The author's experience as a Harrier pilot began with the marines' effort to outdo the air force in close air support of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Instead of flying hours from bases located in the former Soviet Union, the marines would fly their VTOL jets from bases only minutes from their targets. Sometimes this worked; other times it didn't or led to friendly-fire casualties and the mobilization of a massive bureaucracy to observe the formalities of an investigation. Meanwhile, the pilots had to fly and fight under conditions that approached the human tolerance for stress. Some of the book's strongest passages are about how the author fought that stress, with thoughts of his family in particular, and readers will rejoice at his safe return. Meanwhile, they will be considerably wiser about a little-mentioned aspect of the current conflict in Southwest Asia. --Roland Green
“Mike Franzak has written a brilliant and moving account of the war in Afghanistan from a unique perspective. As a Marine Harrier pilot, he offers an unvarnished and honest view of combat in this strange land. A Nightmare’s Prayer
is a must read for all those who seek an exceptional insight into a complex war.”
—General Anthony C. Zinni USMC (Retired)
“Every combat aviator will instantly recognize Franzak’s work as compellingly authentic and honest. This is a book for grown-ups; an effort that treats the personal as well as the professional aspects of wartime flying. A Nightmare’s Prayer is the best autobiographical account of combat flying yet to come out of the War on Terror.”
—Lieutenant Colonel Jay A. Stout (retired), author of Hammer from Above: Marine Air Combat Over Iraq
“Mike Franzak’s account of the Flying Nightmares’ twelve month deployment to Afghanistan provides a rare look at an attack squadron at war. His vivid descriptions of the challenges of flying and fighting in that austere and dangerous environment will reinforce the faith of ground Marines in the dedication and skill of their flying counterparts. A Nightmare’s Prayer provides an inside view of a largely overlooked element of the fight in Afghanistan.”
—T. X. Hammes, author of The Sling and the Stone
“Franzak’s vivid writing puts you inside his jet, and also inside his head. This is a gripping account of a Marine pilot’s fight to help win a war—and to make peace with himself.”
—Nathaniel Fick, author of the New York Times bestseller One Bullet Away
"A compelling and powerful combat memoir of a Marine Harrier pilot's deployment in Afghanistan—the war we never hear about."
—Steve Pressfield, author of The Afghan Campaign
"Mike Franzak has written an important literary memoir about the close-air support in Afghanistan from the perspectives of a night attack, single-seat Harrier jump jet pilot and senior officer. Zak's cockpit was dangerous, dark, and lonely. The crying pleas of distressed soldiers on the ground required quick and precise bombing decisions that meant life or death. Read A Nightmare's Prayer, the best personal narrative about Marine Corps aviation since Gregory Boyington's bestselling Baa Baa Black Sheep."
—Quang Pham, author of A Sense of Duty: Our Journey from Vietnam to America