Thurston Clarke’s Honorable Exit

One of my jobs as a writer is to review other authors’ books. I do reviews for the Internet Review of Books and the Washington Independent Review of Books. A few weeks ago, I came across an announcement that my friend, Thurston Clarke, has a new book coming out. It’s Honorable Exit: How a Few Brave Americans Risked All to Save Our Vietnamese Allies at the End of the War (Penguin-Random House, 2019). I immediately volunteered with the Independent to review it only to discover that my friendship with Thurston disqualified me. But I learned that we can do an interview. I’ve now finished the book and drafted questions for Thurston. I’ll post the URL of the interview once it’s published.

As I began reading, I was shocked to discover that Thurston included stories about me in the book. My work in Vietnam was classified for so long that previous volumes on the history of the war made no mention of my involvement. But Thurston covers my whole story.

As I read the book, I repeatedly come across events I watched happen. Thurston writes about dozens of people I knew. It’s like living through the fall of Saigon all over again.

I don’t know Thurston’s motivation for writing Honorable Exit, but he stresses the bravery of so many Americans who risked their lives to save South Vietnamese at the end of the war. I hadn’t understood that so many of us went to extremes to rescue our Vietnamese brothers and sisters as Vietnam collapsed. The book is one more testament to accomplishments we can be proud of after decades of being shamed for our participation in the Vietnam war.

So many of us who have struggled to find peace of mind can now take pride.

You can learn more about the book at

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