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Chickenhawk Kindle Edition
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|Length: 402 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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|Book 1 of 2 in Chickenhawk|
|Age Level: 18 and up||Grade Level: 12 and up|
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"[Chickenhawk]'s vertical plunge into the thickets of madness will stune readers." -Time
"Mason's gripping memoir . . . proves again that reality is more interesting, and often more terrifying, than fiction." -Los Angeles Times
"More than any other writer, Mason has been able to capture the feeling of what it was like to be there." -The Philadelphia Inquirer
"A hypnotic narrative." -The New York Times
"Better than any movie about the war." -Boston Herald
- File Size : 2883 KB
- Print Length : 402 pages
- ASIN : B0031Y9DCS
- Publisher : Penguin Books; Reissue Edition (March 29, 2005)
- Publication Date : March 29, 2005
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Language: : English
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #163,726 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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But where it excels is describing the missions “set this bird down in the smallest spot possible under fire heavily loaded with troops or equipment and pick up the wounded for the return”. Did that sound like too much? It was. And that is where the book excels.
Let me first say: this guy was a brilliant pilot and conveys that well in here! Small nuances about landings no one could make but he makes. The tumble down a mountain side to gain speed when he stalls. This guy should be dead at least 5 times.
Little Time is spent on his return but just enough. He struggled, he excelled, he spends nights with PTSD, he tumbled in to marijuana smuggling and spent time in jail. All the while he unlocked this brilliant book he had inside him. He has a follow up, After ChickenHawk which I have bought to read also.
I couldn’t recommend this book higher although there are slow spots. As a companion book from a North Vietnam perspective read “When Heaven and Earth Changed Places”.
Mr. Mason’s memoire captures an accounting of the Vietnam War first through the eyes of young exuberant American boy who simply wanted to fly. In a very short but descriptive fashion we read of his training, early assignment to Ft. Belvoir – Alexandria, VA; and, then-sooner-than-hoped reassignment to the First Cavalry Division (Air Mobility). Reading through this torrential hell of the many valleys and outposts in Vietnam we the readers see the deep truth to the cynicism behind the events as they occur. Books by authors who write of their accounts of History and as they perceive it to have been all have this common thread in each of their books; Mr. Mason spent a lot of time recounting all of this and I can speculate it was for his own sanity later.
Occasionally along the way we witness an honest caring side of Mr. Mason for the local Vietnamese people; he becomes amazed with their own ability of survivability and their engineering techniques that are considered (then) by most to be primitive; Mr. Mason acknowledges how important this is to the farmer of Vietnam. The book “Street Without Joy” is referenced along with Dr. Bernard B. Fall three times at various stages and based on conversations he recalls at the time. A revelation occurs when Mr. Mason acknowledges that neither JFK nor LBJ used Dr. Fall’s experience nor his books to better understand the Vietnamese as a people – Dr. Fall had embedded with the French in the early 1950’s and wrote a Historically significant accounting of the differences of the Vietnamese people and of how the French were losing the effort. This is something that became lost in my view with regard to the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution of August 1964. Mr. Mason wrote a truthful and outstanding book of his experiences. I was a bit disappointed that he didn’t reveal when he actually received the DFC. In no way does this diminish the significance of the book.
I most certainly appreciated the new “Afterward” Mr. Mason inserted some 20+ years later after the first edition of this book. To all the Vietnam Veterans who served and believed they were doing good (regardless of your personal views later and regardless whether those views are “for” or “against” the war) I thank you – God Bless you! Welcome Home!
Top reviews from other countries
The book tells the tale of Robert Masons time in Vietnam as a pilot of a Huey helicopter. He serves a 12 month stint there which was the normal length of service for a US soldier. The author has a good sense of humour and great wit, he regales some great stories and I quite often found myself laughing out loud. Of course this is a book about war and he does not pull any punches here. He describes in detail many many stories and sights that people will find harrowing. Painting vivid and graphic pictures of how young men died. He describes the overall feeling of futility from the war, about how the people they are there to 'supposedly' save, the Vietnamese people, don't seem to want them there at all. Quite often Robert finds it difficult to tell whether the Vietnamese people he crosses paths with are enemy or foe.
The book explains a lot the complexities of flying a helicopter under constant fire and enemy attack. Some people would argue that the helicopter pilots had it easy. I would not agree with this. I imagine it takes a huge amount of bravery to fly a large helicopter, which is a big target, into a hot LZ that is under attack from machine guy fire, mortars and heavy machine guns. Robert explains the toll this takes on his mental state.
If you are looking for a good book about the Vietnam war, and about the Huey, which was heavily used in the Vietnam war. This is the book for you.
I heard a radio interview with Robert Mason a few days ago. Chickenhawk? I recalled reading the book all those years ago and how it moved me profoundly then. I grew up around military helicopters, my father was a helicopter engineer in the army.
After reading Mason's account of his time in the war, flying the fabled Huey helicopters, the writing still has the same effect. Mason writes with brutal and frank honesty. It is visceral and raw. Death becomes a routine encumbrance, taking hits to the aircraft expected.
A shocking indictment on the folly of war and the madness of a war that cost over 58000 US lives and millions of Vietnamese civilians and combatants.
A sobering book and one I strongly recommend.
Robert Mason's book doesn't glorify war, nor does it demonise it. It is simply a factual account of how the stresses and pressures of helicopter combat can turn a normal young man into an emotional basket case. It is an entertaining and enthralling book that should be mandatory reading at all war colleges.
This is the third time I have bought this book, the first 2 copies I loaned out and never got back. Hopefully, this digital copy will stay with me.