Overview - Midair is a true account of one of the most remarkable tales of survival in the history of aviation a midair collision at 30,000 feet by two bomb-laden B-52s over a category 5 super typhoon above the South China Sea during the outset of the Vietnam War. Read more...
More About Midair by Craig K. Collins; Charles T. Kamps
Midair is a true account of one of the most remarkable tales of survival in the history of aviation a midair collision at 30,000 feet by two bomb-laden B-52s over a category 5 super typhoon above the South China Sea during the outset of the Vietnam War. Authored by Craig K. Collins, the nephew of B-52 pilot Maj. Don Harten, Midair is an historically important work that is about more than survival. Interwoven through Harten s dramatic story of his million-to-one struggle against near-certain death is a previously unexamined look at how America had developed an aerial battle plan that would likely have ended the Vietnam conflict in under a month during the late winter of 1965. Instead, the country s war planners and politicians veered off course and into a bloody eight-year quagmire. Harten was on the February 1965 top-secret mission a massive B-52 bombing raid of railways, supply depots, and airfields in and around Hanoi that was called off in mid-flight. That mission and battle plan was mothballed until Dec. 18, 1972, when it was dusted off and dubbed Linebacker II, effectively ending the war within a week. Over 120 B-52s bombed Hanoi-area military installations for eight consecutive days. As a result of the heavy bombing, the North Vietnamese declared a truce, attended peace talks in Paris in early January and signed the Paris Peace Accords, ending hostilities in Vietnam on Jan. 27, 1973. It is the gripping tale of a young Air Force officer s first combat mission that instantly pulls the reader in and never lets up."
Publishers Weekly Reviews
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
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In this unabashed paean, writer and entrepreneur Collins (Thunder in the Mountains) profiles his uncle Don Harten, one of the most accomplished Air Force jet pilots in the Vietnam War. Harten flew more than 300 combat missions in three different aircraft (B-52, F-105, and F-111) over North and South Vietnam from 1965 to 1972. The book’s core is an unbelievable tale of survival in which Harten and three crewmen lived through the head-on collision of two B-52s at 30,000 feet during a June 1965 typhoon over the South China Sea. Harten ejected and narrowly avoided death a dozen times before he was rescued. Collins tells his uncle’s life story competently, but he also weaves in many pages on the theory, espoused by Harten and other air-war proponents, that the U.S. could have won the war in 1965 simply by, in the words of the Gen. Curtis LeMay, bombing North Vietnam “back into the Stone Age.” Instead, Collins laments, “politicians in Washington, D.C., rather than experienced combat pilots and planners, managed the war with a heavy hand.” Collins presents this oversimplified side of a complicated, complex issue with little substantive background; the book would have been much more valuable without it. (Sept.)