Schemmer, Benjamin F.


BCA ed., 1977. X + 326 pp., photo-plates. D.j., 22 x 14cm. Nr.FINE. One dark November morning in 1970, an elite, helicopter-borne force of American raiders landed inside and outside the walls of Son Tay prison, 23 miles from Hanoi. Its mission was to rescue 61 American prisoners of war who were believed to be held captive under brutal and primitive conditions. However the POWs were not there. A Pentagon blunder was suspected and "Top Secret" documents were destroyed but after five years of extensive research and interviews the author is able to tell the first complete story of this operation, tracing its origin and planning over six months. Among the book's many revelations: the accurate information obtained by American intelligence agencies about the POWs themselves, and how that intelligence was painstakingly developed; how they learned only hours before the raid was launched that Son Tay was empty; why the POWs were moved, and why the raid was not called off; what the raiders found at the "school" near the prison. This book provides intimate insights into Washington's military intelligence establishments and into the actions of the "men at the top" as they attempted to seek a resolution to the Vietnam War.

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