cockpit stories of the first jet-fighter combat forward air controllers, Bury Us Upside Down is an incredible account of how it all started. The reader will feel the G forces, the strain of avoiding ground fire, the satisfaction of a completed rescue, the black humor of combat-hardened pilots, and the effects on the families of those who didn’t return. But most of all the reader will feel proud America can produce such men.”
–Mark Berent, author of the Rolling Thunder series
“[A] thoroughly readable, absorbing history . . . a distinguished addition to Vietnam War aviation literature.”
–Publishers WeeklyFrom the Hardcover edition.