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review 2018-09-23 18:39
The best explanation of the hows and whys of the air war over North Vietnam
Clashes: Air Combat Over North Vietnam, 1965-1972 - Marshall L. Michel III

During the eight years of its engagement in the Vietnam War, the airpower of the United States was involved in a bifurcated conflict. In the south American warplanes enjoyed an uncontested dominance of the skies, which they used to deploy American resources to surveil and attack the enemy. Air Force and Navy planes entering North Vietnam airspace, however, found themselves in a much different situation, as they faced an air defense network that grew increasingly sophisticated as the war went on. In his book Marshall Michel analyzes the air war fought over the skies of North Vietnam, detailing its twists and turns as both sides sought an advantage in a key front in the conflict.


As Michel notes, given the tactics and technology employed, the air war in North Vietnam "was the one area of the Vietnam War that has military significance in the global balance of power." There both sides deployed planes and weapons designed for a potential war in Europe between the Soviet Union and NATO. For the United States Air Force, this meant using F-105 fighter-bombers designed to strike their enemies quickly, relying upon speed for protection. Armed with heart-seeking and radar-guided missiles, they were designed without cannons in the belief that, in the new age of missiles, dogfighting was obsolete. This was soon proved mistaken, as the smaller and more agile MiG-17s posed a challenge for which the F-105s were poorly equipped. Armed with cannons as well as missiles the Navy's F-8s proved much more capable of meeting the threat, though their pilots were also frustrated by technical problems with the missiles and rules requiring visual confirmation before attacking, which often inhibited the ability to launch their weapons.


As the war went on, all sides adapted in response to what they learned. For the North Vietnamese, this involved developing an elaborate ground control interception (GCI) system that employed both North Vietnamese fighters and growing numbers of anti-air cannons and missiles. While both the Air Force and the Navy sought improved weapons and supporting technology, the Air Force's exclusive reliance on technical fixes contrasted with the Navy, which in 1968 established the Topgun School in an effort to improve dogfighting abilities. New aircraft were also introduced — the F-4 for the U.S., the MiG-21 for the North Vietnamese — which also represented an escalation in ability prior to the termination of the North Vietnamese bombing campaign by President Lyndon Johnson in March 1968.


When Johnson's successor Richard Nixon resumed the bombing in North Vietnam in 1972, the new lessons were employed in full. The Air Force found themselves launching ever-larger missions to bomb tough North Vietnamese targets, while North Vietnamese pilots adopted new tactics to contest control of the air. By now the superiority of the Navy's approach was becoming more indisputable, reflected as it was in the superior kill ratios of North Vietnamese places to their Air Force counterparts. As a result, once the war ended in 1973 the Air Force moved to establish their own Weapons School to teach the hard-won lessons of the now-concluded conflict and employ them to secure American air superiority in future wars.


As a former F-4 pilot who flew in Vietnam, Michel brings a firsthand familiarity to his subject. This he uses to interpret the mass of staff reports, expert assessments, and personal narratives that he draws upon to detail the various airborne engagements that defined the war. His is a dispassionate approach that favors analysis over dramatic narrative, yet his book engages the reader with its clearheaded insights and perceptive conclusions. While it suffers from the lopsided nature of his coverage favoring the Americans (understandable, given the relative inaccessibility of North Vietnamese records), this is nonetheless the best history of its subject, one that explains the hows and whys of the air war in North Vietnam better than every other book out there.

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review 2017-10-19 15:48
Vampire Square - Tomb of Dracula
Tomb of Dracula (1972-1979) #1 - Gerry Conway,Gene Colan,Neal Adams

This is the first issue of a Marvel series that brings Dracula to the 1970s.  It is very Hammer House of Horror, and somewhat predictable if you have read comics from the 50s or 70s  - those horror comics.  It's not bad and somewhat enjoyable.  I love the credits square at the start of the comic.


Its a standard romantic triangle vampire tale.

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quote 2016-03-29 23:31
I decided that any team with both God and Nixon on their side was fucked from the start.
Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72 - Hunter S. Thompson

Hunter S. Thompson Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72

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review 2016-03-29 14:28
Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72 - Hunter S. Thompson

Hunter S. Thompson’s Gonzo take on the 1972 presidential election was such an obvious choice for this year I thought I’d have to start bribing some young journalism majors who snagged it for class back in September months before we really thought the chaos would endure past Iowa and New Hampshire. I’m sitting on a pile of to-read books and put in an order for one of the few copies at the Free Library of Philadelphia figuring by the time it worked its way through everyone who wanted some context for the apocalyptic panic gripping our country’s leading television correspondents and party leaders I’d be in the market for a new read and it might even align with the conventions which could get into some very ugly business.


