If you thought "the truth is stranger than fiction" was just some tired cliche, you owe it to yourself to give Christopher Robbins' The Ravens a read. This captivating, 420-page book tells the true story of a group of American forward air controllers (FACs) who fought a secret, CIA-orchestrated war by flying low, slow, inadequate aircraft in support of Laotian hillspeople directed by an indigenous Meo warlord, General Vang Pao, who was himself on the payroll of the U.S. government. Their mission: Directing air strikes on North Vietnamese troops and retaining control of Laos' strategic Plain of Jars.
In contrast to their U.S. military counterparts, the volunteer Ravens - while technically operating under the USAF - conducted their missions in civilian attire, risked casualty rates as high as 50%, and even carried a James Bond-style shellfish toxin suicide pill should they ever fall into enemy hands. While it sounds every bit a work of fiction, Robbins' book is firmly grounded in historical events and references abundant details, firsthand accounts, and authentic operations of America's clandestine "Other Theater." This copy of the hardcover book has been personally signed by the author! An exciting, edge-of-your-seat adventure that far outshines its fictional competition.