The dramatic story of the chaotic last days of the Vietnam War late in April of 1975 has been told more than a few times in books, magazine articles, and documentaries. The newest book that tells the tale of the evacuation of the last American civilian and military personnel, along with thousands of Vietnamese civilians, is Last Men Out: The True Story of America’s Heroic Final Hours in Vietnam (Free Press, 304 pp., $26).
This readable tome focuses on the Marine Security Guards in Saigon and in a handful of provincial capitals and the nearly impossible job they faced as the North Vietnamese Army moved in on the U.S. Embassy and as Ambassador Graham Martin dithered while Saigon burned. It is an absorbing tale, filled with selfless and courageous actions by many of the Marines. Authors Bob Drury and Tom Calvin relate the experience in docudrama style, replete with much reconstructed dialogue and hyped-up prose.
“Nothing, ” the authors say, “has been invented or recreated here.” But with only a few paragraphs listing sources and nary a footnote, it’s impossible to determine whether or not everything that is presented is factual.