A “thrilling narrative of bravery, bravado, and loss” (Kirkus Reviews) that tells the “gripping story of a handful of marines who formed the last body of Americans to leave Saigon on April 30, 1975” (Booklist).
In a gripping, moment-by-moment narrative based on a wealth of recently declassified documents and in-depth interviews, Bob Drury and Tom Clavin tell the remarkable drama that unfolded over the final, heroic hours of the Vietnam War. This closing chapter of the war would become the largest-scale evacuation ever carried out, as improvised by a small unit of Marines, a vast fleet of helicopter pilots flying nonstop missions beyond regulation, and a Marine general who vowed to arrest any officer who ordered his choppers grounded while his men were still on the ground.
Drury and Clavin focus on the story of the eleven young Marines who were the last men to leave, rescued from the U.S. Embassy roof just moments before capture, having voted to make an Alamo-like last stand. As politicians in Washington struggled to put the best face on disaster and the American ambassador refused to acknowledge that the end had come, these courageous men held their ground and helped save thousands of lives. Drury and Clavin deliver a taut and stirring account of a turning point in American history that unfolds with the heart-stopping urgency of the best thrillers—a riveting true story finally told, in full, by those who lived it.
The dramatic story of the chaotic last days of the Vietnam War in April 1975 is an iconic chapter in this controversial war. Books, indelible photos, and news footage have recorded the anarchy at the gates of the U.S. embassy and the departing helicopters loaded to the gills with panicked Vietnamese civilians, distraught State Department employees, and their U.S. Marine protectors. Journalists and authors Drury and Clavin (coauthors of Halsey's Typhoon) give a sprightly account of these events focused on the Marine Security Guards stationed in Saigon and a handful of provincial capitals, and the nearly impossible job they faced as the North Vietnamese Army moved in on the embassy and as U.S. Ambassador Graham Martin dithered while Saigon burned. It's an absorbing tale, filled with selfless and courageous actions by the Marines. The authors relate the experience in docudrama style, replete with reconstructed dialogue that will leave historically exacting readers wishing for more detailed documentation of their research.