I am trying to expand my web page about Cowboy, aka Philippe Drouin, aka Y-Mlo Krdruin, the Special Forces interpreter who became a warlord in his own right. This project took me back to Jim Morris's wonderful memoir of his time in Vietnam as a Green Beret captain. Dr. Harris's book is a history scholar's view of what the soldier lived and what I glimpsed as a journalist in 1964, when the conflict was changing from guerrilla insurgency to full-blown war. It's quite an experience to read the two books together.
That's Philippe on the right. The image is cropped from a much larger photograph of a Strike Force column en route to Tan Hoa, a mission that inspired me to write Incident at Muc Wa and the movie Go Tell the Spartans. I'd very much like to hear from anyone who met Philippe in his brief lifetime, from 1936 to 1968, when he was apparently executed by his own side. (That was FULRO, the rebel Highlanders who tried in vain to win their independence, first from the Saigon government, then from Hanoi. In the end, the victorious communists treated them much worse than ever the much-despised South Vietnamese did.) If you know anything about all this, please send me an email. Thank you.
The University Press of Kansas has published Vietnam's High Ground, a really fine history of America's war as it was fought in the Central Highlands that made up a considerable portion of the country's land mass, and that spread into Cambodia and Laos. Sparsely populated, and long shunned by the lowland Vietnamese, it was the perfect hiding place and training ground for North Vietnamese infiltrators all through the war. (Indeed, the first and final major battles of the war were fought in the Highlands.) Paul Harris of the British Army's academy at Sandhurst wrote the book from U.S. and Vietnamese sources, and -- a rarity in Vietnam histories -- salted it with excellent maps. Highly recommended.
My other pleasure of August were The Flight, a pilot's-eye view of Charles Lindbergh on his historic voyage from New York City to Paris in 1928, and a really fine boxing documentary, Facing Ali. (Muhammed Ali to you, Casius Clay to me, because I was his fan before he reinvented himself.) More about them on the Warbird's Book Club.
And finally, for Brewster Buffalo buffs, there's fine new book about the roly-poly fighter that did so well for the Finns but so poorly for the US Marines. See the Annals of the Brewster Buffalo. Blue skies! — Daniel Ford
Here are a thousand or so files on airplanes, pilots, and the wars of the past hundred years, grouped under these headings:
Question? Comment? Newsletter? Send me an email. Blue skies! -- Dan Ford
Posted September 2017. Websites © 1997-2017 Daniel Ford; all rights reserved.