What US Navy attack pilots say:
Down in Laos is a superbly written war story set in Southeast Asia during the seizure of USS Pueblo, the Tet Offensive, and the Battle of Khe Sanh in 1968.
Down in Laos is not a tiny story. It is a classic suspense, action-thriller about a naval ship, an air wing, and a pilot who is shot down and becomes a prisoner of the Pathet Lao.
But Mr. Partel not only entertains his readers in page-turning style, he leaves them a little smarter about the world. His self-described genre—journalistic fiction—provides the latitude to bring observations and ideas to the attention of the reader. So when downed navy pilot, Lt. Campbell, becomes a prisoner of war brutalized at the hands of the Pathet Lao, his plight parallels the Book of Job and subtly provides a comparison of Western Civilization with totalitarian states that lack a moral compass. And Mr. Partel’s sense of history does not ignore the social issues of the mid-1960’s in military and civilian life, and in the tradition of South Pacific, Down in Laos touches on these issues briefly but deftly.
This is authentic historical fiction about the naval air war in Southeast Asia for avid military readers. And for readers who want the historical background and the social context reminiscent of Patrick O’Brian’s naval novels of the Napoleonic Wars, they will find this tradition carried forward 150 years as USS Ticonderoga, Attack Carrier 14, succeeds the frigate in this well-written yarn of modern naval fiction.
Navy Log Books
- Richard A. Stratton, CAPT, USN (ret.), naval aviator and POW 1967-73 for 2,251 days
“An ambitious bite out of the apple of sea going life with a high degree of credibility....the life and times of Tonkin Gulf carrier air operations during the Vietnam War. Military, professional or layman, you will enjoy this book.”
- Paul Galanti, CDR, USN (ret.), Vietnam 11/65 - 2/73 , former attack pilot and the last 6 years and 8 months as POW
“I've read nearly every book about aviation in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. Frank Partel's book, one of the best, is a page turner…I couldn't put it down....I highly recommend it.”