The Extraordinary Story of the First Wild Weasels, the Band of Maverick Aviators Who Flew the Most Dangerous Missions of the Vietnam War
A gripping chronicle of the band of maverick aviators who signed on for the suicidal, dangerous top-secret "Wild Weasel" missions during the Vietnam War - which used controversial and revolutionary tactics to combat Soviet missile technology - from New York Times best-selling author Dan Hampton.
On July 24, 1965, Soviet advisors to North Vietnam launched an SA-2 surface-to-air missile (SAM), blowing an American F-4 Phantom out of the sky - the first of several kills using this menacing system. To counter this new weaponry, stunned Pentagon officials created a classified program - "Wild Weasel I" - pairing experimental equipment with a highly select group of electronic warfare officers and fighter pilots to combat this deadly threat. The men who did this became the "Hunter Killers" - and it is time to know their names.
Fifty years later Dan Hampton provides a cockpit view of this highly classified military program that was a radical departure from conventional fighter jet tactics. These courageous, daring, and skilled warriors risked their lives to fight the SAMs and save their brother aviators.
Using firsthand accounts and declassified documents from both sides of the conflict, The Hunter Killers takes listeners into the skies and up close to the bloody duels that left half the Weasels dead or captured. At its center are the men who risked everything to fight the most dangerous antiaircraft weapons the world had seen.
Acclaimed Texas historian Stephen L. Moore's Texas Rising, the official companion to the epic History series of the same name, brings to life the violent Texas frontier and the Rangers' heroic deeds during the Texas Revolution. Texas Rising is an unforgettable history of this iconic band of fighters.
©2015 Ascalon, LLC (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers
I was looking forward to a history of the wild weasels, and instead I got a "fighter pilots" history of the Vietnam War with only brief stories from the weasels interspersed. Johnson, and McNamara bad, general's bad, some fighter pilots good.
Vietnam was a complicated war, and the treatment it was given in this books was cursory at best. Even more disappointing was the very brief story of the weasels. These were brave men who were struggling the technologies cutting edge. I wanted to see their story fleshed out more. For example, he retells the story of the first SAM kill by a weasel, and then as an after thought it was mentioned that only a few pilots from the first group of weasels in Vietnam successfully completed their tour. The story gives the impression that they've got the problem solved, and then afterwards you find out that there was a very low survival rate.
In summary, I wanted a history of the Wild Weasels, and not a history of the Vietnam War with some Weasel stories.
This is an excellent book for someone who has little or no previous knowledge of the Vietnam War in general or the Wild Weasel mission in particular. If you are well versed on those topics, you might be a bit let down. Easily half the book is devoted to historical background and explaining technical topics.The remainder are the 'war stories' (which is what I wanted to hear). I'm not at all saying that this is a bad book, it was just hamstrung a bit by all the background information, which may be helpful for most listeners--just not this one..
I love the narrator, he really sucks you into the action. Great listen and recommend to anyone that enjoys listening to combat missions and war time stories.
"Too much political lectures and descriptions. Not enough description of the actual combat and survival of aircraft ."
Needed a little less talk about politics, and a lot more talk about combat and survival from pilots viewpoints .
Overall a good book on wild weasel operations in Vietnam. The author opens the book explaining the necessity of delving into Vietnam Era politics to properly frame the wild weasel operations. I personally found the extensive political information tiring and excessive. The aviation related parts were interesting and well written. An informative and interesting book overall but not one I'd listen to again.
Great book, well researched and dialogue takes you inside the cockpit for multiple frenetic flights over the Vietnamese countryside. Hampton is effective in relaying an intricate story.
I believe the narrator, combined with the story is a perfect mix. I appreciate that in situations where pilots were mentioned whether they were just participants in a mission or had to bail out, there's an "aside" where the book tells you what eventually happened to that person...
This sounds crazy but, theres's one part where the flying was extremely low to the ground - and fast. The description had me there, and I realized I was experiencing a physiological response in that my hands started sweating and my pulse picked up. I was like wow, that's some good writing and narration.
Gives excellent run down on Vietnam War, and how the Wild Weasels were mingled in with that history. Well done.
Well read. Contains a lot of political and historical information on the Vietnam War. Might not be helpful to those who have this background. But I enjoyed it. Slanted in his views on leadership, but not over bearing.
This book puts you in the cockpit with the pilots and EWO's who flew the Wild Weasel missions in Vietnam. It gives a great account of what they were dealing with and how the technology of the day influenced the fight.
This guy has the perfect voice and inflection for this type of story.
The book does touch on the geopolitical nature of Vietnam. Other reviews tend to dislike this for whatever reason; but, it was really the defining thing about Vietnam. Politicians dictated combat effectiveness and in turn greatly limited our guys. This author goes to show just how these limitations were felt on the aircrews who flew in that war.
Yes, overall it was a good book but there was too much well told history about the Vietnam conflict; there needed to be more about the Wild Weasel missions and most specifically about the F-4 missions that were not even mentioned. The F-105 story is an outstanding historical account that is far too often overlooked but in all reality the F-105s were but a portion, more info about the entire mission would have been welcomed. Additionally, some thoughts about the current F-16 mission would have placed much of the word done by the early Thud Drivers into current context.
Yes, within the listen there is some great stories and info but there is also quite a bit of old news.
Yes, perfect voice for such books
"Wild Weasel history padded with air war history"
This isn't just a history of the Wild Weasels, but includes wider explanation of the overall conflict and aspects of the air campaign. I had expected it to cover pretty much the Wild Weasel project only so while the information added context and the changes to the political environment in the US, it felt like the extra is there to pad out the Wild Weasel history.
Most of the information is useful (especially about the air war) and it doesn't shy from criticising poor political and military decision making in the US. And it will help remind even those with a broader understanding of what was occurring when. However some of it is patchy, can lack specific sources and makes sweeping statements about complex issues; describing the motivations of Churchill during WW2 as only focused on preserving the British empire or using the term 'rabble' to describe the Black Panthers are gross over simplifications and really jar compared to the thoroughness elsewhere.
Where it sticks to its subject it's a compassionate examination of the very brave and driven aviators who flew these missions. It doesn't present much from a Vietnamese perspective and there are very few Vietnamese sources, which is where the book could have done more.
It also includes a useful appendix which gives a concise history of the French and US involvement, as well as the Chinese and Russian influences between the end of the Second World War and the US escalation in Indochina.
The narrator misses some pronunciations, but otherwise does a creditable job with the text. Overall it's an interesting book, but not quite what it looks like from the blurb.
"Excellent and in-depth"
An excellent book with lots of interesting facts about the Vietnam war. If your in to aircraft and military aircraft then this book is for you with interesting stories from the fighter pilots who flew the dangerous missions
A good book detailing the sheer guts and determination required to develop and fly this type of mission.
American accent of reader a bit heavy going at times
"SAM killers historical epic"
An overview of the "WIld Weasel" history of the US Forces in Vietnam, its beginnings, its developments and pilots recollections. Detail is quite specific, and the narration helps visualise the difficulties and dangers associated with the Surface Air Missile destroyer role, while keeping events of US and Vietnam war history as a backdrop.
The excellent narration of operational sorties from take-off to landing (or loss, as success was not always guaranteed) brings the book to come alive.
Excellent, with good content to support his style.
It does not make you laugh or cry, but certainly provides you with an insight to how the people behind the dangerous role of flying Anti-SAM missions had operated under extreme conditions.
Excellent book, and audio book, with huge amounts of technical information while explaining clearly the complex subject in audible/readable formats.
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