Retired Captain Gordon Leslie Bocher brings readers up to speed with the highs and the lows of the Vietnam War from the perspective of an air force pilot.

The Vietnam War was one of the most pivotal moments in recent history. So, it is pretty galling to know that it is also one of the subjects that most people are ill-informed or grossly misinformed about. This is especially so when one considers that the Vietnam War was one of the first-ever conflicts that were televised. When the offensive against North Vietnam began, for the first time in history, what happened on the front lines was broadcasted straight into the living room. 

Because of the war’s screening to the public, its legacy and its impact are still felt deeply today. The results of the war and its effect on the people who witnessed and participated in it continue to reverberate in the landscape of American politics today. They have transformed the attitudes, policies, and public perception of the government and the status of the United States of America on the global stage.

How the government interacts with the media and how it engages in global projects (e.g., war, trade, etc.) can now be traced directly to the aftermath of the Vietnam War, from its protracted length to the massive domestic protests. Although the war ended in the 70s and half a century since US boots hit the ground, the public is still caught up in the propaganda and the conspiracy of the government’s motivations and intentions.

The Vietnam War was one of the most horrific and bloodiest periods in recent American history (arguably one of the most terrible chapters in the whole of American history ever). Almost 60,000 American soldiers died as a direct consequence of the conflict, and an estimated quarter of a million South Vietnamese fighters also. Around as many as two million civilians from both dies were killed, and over a million more North Vietnamese and Viet Cong combatants.

Such is why it is imperative that the current and future generations learn more about the Vietnam War.

Thoughts on Stormrider

Although there have been many attempts to educate the general public about the Vietnam War, these projects and initiatives do so from the point of view of academics, historians, teachers, and people who are third-party observers, distant from the topics they engage with.

The book Stormrider by Captain Gordon Leslie Bocher is in direct contradiction with that view of history. Stormrider tries to speak about the Vietnam War from the eyes of the soldier, a pilot who took part in the conflict. It is important that depictions of war be treated with the utmost care.

Mr. Gordon Bocher reveals an intense and meticulous account of major engagements he was personally involved in, from strafing runs to rescue missions. Stormrider gives readers an unflinching account of the horrors and triumphs of war while weaving in the personal costs of the soldiers who dedicate themselves to their country’s cause. It also paints a more intimate view of what happens when veterans return to their country from a war that was divisively controversial at home; the dynamic relationships that form between comrades who’ve faced countless near-death scenarios. While most of the plot of the novel is pulled directly from the experiences of Mr. Bocher, Stormrider is simultaneously his story and of the average American soldier’s. 

With a compelling authorial voice from Mr. Gordon Bocher that is mostly thrilling but sometimes humorous, Stormrider is sure to touch the hearts of its intended audience and provide them with a better understanding of how the Viet Cong won and why the United States Army ultimately lost.