A riveting Vietnam War story--and one of the most dramatic in aviation history--told by a New York Times bestselling author and a prominent aviation historianEvery war has its "bridge"--Old North Bridge at Concord, Burnside's Bridge at Antietam, the railway bridge over Burma's River Kwai, the bridge over Germany's Rhine River at Remagen, and the bridges over Korea's Toko Ri. In Vietnam it was the bridge at Thanh Hoa, called Dragon's Jaw.For seven long years hundreds of young US airmen flew sortie after sortie against North Vietnam's formidable and strategically important bridge, dodging a heavy concentration of anti-aircraft fire and enemy MiG planes. Many American airmen were shot down, killed, or captured and taken to the infamous "Hanoi Hilton" POW camp. But after each air attack, when the smoke cleared and the debris settled, the bridge stubbornly remained standing. For the North Vietnamese it became a symbol of their invincibility; for US war planners an obsession; for US airmen a testament to American mettle and valor.Using after-action reports, official records, and interviews with surviving pilots, as well as untapped Vietnamese sources, Dragon's Jaw chronicles American efforts to destroy the bridge, strike by bloody strike, putting readers into the cockpits, under fire. The story of the Dragon's Jaw is a story rich in bravery, courage, audacity, and sometimes luck, sometimes tragedy. The "bridge" story of Vietnam is an epic tale of war against a determined foe.
This biography could be entitled, West Virginia Boy Becomes a Very Successful Author....... but that would be too obvious. Author, Stephen Coonts was born and raised in Buchanan, West Virginia, a small town of 6,000. He led the typical life of any boy growing up in the 50's and 60's.
He was born in 1946, and ended his childhood by graduating from West Virginia University with a degree in political science. As happens with many poli-sci grads, he had a law degree in mind, but first he served as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy and began flight training in Pensacola, Florida.
Coonts received his wings after completion of fleet replacement training in the A-6 Intruder aircraft. After serving in the Vietnam War as an attack fighter, he served as a flight instructor, and did a tour of duty on the USS Nimitz. Upon leaving the Navy, he entered the University of Colorado School of Law. After receiving his law degree, he moved back to West Virginia to practice for a couple of years. But, his career took him back to Colorado where he specialized in oil and gas law.
Finally, in 1986, he published his first novel, Flight of the Intruder, which became a huge success, being on the New York Times bestseller list in hardcover. Later, a movie by the same title was produced based on his novel, and was released nationally in 1991. All of his books have been published in several different countries.
Currently, Coonts lives in Colorado with his third wife, Deborah, He continues to write novels from Colorado.