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Chickenhawk Paperback – March 29, 2005

4.8 out of 5 stars 495 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Chickenhawk Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

["Chickenhawk"]s vertical plunge into the thickets of madness will stun readers. ("Time") Masons 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"]as vertical plunge into the thickets of madness will stun readers. ("Time") Masonas 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") 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") 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")

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.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reissue edition (March 29, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143035711
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143035718
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.9 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (495 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,330 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Paperback
While not as action-packed as Mason's first book, Chickenhawk, this sequel is still a fine read. The Kirkus Review calls the book "flat-footed." Before I read this book, I probably would not have been surprised to hear that the sequel to what is probably my favorite book of all time does not live up to the first installment. Chickenhawk is mostly a war story, rich in detail and technical information about the helicopters Mason flew. I am fascinated with helicopters and that is probably why I like Chickenhawk so much. I approached Back In The World with skepticism. I doubted that it had any chance to be as interesting as Mason's first book. But as a fan of Chickenhawk, I was happy to discover that Back To The World does not really try to stand by itself. In many ways, it is just the story of how Chickenhawk was written. It is the story behind the story.
The Kirkus Review makes it sound as though this book is dull, and belittles the significance of Mason's incarceration and his description of the way Chickenhawk was recieved by the public. Personally, I thought Mason's imprisonment was conveyed in a style reminiscent of Henri Charrier's Papillon, another of my favorites.
The point is, it is impossible to fully understand or appreciate Chickenhawk as a description of the Vietnam Experience without reading this book. If you liked Chickenhawk, this is a must-read.
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