I don’t harbor a belief that any voice from the past would have kept this election on the rails—and I have to imagine Thompson would just be lumped in with the heated rants writ large—but when the dust clears in 2017 who else could describe the freakish and ugly nature of the 2016 election? Who else will have the language to describe “Bernie bros,” Clinton’s duplicity, the Republican clown car, and everything and anything about Donald J. Trump?


Few memories of the 1972 election survive. The 1968 Democratic convention was much more dramatic and even the crook Nixon was old news, he’d already been in power four years and things kept chugging along. Two Rolling Stone  writers emerged with new insights on the process even during what seems to be a pretty tame election. What would a gonzo journalist make out of 2016?


Somehow Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ‘72 makes this all seem familiar, even Trump... almost even Trump. Before he even gets out of the primaries, which is really most of the action is in '72, we see all the molds in which we cast candidates to this day: The Shameless Politico, the Radical Bigot, the True Believer, the Zodiac Killer, the Ibogaine Freak. At times it seems eerily prescient and has made me question my  own stances in the election—not the big obvious stuff like opposing a guy who has taken multiple op-eds out against innocent men suspected of a brutal crime and one against them even after they were proven innocent but about what we can or should aspire to—and how I look at the politics and the process. Plus, when he levels an insult he commits.


“Hubert Humphrey is a treacherous, gutless old ward-heeler who should be put in a bottle and sent out with the Japanese Current. The idea of Humphrey running for President makes a mockery out of things that it would take too long to explain or even list here.”


The 40th Anniversary Edition comes with a helpful introduction which, good as it is, I can't help but think it a shame that we need Matt Taibbi to explain that Thompson isn’t a mere drug-addled frat-boy sent to freak out the squares, but an original voice with insights that are important to explore. A letter from your younger self except more clever, more cutting, more daring and, perhaps for those reasons, less able to just cope with the compromises we have deemed necessary for the adult world. Maybe that’s what draws him to McGovern.


What’s the importance of Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ‘72? Same as any historical book, perspective. Seeing the pitfalls ahead, and maybe making it a bit easier to know that shit has gotten strange and dark before. We should stand up to it, but we don’t have to panic. Also it’s hilarious and well written. It does feel long for what it is, but then it’s a collection so that can’t be helped (it originally ran serialized in Rolling Stone during the election).

Read. Enjoy. If your city has better sense than Philly and it is hard to get, it will still be valuable later. Thompson's guy lost so there is a whole lot on coping and several post-mortem interviews. Good luck in November.  Unless you’re voting for Trump. The man has been scum my entire life.

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review 2015-03-29 13:44
Mr. Samuel's Penny by Treva Hall Melvin Five Star Reading
Mr. Samuel's Penny( An Elizabeth Parrot Landers Mystery)[MR SAMUELS PENNY][Paperback] - TrevaMelvin

I received a free kindle copy of Mr. Samuel's Penny by Teva Hall Melvin, published by Poison Pen Press, from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.


This is a brilliantly written story of fourteen-year-old New Yorker Elizabeth (Lizabeth) Landers visiting her southern cousins in North Carolina in 1972. It is a different world but as her visit continues, she begins to see similarities in rural area & the people who live there to her northern home.


A tragedy strikes this small town when Mr. Samuel Johnson drives off a bridge & he & his infant daughter drown. He loses a finger in an effort to release his baby from the seatbelt, but in his fisted hand is a special wheat penny with distinctive markings. It was placed in an evidence bag but disappears from the Sheriff's office. 


Lizabeth decides that she will help solve the mystery of this missing penny, even though it might put her own life at risk. Can she find it in time to make a difference?


I gave this well written story five stars. It had a delicate hand in describing race relations in the south.  It also has a full cast of well fleshed characters.


Link to purchase: http://www.amazon.com/Mr-Samuels-Penny-Elizabeth-Landers-ebook/dp/B00OPEFSEK/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1427175231&sr=1-1&keywords=Mr.+Samuel%27s+Penny

Source: www.facebook.com/notes/injoyful-book-reviews/mr-samuels-penny-by-teva-hall-melvin/1561161340832619
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