#11 The Ghost War

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The Ghost War – Well, I guess every series has its odd-ball book, and this is the one for Wingman.

It was just by a fluke, actually an overlap of contracts, that made this book the only one of the series that was not reprinted at least once. Many of the books were reprinted up to five or six times. But this one just had its original print run, and that was it. The result? I’ve gotten an average of three letters a week for the past ten years asking me if I know where someone can buy it. Trouble is, I don’t. I can only tell people to try on-line used book stores or E-bay. It truly is a collector’s item.

All this only adds to its mystique. Many people have not even seen the book, and that’s too bad, because it has one of the best covers of the series. The story is essentially Wingman goes to Vietnam, first reliving another Siege of Dien Bien Phu, then becoming captivated by the ethereal beauty of the Mekong Delta.

Through it all, he is haunted by the ghosts of those US servicemen who died in the real Vietnam War. It was just my way of trying to honor them while expressing an opinion that those people who ran the real war – the politicians, especially – should have been tried for war crimes. Not whether the war was justified or not. That can be left for the historians. But the way they fought the war – never fighting it to win, but fighting it just enough not to lose, by keeping all these political restraints in place, bombing halts and such. Fifty three thousand Americans died as a result of this nonsense.

War is the worst experience of Mankind. It’s insanity – and too often result of power-hungry men, with small equipment, trying to compensate. If you must go to war, you must fight it all out, no holds barred, no hesitation, 24/7 if just to get the nastiness over as quickly as possible. This was how we won World War II. Doing anything less than giving an all-out effort usually costs more lives, and you wind up on the losing side anyway. And in case anyone isn’t looking, we’re in danger of the same thing happening in Iraq.

Strange words coming from a guy who makes his living writing war books? Yes. But that’s just how I feel.

Because of a number of legal entanglements between myself and the original publisher, it is highly unlikely that this book will be reprinted anytime soon. But we do have a loaner program where fans are able to at least read the book before mailing it on to other fans. Contact Wingman@shore.net for details.

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