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Publisher's Summary

Like Jarhead, We Were Soldiers Once..., and Young, John T. Halliday's combat memoir is gripping, novelistic, and startlingly candid, taking readers through the devastating trials and hard-won victories of flying in the Vietnam War.

The year is 1970, and John T. Halliday has just landed in the middle of the Vietnam War, primed to begin his assignment with the 606 Special Operations Squadron. But there's a catch: He's stationed in a kind of no-man's-land. No one on his base flies with ID, patches, or rank. Even as Richard Nixon firmly denies reporters' charges that the U.S. has forces in Laos, Halliday realizes that from his base in Thailand, he will be flying top-secret black ops night missions over the Laotian Ho Chi Minh Trail.

A naive yet thoughtful 24-year-old, Halliday is utterly unprepared for the horrors of war. On his first mission, Halliday's aircraft dodges more than a thousand anti-aircraft shells. Nothing is as he expected, not the operations, not the way his shell-shocked fellow pilots look and act, and certainly not the squadron's daredevil, seat-of-one's-pants approach to piloting. But before long, Halliday has become one of those seasoned and shell-shocked pilots and finds himself in a desperate search for a way to elude certain death.

A powerhouse fusion of pathos and humor, brutal realism and intimate reflection, Flying Through Midnight is a landmark contribution to Vietnam War literature, revealing previously top-secret intelligence on the 606's night missions. Fast-paced, thrilling, and bitingly intelligent, Halliday's writing illuminates it all: the heart-pounding air battles, the close friendships, the crippling fear, and the astonishing final escape that made the telling of it possible.

©2005 John T. Halliday; (P)2005 Tantor Media, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"With snappy prose, machine-gun-fast dialogue, and techno-pilot speak, he recreates his forays with immediacy." (Publishers Weekly)

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  • Overall
  • Craig
  • Gainesville, GA, USA
  • 01-09-09

Flying Through Midnight

I served in the same unit as the author at about the same time. The exploit that is described in the last third of the book is indeed heroic. However, the rest of the descriptions of the mission and dangers of the squadron are vastly over stated. The writing is simplistic. Worst of all is the reader, who makes the story sound like a farce. I had hoped this book would explain to my wife my life in the war. She and I were so embarrassed by this audio book, I had to turn it off.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Couldn't Stand the Whiny Tone!

As previous reviewers have noted, the author of this book often came off as being whiny and somewhat spineless. Being a former military helicopter pilot, I found the author's story very interesting and familiar... it's a great story overall. But the lavish, lengthy descriptions of the author's internal feelings, fears, and emotions were just way over done and almost nauseating to listen to. It's like he felt the need to stretch the book out by embellishing on his fears and doubts. Don't get me wrong, I have absolutely no problem with a person being sensitive and in touch with their emotions, but way to much text and time was spent in this book on them almost making it unbearable to listen to. Yes tell us you were afraid, but like any well trained military pilot, just move on and tell us how you did your job. Sheez!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Really Annoying...Really

I am inclined to believe the reviewers who criticize the accuracy/honesty of these stories. The reason I don't recommend this audiobook is that the author sounds like a total weasel. Damn, this guy whines like a looser. Look... we all know that fighting a secret war in a complete hellhole is a hard thing to do. I have enormous respect for the people who have served this country during our most challenging times. But I feel like telling this guy to just man up. Its hot... my quarters are bad... nobody trained me... My wife didn't have any money! Good thing this guy wasn't an inlisted man with four kids carrying an M16 through rice patties. He would have melted into a puddle of tears. I am sure it doesn't help that the narrator sounds like a whiner too... bad choice.

Anyway, I am easy to please. I love all things aviation, I love history, and I love audiobooks. However, this audiobook I do not recommend.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Please don't waste your time

I always try to be positive, but this book is terrible. It sounds like something a crew chief would write in an attempt to impersonate a pilot. Many inaccuracies about basic aviation theory as well as historical facts. William Dufris did a great job narrating... but unfortunately he was narrating this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Narrator spoils a great yarn

I nearly quit listening to this wonderful yarn after about 2 hours: The narrator's style was so off-putting. The gent is unable to convincingly emote incredulity, surprise,disgust,disbelief, or any similar mood. It all comes out as a cowardly whine. Unemotional dialogue was good, however. The story is a wonderfully irreverant memoir of JT's experience the Air Force at war. As a contemporary of Mr Haliday, but in the Navy, I can vouch for the accuracy of the "church of the Air Force," being familiar with another denomination of the same church, the Navy. The story was organized well, almost as though we were talking over a couple of Coors. As much as I enjoyed the tale in hindsight, I would not endure the narrator again, no matter how good the story seemed to be. Story: 5-stars; narration: 0-stars.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jay
  • Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  • 05-22-06

Outsdanding

This is a great book that works particularly well in the audio format. It provides a valuable insight into the struggles of a junior officer learning how to keep himself and his crew alive in combat, particularly in an environment that is totally unsupportive. This is a must listen for students of military aviation and anyone interested in the struggles of the US Air Force during the Vietnam war.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Very entertaining

This is a great audiobook - a really fun listen. I'm a pilot (amateur) and even I could anticipate the causes of the failures and/or problems the aircraft and crew experienced without having to have discussions with other crew members (fuel gauges, cross-feed, etc). So, I imagine a lot of the discussions were literary devices for the benefit of educating the reader. Some of it seemed a little too over the top to be true and some was pretty hammy but none of that really takes away from the story. Also, from a historical perspective, this is a side of the war that doesn't get much press so it was very educational when coupled with some extra research.

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Genius

Well written in so many senses. Stick with it, and it will melt your hair.

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gr8 book..horeible narration.

it's a great book, too bad the narration makes it barely finishable. It would have been a great job for George Guudall.

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  • Story
  • Jugg
  • Menifee, CA, United States
  • 03-05-14

I'm Embarrassed......

I'm honestly embarrassed for the author. I thought I was buying a book on Vietnam era Air Force Special Operations combat flying. What I got was a 15 hour whine about living conditions faulty air conditioning, bad mattresses, knucklehead co-pilots and late paychecks.

As a former combat pilot with multiple deployments and three kids also with multiple deployments as ground fighters in the current wars, The author should be ashamed for even bringing this book to market.

Certainly, there are GREAT Air Force contributors - JFACs, A-10s and AC-130s are effective, underrated and in very high demand. Unfortunately, for most of the rest of the service, this story simply reinforces the stereotype of Air Force officers as blue-suited prima donnas with very little regard for the real warriors on the ground.

Don't waste your money or time.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful