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Chickenhawk Paperback – March 29, 2005


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Chickenhawk + To The Limit: An Air Cav Huey Pilot in Vietnam + Low Level Hell
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Revised edition (March 29, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143035711
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143035718
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (291 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #73,694 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Mason’s gripping memoir ... proves again that reality is more interesting, and often more terrifying, than fiction. -- Los Angeles Times

Very simply the best book so far out of Vietnam. -- St. Louis Post-Dispatch

[Chickenhawk]’s vertical plunge into the thickets of madness will stun readers. -- Time

About the Author

Robert Mason enlisted in the army in 1964 and flew more than 1,000 helicopter combat missions before being discharged in 1968.

More About the Author

Robert Mason was born in Plainfield, NJ in March 1942 and moved to DelRay Beach, FL as a small child. He grew upon a chicken farm, dreaming of flying, earned his fixed wing pilot's license in high school, dropped out of the University of Florida after two years and joined the Army to learn to fly helicopters. He spent a 1965-66 in Vietnam flying a Huey slick in B, 229, 1st Cav and the 48th Aviation Co. He wrote his best selling memoir, Chickenhawk, seventeen years later. Weapon, a novel about a military robot who wouldn't obey orders followed, then Chickenhawk: Back in the World, about the difficulties he faced after the war, and Solo, a sequel to Weapon in which Solo moves to NYC, thinking he will fit in.

Customer Reviews

I first read this book many years ago and am about to buy it for the third time!
Kieran@Timmons.net
The book recounts the training and duty tour of Robert Mason, a helicopter pilot who served in the air cav during the height of the Vietnam conflict.
T. Anderson
Robert Mason, the author of this book, tells a chilling story with treasured words and experiences about the Vietnam war.
J. D. Lamb

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

97 of 100 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 19, 2001
Format: Paperback
Being a helicopter pilot myself for the past 6 years, this book has always moved me deeply, thinking about those men, trying to maintain some sort of sanity in a crazy situation.
I have had the unfortunate luck, of evacuating wounded soldiers, from a war which is still controversial in my country, but I never faced the kind of situations that Mason discribes in the book, and I have always wandered how they did it, knowing that every morning and evry mission could spell sudden death, from the enemy, or worse, by your commander's stupidity.
I think it's a book about bravery, about how these helicopter pilots in Vietnam were willing to risk their lives every day for their fellow soldiers. I believe that flying into combat, surviving it, seeing what might happen if it wasn't your lucky day, then doing it again and again and again, takes a special kind of character. Character shown by Mason.
I have read many war books, some about Vietnam, some not. My country is (unfortunately) filled with veterans, including my entire family (my father was also a pilot and my brother was in the special forces, we've all been through combat). I think this book is special in the way it touches you intimately, making you feel, just as if you were hearing the story from the author in person.
This is not about victory or defeat, this is about something else, and to know what this thing is you must read the book and look inside to see the impact it has on you.
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89 of 93 people found the following review helpful By Mike on May 23, 2002
Format: Paperback
Back in the late 80's, Robert Mason's "Chickenhawk" appeared on bookshelves. Mason's personal story of a helicopter pilot in Vietnam was the first of it's kind and has since spawned a number of personal helicopter stories, and they all owe the market being opened by Robert Mason. I was still in high-school when the book out and I wanted very much to fly helicopters for the US Army at the time. After reading this book I was not sure what to do, I was scared at the thought of being shot down in battle, but also saw the pride in what the helicopters pilots had done in Vietnam. This was also the first book I recommended to my father to read, a two tour veteran of Vietnam himself. I have gone back and reread "Chickenhawk" at least 4 times over the years and it still holds up so well, and I still feel like someone hit me in the stomach everytime I get to the end and read those last few lines.
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65 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Ejner Fulsang on August 13, 2006
Format: Paperback
I recently gave away my copy of this marvelous book to my son. It wasn't too long before I went into withdrawal and bought myself another copy. Bob Mason is a truly honest man, which is not to say that he never lied, cheated, or stole, but that he is one of those rare individuals who can look at himself in the mirror and see himself as he really is, warts and all. That takes an admirable form of courage that most of us don't have. I couldn't do a memoir the way he did. I had to resort to an alter-ego in my own book. I won't claim more warts than Bob, but the ones I have I don't like.

Like Bob, I got into the Army Warrant Officer Helicopter Flight Program after high school in 1967. I was a typical wobbly-one, long on enthusiasm for flying, short on brains, experience, maturity, character, morals, and wisdom. Hey, I was only nineteen! But I sure liked to fly, especially choppers, especially Bell Helicopter's masterpiece, the UH-1 `Huey.' Bob was just coming home from Vietnam the year before I enlisted. He was one of the pioneers of the airmobile concept, assigned to the 1st Cav and traveling to Vietnam by boat with the unit's choppers lashed to the deck. I was appalled at the initial treatment he and the other warrant officers received once they arrived in country. They had to dig their own bunkers. Warrant officers are `supposed' to be officers, rating the respect and privileges of commissioned officers. Actually the commissioned officers used to joke that a warrant officer was just a spec-four with a club card. Still I had to admit that when a unit is freshly arrived in a combat zone, getting shelter up quickly is essential, and I would hate to have been killed in a mortar attack that night because I was too proud to fill sand bags that day.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 22, 2004
Format: Paperback
I never knew this book existed, but being an ex Army chopper pilot with the 1st Cav in Vietnam, I found this to be the most realistic book ever written on this subject. I identified with every single word. Not like the junk you see in the movies.
Probably in the top 5 books on any subject that I've ever read
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By J. Heivilin on August 23, 2005
Format: Paperback
When this book came out was shortly after I had completed the very first AOBC (Aviation Officers Basic Course) at Fort Rucker. Following that is ORWAC (Officer Rotary Wing Aviator's Course) of course, so I read it while I was trying to learn how to fly helicopters.

His descriptions of learning to hover were dead on (of course they didn't help, not much does) and that lent everything else the "air of authority". His style is very readable and his information is first hand and accurate.

Excellent book and a must-read for anyone interested in helicopters, Vietnam or just a good military book.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Redleg on September 29, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is by far the best book about Vietnam ever written. I really enjoy his sense of humor coupled with his cynicism. Being in the military myself, I found this right at home.

The other thing that impressed me, was how he was able to completely change the tone toward the end of the book. You could feel when he had changed and would never be the same. It's almost depressing. However, this is still a great book, one I have read over and over and never grow tired of.
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