Last Men Out; The True Story of America's Heroic Final Hours in Vietnam

Anne Drager (Author photograph) New York: Free Press, 2011. First Edition [Stated], First Printing [Stated]. Hardcover. x, 293, [1] pages. Map. Illustrations. Source Notes and Selected Bibliography. Index. Ink notation on fep. DJ is in a plastic sleeve. Bob Drury is the author/coauthor/editor of nine books. He has written for The New York Times, Vanity Fair, Men’s Journal, and GQ. Tom Clavin is the author or coauthor of sixteen books. He was the investigative features correspondent for Manhattan Magazine. Derived from a Kirkus review: An exciting, focused account of the bitter evacuation of the last Marines securing the U.S. embassy compound in Saigon on April 30, 1975. The Americans washed their bloody hands of the Vietnam War with the Paris Peace Accords of January 1973. The North Vietnamese Army broke the treaty by late 1974 and invaded its southern neighbor. Encircled by the North Vietnamese Army and the Vietcong by April 29, 1975, Saigon was braced for an invasion, with the North Vietnamese called for evacuation of all Americans. The airport had been operating nonstop during the preceding weeks to remove tens of thousands of high-risk South Vietnamese, civilian contractors as well as refugees and war brides . The only option for evacuation of the Americans was by helicopter. Drury and Clavin ably narrate this suspenseful saga, full of conflicting personalities including Sgt. Juan Valdez, who was in charge of the MSGs; and the intractable Ambassador Graham Martin, immovable and holding out for peace talks until ordered by presidential request to get out. A thrilling narrative of bravery, bravado and loss. The monsoon winds swirling up from the South China Sea had doubled in magnitude as Marine Staff Sergeant Mike Sullivan stood on the roof of the American Embassy, watching North Vietnamese artillery pound Saigon's airport. It was late in the afternoon of April 29, 1975, and for the past eight days the airstrip had been the busiest in the world as flight after flight of United States cargo planes ferried Vietnamese refugees, American civilians, and soldiers of both countries to safety while 150,000 North Vietnamese troops marched on the city. With Saigon now encircled and the airport bombed out, thousands were trapped. Last Men Out tells the remarkable story of the drama that unfolded over the next twenty-four hours: the final, heroic chapter of the Vietnam War 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. It would become the largest-scale evacuation ever carried out, what many would call an American Dunkirk. In a gripping, moment-by-moment narrative based on a wealth of recently declassified documents and in-depth interviews, Bob Drury and Tom Clavin focus on the story of the eleven young Marines who were the last men to leave, rescued from the 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 and to evacuate, these courageous men held their ground and helped save thousands of lives. They and their fellow troops on the ground and in the air had no room for error as frenzy broke out in the streets and lashing rains and enemy fire began to pelt the city. One Marine pilot, Captain Gerry Berry, flew for eighteen straight hours and had to physically force the American ambassador onto his helicopter. Drury and Clavin gained unprecedented access to the survivors, to the declassified After-Action reports of the operation, and to the transmissions among helicopter pilots, their officers, and officials in Saigon secretly recorded by the National Security Agency. They deliver a taut and stirring account of a turning point in American history which unfolds with the heart-stopping urgency of the best thrillers, a riveting true story finally told, in full, by those who lived it. Condition: Very good / Very good.

Keywords: Vietnam War, Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City, Marie Corps, Richard Carey, Evacuation, Refugees, Jim Kean, Darwin Judge, Graham Martin, Steve Schuller, Mike Sullivan, United States Embassy, Juan Valdez

ISBN: 9781439161012

[Book #84817]

Price: $47.50

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