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Officially the war in Laos did not exist – both North Vietnam and the USA denied they had troops there. In fact, thousands of North Vietnamese were invading the country and pouring down the Ho Chi Minh Trail on their way to the south, and the Americans were fighting a vigorous war against them from the air. The Ravens were the pilots, all volunteers, who flew through heavy groundfire to identify targets and call in air-strikes. Their mission was so secret that they were ‘sold’ their prop-driven planes for a dollar apiece so they could be struck from US Air Force records. They wore no uniform and carried no identification. Refugees from the bureaucracy of the war in Vietnam, they accepted the murderous casualty rates of what was known as the Steve Canyon Program in return for a life of unrestricted flying and fighting. Devoted to the hill tribesmen they fought alongside, the Ravens did their job with extraordinary skill and crazy courage and with a humour that was all of its own. This is the story, brilliantly told for the first time by Christopher Robbins, of these extraordinary men. Based on extensive interviews with the survivors, it is a tale of undeniable heroism, blending real-life romance, adventure and tragedy.

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