From Publishers Weekly
Until 1980, Special Forces (Delta, SEALs, Rangers, Green Berets) relied on ad hoc transportation from other units to get to every operation. That led to disaster in 1980, when the failed Iranian hostage rescue left hulks of five helicopters in the Iranian desert. The U.S. Army decided to do it right the next time, resulting in the creation of SOAR, the Special Operations Aviation Regiment, a highly trained, aggressive unit of helicopter pilots and crew. Durant (In the Company of Heroes
) and coauthors recount half a dozen SOAR missions from Grenada in 1983 and Panama in 1989 to Afghanistan and Iraq today, all with abundant fireworks and casualties. However, in this account, bravery occurs only on our side, while opponents are gleefully cackling comic-book villains blown to smithereens by America's deadly firepower. Readers who wonder why our magnificent troops are assailing, say, the Panamanian army, which no one would mistake for the Wehrmacht, have picked up the wrong book. It's written for those who love vivid tales of battlefield heroics and seek no more insight from books than they do from video games. (Jan.)
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Three authors, all army veterans, join forces for this history of their service's Special Aviation Regiment. Founded in the 1970s, the unit received a boost from the Iran hostage fiasco. It first went to war in Grenada in 1983 and since then has flown, usually by night, hence the name Night Stalkers, everywhere army special-ops troops have needed to be delivered and supported. Durant and coauthor Robert L. Johnson are veterans of the regiment itself, so they can retell, vividly but discreetly, what it feels like to go into action against what are frequently blood-chilling odds. Sometimes the Stalkers use state-of-the-art stealth helicopters, in whose development the regiment played a significant role; at other times, they use more conventional "birds" and rely on darkness and skill. The book's action scenes are numerous and spine-tingling, its portraits of men living a life of danger absorbing, and the regiment's sadly long roll of honor distinctly moving. Roland GreenCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved