Into the Teeth of the Dragon’s Jaw in VietnamBooks
Erik Moshe is an HNN Features Editor.
You wrote that, “It is not our purpose in this book to write a history of the Vietnam War but to illuminate Americans’ efforts to destroy and, to the extent we can, North Vietnamese efforts to defend just one bridge, the Dragon’s Jaw at Thanh Hoa.” The book is full of the first part of the book’s purpose. American efforts to destroy the bridge are clearly and painstakingly defined and explored in the book, down to the bullets, the cigars in the cockpits, casualty statistics, flight hours.
How difficult was investigating the extent of how the North Vietnamese defended the bridge? What did this type of research entail? Were you both limited by language barriers or barriers to trustworthy information?
How was the experience joining forces to write about the Vietnam War -- a conflict that Stephen received a Distinguished Flying Cross in, respectively, and that Barrett is an expert in, and which carries strong political and foreign policy currents? Was it okay that perhaps your experiences and political beliefs didn’t align exactly? For example, one author is a Nixon and Kissinger supporter, while the other has a few reservations?
When Stephen was a guest on Oliver North’s radio show in May of 1998 (at the 20 min. mark), he got a call from a fellow tailhooker, Barrett, who asked him about a contradiction in the publishing business, where agents and publishers decided there was no longer a market for military-themed books. Stephen, your book, Flight of the Intruder, got rejected by publishers 34 times before it was published. What’s the state of military fiction today in comparison to back then?
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