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North SAR – Gerry Carroll

September 2, 2012

Today’s Book: North SAR by Gerry Carroll
Published in 1991 by Pocket Books
Location: I found it in Take it or Leave it

My wife thinks maybe I should take some of my books to Take it or Leave it, but we’ll see. Picked up a few more yesterday… Got lots of reading to do!

Sadly Gerald Carroll passed away after only writing a few books. If you check the link to his name, he actually was a true hero. He was a very highly decorated helicopter pilot in the Navy.

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I have never read anything by Gerry Carroll before, frankly I hadn’t heard of Gerry. I picked it up, I don’t know, because it said “riveting national bestseller” on top. Opened up the book, and there is a foreword by Tom Clancy, as he and Gerry went to high school together, and he always wanted him to write a book, and well, here it is.

This is a book where two main characters, Santy and Boyle, a jet pilot, and a helicopter pilot, who are close friends, and are serving in the Vietnam war. The entire book takes place over a period of only a few months, and describes a number of military operations where the jets would bomb portions of Vietnam, and the helicopter pilots would linger at the edge of the operations to help rescue downed pilots. There are essentially a handful of stories all woven together through the mastery of an extraordinary writer!

When I started the book, and saw that that the story takes place in 1972, I was a little hesitant – this was before I was born, could it possibly be interesting? Absolutely! I found the book riveting, and I looked forward to every time I’d have a few minutes to read some more of the story!

Mr. Carroll intertwines all of their lives and the various adventures into very credible and believable accounts. I felt like I knew the characters and cared about how they made it through.

He also had characters that would start out with a particular attitude and over time changed as the war and events around them affected them.

The story takes place in Vietnam, on an aircraft carrier, and briefly in Hong Kong. And having visited the USS Midway in San Diego, it was easy to picture in my mind the various events onboard.

The story also speaks quite a bit to the political turmoil, and how the local military leaders had to try and work with other leaders around the world, far removed from the conflict, and make good decisions.

In the end, it was gratifying to see the Admiral on-site always err’d on the side of saving/protecting his men, not what the best political climate would be.

A fantastic story, great action, lots of strategy and detailed descriptions made this another great read.

Now to Google Gerry Carroll and find out if he’s written anything else!

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