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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
George W. Kohn’s Vector to Destiny: Journey of a Vietnam F-4 Fighter Pilot is an incendiary true-to-life tale about patriotism, duty, and loyalty. It chronicles Kohn’s war experience as a jet fighter pilot in Vietnam. This is the story of one determined kid with humble beginnings in Wisconsin. From a young age to adolescence, he faces barriers in reaching his goal but proves that they have only made him stronger and more determined in realizing his childhood dream. The cockpit of an F-4 Phantom becomes a different ballgame as these fighter jets are all involved in a coordinated bombing campaign against North Vietnam. Not all his missions will make you shudder, and for those that do, you can expect this book to take you back to an interesting time in history that divided the feelings of a nation.
In its first-person point of view, Vector to Destiny is patriotic in its purpose. It wants to record as accurately as possible what it was like to be a jet fighter pilot who had flown over one hundred missions halfway through his tour of Vietnam. Chronologically, it reconstructs the chain of events that begin in George W. Kohn’s childhood and how he defied his father’s dream of him taking over the family farm. Kohn’s step-by-step narrative makes it easy for readers to empathize with his sentiments. It can be heartbreaking when you come home after your tour of duty to discover that the people of your own country couldn’t care less about your experiences as a Vietnam veteran. Kohn doesn’t paint himself as heroic but merely attempts to capture the drama of war through his own eyes. Nonfiction books like this help you understand the actual experiences of men and women deployed to fight in the interests of national security. This is a highly recommended book, a raw account of a historical event penned by someone who has actually taken an active part in the action.