Dragon's Jaw

An Epic Story of Courage and Tenacity in Vietnam
Narrated by: Dan Woren
Length: 10 hrs and 52 mins
Categories: History, 20th Century
4.5 out of 5 stars (60 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A riveting Vietnam War story - and one of the most dramatic in aviation history - told by a New York Times best-selling author and a prominent aviation historian

Every war has its "bridge" - Old North Bridge at Concord, Burnside's Bridge at Antietam, the railway bridge over Burma's River Kwai, the bridge over Germany's Rhine River at Remagen, and the bridges over Korea's Toko Ri. In Vietnam it was the bridge at Thanh Hoa, called Dragon's Jaw. 

For seven long years hundreds of young US airmen flew sortie after sortie against North Vietnam's formidable and strategically important bridge, dodging a heavy concentration of anti-aircraft fire and enemy MiG planes. Many American airmen were shot down, killed, or captured and taken to the infamous "Hanoi Hilton" POW camp. But after each air attack, when the smoke cleared and the debris settled, the bridge stubbornly remained standing. For the North Vietnamese it became a symbol of their invincibility; for US war planners an obsession; for US airmen a testament to American mettle and valor. 

Using after-action reports, official records, and interviews with surviving pilots, as well as untapped Vietnamese sources, Dragon's Jaw chronicles American efforts to destroy the bridge, strike by bloody strike, putting listeners into the cockpits, under fire. The story of the Dragon's Jaw is a story rich in bravery, courage, audacity, and sometimes luck, sometimes tragedy. The "bridge" story of Vietnam is an epic tale of war against a determined foe. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2019 Stephen Coonts and Barrett Tillman (P)2019 Hachette Audio

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    3 out of 5 stars

Way More Technical info than Mission Info

This book is not for a novice who has no idea about planes, engine parts, etc. It's extremely technical. I went into this thinking it would be about specific missions. It does hit on that, but not very often. It works around it more than anything. And just as you think it's going to delve into mission specifics, out comes a political bashing. We get it, the Washington bureaucrats made a mess of things. But it was thrown in at very random points. Dan Woren is a good pick here. I couldn't finish, though I tried.

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Not what I expected

Enjoyed this account of the air war in Southeast Asia. This will be a nice addition to my collection.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

At some point the political commentary is exhausting

I am a great fan of aviation history and I am very interested in hearing about the experiences of war fighters. I am a professor in national security studies and read (or listen to) any of the accounts I can get ahold of. One thing that becomes exhausting in many of these books is the very selective political commentary which seems more to cater to a particular reader rather than an objective accounting. I am not talking about anti-Johnson or anti-McNamara writing although as bad as their decisions were they continue to use hyperbole to make their point. What I am talking about are sections where they talk only about prominent modern democrats who evaded service in the conflict. Al Gore (who served), Bill Clinton (who was a Rhodes scholar) and a few others. And they can’t say just that Clinton went to England they had to say he did drugs and slept with English girls. Absent were the contributions of John Kerry, Bob Kerry, Max Cleland, and others. Also missing was Donald ‘not a fan of Vietnam’ Trump, or GWB’s air guard duty. Honestly none of this is even relevant to the story they are trying to tell, it only serves to highlight their bias which sort of makes you read (or listen) to this account with some additional skepticism. That skepticism is a disservice to the heroes that they are writing about.

In any case, these needling comments are, frankly, disappointing from two authors that I really like.

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  • Bill
  • 08-16-19

A good book flawed by bias

This book could be renamed "how much I hate Democrats" as it spends an awful lot of time bagging out LBJ and Robert McNamara. Now many can and do criticize the two, and for good reason, but Coonts and Tillman go way over the top, and are often inaccurate. Given the level of information demonstrated in Max Hastings book Vietnam, and in Mark Bowden’s book Hue 1968, there is no excuse for these inaccuracies.
The authors try and blame everything on LBJ and Mac, without any commentary on the US military overstating their efforts and claiming to be winning the war.
This is a real shame, because the descriptions of the air actions, tactics and combat are first rate.