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To the Limit: An Air Cav Huey Pilot in Vietnam
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To the Limit: An Air Cav Huey Pilot in Vietnam

4.39  ·  Rating Details ·  186 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
During the Vietnam War, one out of every eighteen helicopter pilots never made it home alive. At age nineteen, Tom Johnson flew in the thick of it, and lived to tell his harrowing tale.

Johnson piloted the UH-1 "Iroquois"-better known as the "Huey"-as part of the famous First Air Cavalry Division. His battalion was one of the most decorated units of the Vietnam War, and h
Paperback, 416 pages
Published October 2nd 2007 by NAL (first published June 30th 2006)
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Dec 19, 2011 Chrissy rated it it was amazing
I loved this book, and I have a feeling it will become a staple re-read throughout my life. The book is about the author's experiences as an Army 1st Cav Huey pilot in Vietnam. While covering these experiences, he also interjects stories of his time in flight school, which actually happened to be my favorite parts of the book. Different parts throughout will have you laughing out loud and other times bristling with apprehension at the fear and dread these men felt during dangerous missions. The ...more
Jan 26, 2012 Kathy rated it it was amazing
At Bob's 50th HS reunion (yes we're that old!) one of his classmates, also a Vietnam vet, told him about this book. In a thank you note to us for hosting the reunion in our backyard, he included a copy of the book for Bob. Since Bob and I visited the war sites in Vietnam in 2010, I, too, was very interested in reading it.

Tom Johnson, the author, was a helicopter pilot for the 1st CAV Air Mobile Division, the division Bob was in. For all of Bob's transports, from base camp to jungle, to another
Dec 13, 2011 Tasha rated it it was amazing
A definite 5 star read. A gripping tale of one man's experience as an Air Cav huey pilot in Vietnam. His stories are full of the bravery, fear and challenges these brave men faced.
Sep 06, 2011 Tena rated it it was amazing

I read "Chickenhawk" before I read this but wished I had found "To The Limit" first.

What did I like most about "To The Limit"? Tom Johnson's moral character, relatively clean language (especially compared to other Vietnam books), and INCREDIBLE stories.

Tom Johnson seems like a solid guy with some solid morals. He promised himself that he would remain faithful to his wife before going on tour and held true to that promise and did not have relations with any ot
Ben Ronis
Jan 11, 2014 Ben Ronis rated it it was amazing
To the Limit is a true story about a helicopter pilot in the Vietnam War. Tom A. Johnson is highly decorated pilot due to his service in this war. This book tells his most extreme stories in a way to keep the reader on the edge of his or her seat. From From medical rescues, to being stranded in the jungle, and more, Johnson will make you want to keep reading and reading.

PROS: Johnson keeps the reader interested from Chapter 1 through the last chapter. The writing is very descriptive and paints
Jun 20, 2012 Evan rated it it was amazing
It's fair to say that I've read more than my share of pilot bios across generations, but its also fair to say that Mr Johnson is a better writer than most of his survivor friends!

While I can cite other Vietnam chopper jocks with crazier tales (Chickenhawk, Low Level Hell, Snake Pilot, etc), only Johnson (for example) can take a simple lakebed crash rescue story and turn it into a vivid 30 page 'nail biter' or take an 'antiaircraft guns got us so I auto-rotated near some trees and we ran into VC
Michael Alexander Henke
Nov 23, 2013 Michael Alexander Henke rated it really liked it
What a great book, and quite astonishing really. The things that soldiers go through, in any war, sometimes defies belief. Many of the events depicted in this book are the kinds of things you would find in big budget summer action movies, only that they really happened and the men experienced them multiple times. One example of this is when the author, Tom Johnson, is shot down with his crew in the A Shau Valley. They spend the next three days moving through the jungle, being followed by NVA sol ...more
Dec 12, 2016 Nikolas rated it really liked it
I found this book to be a quick and easy read, suitable for anyone that's interested in military aviation. I didn't find it as excellent as Ed Macy's "Apache" - for me, the book already climaxed with the first chapter and only managed to bring back that kind of tension with the last chapter again. That doesn't mean the chapters inbetween are bad, far from it, but don't expect the book to go on as exciting as it is in the first chapter.
It's an interesting insight into the daily life of a helicop
Jun 25, 2009 Joseph rated it liked it
This is a good memoir of a 1st Air Cav Huey Pilot's 13 month tour in Vietnam.

