Minutes after 2 A.M. on November 21, 1970, more than one
hundred U.S. war planes shattered the dark calm of the skies over Hanoi. Their
mission: rescue sixty-one American POWs from Son Tay prison. Less than thirty
minutes later, the raid was over, but no Americans had been rescued. The
prisoners had been moved from Son Tay four and a half months earlier and that
wasn’t all. Part of the raiding force landed at the wrong compound, a “school”
bristling with enemy soldiers, but the soldiers weren’t Vietnamese…
Replete with fascinating insights into the workings of
high-level intelligence and military command, The Raid is Benjamin Schemmer’s unvarnished account of the
courageous mission that was quickly labeled an intelligence failure by Congress
and a Pentagon blunder by the world press. Determined to ferret out the truth,
Schemmer uncovers one of the CIA’s most carefully guarded secrets. From the
planning and live-fire rehearsals to the explosive reactions of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff watching the drama unfold to the aftermath as the White House
and Pentagon struggled for damage control, Schemmer tackles the tough questions.
What really happened during the twenty-seven minutes the raiders spent on the
ground? Did the CIA know the whole time that the Americans were gone? Had the
Agency in fact been responsible for the POWs being moved? And perhaps most
intriguing, why was the rescue—though it never freed a single prisoner—not a
failure after all?
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