Monday, July 28, 2008

{Review} Going Downtown: The War Against Hanoi and Washington by Jack Broughton

This is Jack Broughton's sequel to Thud Ridge. As an F-105 Thunderchief pilot during the Vietnam War, he flew many missions over North Vietnam, some of which are retold in this book (the first book does some of them as well). Often hamstrung by rules of engagement established by politicians without regard to military necessity or survival, he became disenchanted with the leadership and soon was flagged as a troublemaker. Broughton was finally court martialed for attacking ships in Haiphong harbor. They were made strictly off-limits by the politicians because some were Russian, but many mounted anti-aircraft guns and shot down American pilots. Broughton finally became so incensed at this that he strafed the ships on one mission. He was court martialed and convicted. Much later Congress overturned the conviction, but much too late to be of use to Broughton. The latter part of the book relates the story of the legal proceeding and the subsequent actions Broughton took to publicize the government's cover up of it's ineptness.

I would recommend this book for those who are interested in the air war in Vietnam. It does rather bog down towards the end in the politics, but should be considered a necessary read for those of the current generation who may not be aware of how badly the Vietnam air war was conducted by Washington.

Link to LibraryThing entry for this book

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