WO Johnson tells his story and does and effective job communications the joy, sorrows, and frustrations of his tour. What keeps this book from getting 5 starts and being a great book is Mister Johnson's writing style. This book cries out for a rewrite with a professional writing partner or many more round trips to the editor.
Jun 15, 2013 John rated it it was amazing
Shelves: vietnam
This book was awesome-The chapters about resuing a special operations team in Laos and he and his crew/passengers surviving a shootdown in the A Shau valley were espcially good. Additionally, I appreciated his sparse usage of explatives-too many book today seems bent on getting as many expaltives in a sentenance as possible. I you are interested in reading about helicopter warfare in Vietnam-this is your book.
Oct 24, 2012 Steve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
OUTSTANDING!!!!! An excellent book about Huey pilots during the Vietnam War. The author who is from Carrolton, Georgia flew the UH-1 "Iroquois" Huey in the 229th Assault Helicopter Battalion with the First Cavalry Division from June 1967 through June 1968 during the Vietnam War. He describes the battles who flew into and the dangers of being a Huey pilot.
Chris Craig
Dec 11, 2014 Chris Craig rated it it was amazing
Shelves: vietnam-war
I am a big Vietnam War (conflict) buff and make it my goal to read anything and everything that I can get my hands on about it. I'm especially interested in non-fiction and helicopters. This book did not disappoint.
Apr 05, 2009 Gabriel rated it it was amazing
Amazing book! There was never a dull moment reading this one. Johnson clearly and sufficiently describes the horrors of war from the perspective of a Huey pilot in Vietnam. This is a must read for any pilot, veteran, war buff...ANYBODY! Easily 5/5 stars.
Sheppard  Hobgood
Oct 12, 2010 Sheppard Hobgood rated it it was amazing
This book puts you right there. Not for the squeamish.
Steve Decouto
Great book. Being a huey crew cheif I could relate with alot of it.
Oct 10, 2012 Eugenio rated it it was amazing
Last 100 pages are breathtaking. The rest of the book is also great. Good choice.
Michael Flanagan
Dec 19, 2011 Michael Flanagan rated it liked it
Shelves: vietnam
I have read several books on Helicopter pilots in Vietnam and while this was an entertaining read for me it seemed to be lacking a certain spark to bump it up to a 4 star read.
Tony Scott
Jun 19, 2015 Tony Scott rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015, electronic
Quite an interesting read of the exploits of one of the 1st Air Cav heli pilots in Vietnam. I've read other accounts of the 1st Cav, and this one is certainly one of the best
Nov 11, 2008 Grandpa rated it it was amazing
I enjoy reading helicopter related stories because I flew them and I can put myself in the cockpit with the story teller.
Oct 01, 2012 Kyle rated it it was amazing
Pretty cool account of a Huey Pilot in Vietnam.
Jan 06, 2014 Tim rated it it was amazing
I read this and Chickenhawk and enjoyed this more. As a plus, the language in this book is very tame which to me, made it more enjoyable.
Jan 10, 2016 Machismo rated it it was amazing
As a helicopter pilot, this book isn't only a good read, it's educational!
Richard Clark
Mar 22, 2013 Richard Clark rated it it was amazing
Brutal! I just could not put this book down. You'll feel like you were there.
Feb 04, 2009 Pete rated it it was amazing
A vivid window into what life was like for a 21-year old soldier / pilot in Vietnam. Johnson writes with a clarity and frankness that is at times shockingly affecting.
Jun 14, 2012 Mattymatt184 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: vietnam

Best non-fiction book I have ever read. Actually probably the best book I have ever read. It almost seems like fiction. Unbelievable the things the guy went through.
Review to come......
Dmitry Smirnov
May 27, 2015 Dmitry Smirnov rated it it was amazing
Great book. Especially if you like aircrafts. Good explanation how they flew helicopters, a lot of missions and so on. Very exciting read.
Ken Strong
Ken Strong rated it it was amazing
Mar 15, 2017
Bradley Marchant
Bradley Marchant rated it liked it
Feb 06, 2015
Jerry J Garmon
Jerry J Garmon rated it it was amazing
Nov 28, 2014
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