From Library Journal
The American B-52 bombing campaign (popularly known as the "Chrismas Bombing") of 1972 remains one of the most debated topics of this highly controversial conflict. Begun by Richard Nixon over the protest of the U.S. Air Force Strategic Air Command, the bombing was opposed by a large majority of Congress and by the antiwar movement. Despite unforseen losses, the B-52 bombing was instrumental in forcing the North Vietnamese back to the negotiating table. While emotional and ill-informed opinions from both Left and Right dominate discussions of American air strategy in Vietnam, Michel (a retired F-4 pilot and author of Clashes: Air Combat Over North Vietnam, 1965-72) offers a cogent and superbly researched scholarly examination that is remarkably free of bias. Drawing from both Vietnamese and American primary and secondary sources, Michel has also utilized a substantial number of dramatic first-person accounts of participants from both sides. His day-by-day analysis of the strategy and tactics of the U.S. bomber squadrons and their North Vietnamese opponents will capture and hold the attention of readers. The author's critique of U.S. Air Force leadership is certain to attract the notice of scholars. A first-rate contribution; essential for academic collections. John R. Vallely, Siena Coll. Lib., Loudonville, NY
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Details about the Vietnam War's last official battle prove gripping reading. It is difficult, however, to separate the battle, which was basically an air conflict, from the politics at the Nixon administration. There may be too much military lingo in the narrative to suit some readers, but an understanding of the role of the air force in the Vietnam War is important to fully understanding why the conflict's last battle accomplished little. "Linebacker II," as the operation was termed, was a victory of sorts for the U.S., but the war was already lost, and the Paris Peace Talks would soon result in a signed agreement. In retrospect, the last battle seems now an ironic end to what many deem a fruitless endeavor in the first place. Marlene ChamberlainCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved