Rattler One-Seven: A Vietnam Helicopter Pilot’s Story, by Chuck Gross (ISBN 1-57441-221-3, University of North Texas Press, P.O. Box 311336, Denton, TX 76203-1336, Web site: www.unt.edu/untpress. Softcover, 6" x 9", 229 pages, 29 black and white photos, 2006, reprint of 2004 ed., $14.95).
Chuck Gross was 19 years old when he started his 1970-71 tour of duty as a UH-1 Huey pilot in Vietnam. Among his assignments as a member of the 71st Assault Helicopter Company were operations against the Ho Chi Minh Trail (he was shot down during one such mission) and inserting special operations forces into Laos. He based this memoir on his wartime letters and an account of his service that he wrote shortly after his return home from the war. There have been several memoirs of Vietnam War helicopter pilots published, but this one stands out for its clear prose, expert pacing, and emphasis on the soldiers Gross served with.—Thomas R. Kailbourn