Robert Mason – Chickenhawk
Read by L.J. Ganser
Autobiographical account of a helicopter pilot in Vietnam, flying more than 1000 combat missions in 1965-1966. In this memoir, he avoids the larger politics of the war, preferring to give readers simply a view of the war as seen through his eyes, from his training as a pilot to his eventual return to the United States. In the end, Mason comes off as disgusted with the wasted (American) lives of the war, but proud of his skill and combat experiences as a pilot flying missions in Happy Valley and other areas of South Vietnam.
This conversational and personal history of a helicopter pilot during the Vietnam War has a narrator who is totally into the spirit of the story. Lots of earthy conversations and conflicts provide ample opportunity for Ganser’s particular talent–characterization with vitality. However, he does not annoy with overacting, and he comfortably switches to informative prose. Lots of technical details about these "air ships" and their place in 1960s’ warfare are mixed in, and the combination of styles creates the narrative drive of this military memoir. The performance ofChickenhawk, bringing together men and war, is so frank in places that one often feels vicarious involvement.