Heroes Next Door
Vendor: Elm Hill
Publication Date: April 10, 2018
Number of Pages: 244
Dimensions: 9.00 × 6.00 (inches)
Written to help address the dearth of age appropriate material focusing on the Vietnam conflict, Heroes Next Door – Hornet 24 gives the middle school and young adult reader a window into the lives of helicopter pilots during that conflict. The book is written with attention to detail, the reader experiences basic training, flight school, and twelve months of life, service, and sacrifice in Vietnam as told by a veteran who lives next door. Matt and Ellie are growing up in an average suburban area, when their next-door shows up with an olive-drab painted Army helicopter. The machinery sparks immediate interest and serves as a conduit to relationship building between the two children and their neighbor, Mr. Ed. Spread over nearly two years the siblings help restore the vintage aircraft and gradually, Mr. Ed shares stories of his training and experiences during the 1960s. Stories from Basic Training gives the reader a sense of the discipline and focus required. Flight training introduces the reader to some of the principles of helicopter flight and performance. Readers travel the globe, landing in Southeast Asia just after the Tet Offensive. The risk, fears, apprehensions, and personal development that come with such a deployment, along with the emotional growth, team building, and camaraderie weave into a series of combat action sequences. The reader is left with a basic understanding of the history of the conflict (thru late 1969), how U.S. and South Vietnamese troops engaged and searched for the communist forces, and how helicopters provided maneuverability and flexibility to the U.S. forces. Along the way, the reader is shown life in a large Army camp, Saigon, and the risks associated with assignment to Vietnam. Heroes Next Door-Hornet 24 also shows some of the lighter side of the conflict, rest and rehab in Bangkok, recreation in camp, team building, and a few current events. It also takes a brief look at the anti-war movement and how it affected the soldiers who were doing their duty. Heroes Next Door -Hornet 24 is a unique book that reveals the humanity and the horrors of the Vietnam War in a manner that is appropriate for younger audiences. With attention to historical accuracy and touching respect for the men and women of the Vietnam War, this book is a must-have companion for any young reader looking for real-life heroes.