Flight of the Intruder.

Author:Reinhold, Herman
Position:Book review
 
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Flight of the Intruder. By Stephen Coonts. Annapolis, Md.: Naval Institute Press, 1986. Pp. xii, 336. $27.95 ISBN: 1-59114-127-3

Twenty years ago the Naval Institute Press took a chance publishing Stephen Coonts' first book. Flight of the Intruder took off and started his successful writing career. The novel has been released in a twentieth anniversary edition that is more relevant today than ever.

The book tells the story of a Navy bomber pilot, Jack Grafton, who wonders if he is doing the right thing in Vietnam when he bombs targets in the jungle instead of striking the North Vietnamese directly in Hanoi. This tale has the danger, camaraderie, excitement, comedy, and tragedy of military service and combat, along with the reflection and quest for relaxation between missions. Coonts was a naval aviator and knows the details of flight and life on an aircraft carrier. He communicates the emotions, sights, and sounds of Navy life.

Navy life in the Vietnam War included the universal human feelings of fear, anxiety, love, and hate. But the Vietnam War has a lot in common with America's wars of today in Iraq and Afghanistan. Servicemen may feel the same strong emotions. Both eras had peace protestors and calls for the troops to return home. In both eras, Americans are outsiders who don't understand the culture and language of the nations where they serve. In both eras, Americans are dealing with civil wars where U.S....

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