Flying Death by Samuel K. Beamon

The reflections of a former Marine, Samuel K. Beamon’s Flying Death: The Vietnam Experience (AuthorHouse, 216 pp., $24.99, hardcover; $14,49, paper), is a memoir that offers insights into the everyday daily life of a Vietnam War HMM-164 helicopter crew chief.

While many memoirs recall a specific battle or reflect upon the political atmosphere of the Vietnam War, Beamon’s offers a personal, apolitical take on his 19 months in the battle zone. Throughout his book, Beamon goes over the challenges of preparing his crews for dangerous missions, of losing comrades in battle, and of the harsh conditions of war.

Making his account more illuminating, Beamon reflects upon the racism he encountered as an African American serving in the military during the Civil Rights era. Expanding the narrative beyond his time in Vietnam, Beamon also includes a discussion of his upbringing, his decision to join the Marine Corps after graduating from high school in 1965, his training, and his post-war life.

The author’s website is

—Dale Sprusansky