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Flight of the Intruder

(Jake Grafton #1)

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  25,021 Ratings  ·  155 Reviews
Also Available in an Audio Edition from Audible via Amazon

In Flight of the Intruder Jake Grafton is an A-6 Intruder pilot during the Vietnam War who flies his bomber on sorties past enemy flak and SAM missiles, and then must maneuver his plane, often at night, onto the relatively small deck of an aircraft carrier. Former Navy flyer Stephen Coonts gives an excellent sense o
Hardcover, 344 pages
Published October 1st 2006 by US Naval Institute Press (first published October 1st 1986)
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Colin L.
Jan 31, 2009 rated it really liked it
This was interesting to me because it was written by and based on the combat experiences of the author who did exactly what my father did in Vietnam. He was even in the same squadron and might have flown some of the exact same planes as my dad. Unfortunately, I can't get my dad to read it or see the movie, due to his as yet unresolved personal issues with his experience. As a result of his beliefs, he quit after flying nine combat missions.
What is so personally interesting to me is that the aut
Jul 04, 2009 rated it liked it
Very good Viet Nam War era novel of love and combat for A-6A naval aviators. Having served with an A-6A squadron aboard an aircraft carrier during that time, I can attest to the authenticity of the colorful experiences described both in and out of combat. The description of air combat over Viet Nam and shore leave R&R in the Phillipines are straight-on accurate. When I returned home from my tour on an aircraft carrier in 1967 I thought I'd like to write a book about my experiences there some ...more
Stefan Yates
I don't know why, but I had expected more from Flight of the Intruder. I vaguely remembered the movie of this novel from the early 1990's and had the book sitting on my shelf, so I thought that I'd give it a read.

Overall, it's not THAT bad, but it's not really that good either. Flight of the Intruder falls smack dab in the middle-of-the-road category to me. The storyline is ok but fairly predictable. The characters really don't have a whole lot of depth and the dialog is really nothing to write
Kenneth Tocyloski
I have a strong feeling of ambivalence with this one. The scenes were both visceral and thrilling. It brings to the forefront the horror of war and how it does mess with your thoughts and reactions.
May 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Easily one of my favorite novels. I'm a naval aviation fan boy as it is, but this book was written by a man that actually lived what he wrote about, (much like Ian Flemming), and it shows. The material is so well sourced and written that it's easy to follow, and the explanations for the technical aspects of the aircraft, carrier life, and tactics are easy for anyone to follow. As a pilot, I enjoyed being able to recognize a lot of the technical aspects as well, but that was really just for me. T ...more
Somehow I expected more.

I liked the main character enough I want continue the series but struggled very much with the language (very technical and I suspect some of the used expressions were incorrect or used in very rare contexts) especially since I'm not native English speaker.
I wish there was a glossary for people without (military) aviation background to help with the many abbreviations (most at least once explained - not always explicit - but still confusing if you're not used to them) and
Nov 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read this book many times over the years. It is always great to get familiar with Jake Grafton again. He is one of my favorite heroes in literature. No matter what the problem is, Jake is always going to take the right path. I need to read them all again...maybe I will!
Fred Shaw
Mar 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If you want to know what it's like to do a carrier landing or take ground to air missile attacks this book will do just fine. Actually the realism in this book by Navy fighter air craft during Vietnam Nam is unequaled. The main character grew tired of losing his wing mates, so he decided to take matters into his own hands. If you wAnt to know what he did, read the book. Incredible writing kept me on the edge of my seat, reading late into the night.
Jan 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio
Having encountered Jake Grafton much later in his career, I thought I should experience his first appearance in "Flight of the Intruder". Having been a Vietnam war A6 pilot, Mr. Coonts' writing brought me inside Jake's A6 and I felt that I was being catapulted off the carrier alongside of him. Those parts of the book that focused on the combat missions kept me completely engrossed. The attention to detail, the exchanges aboard the carrier, and the historical background were much appreciated.

Aug 02, 2011 rated it liked it
This one was a tough one to rate. I feel the idea and plot of the book was fantastic. It is good to see the Intruder get some action in Fiction. I just feel Coonts's writing on this one was lacking the spark to keep me thrilled about the book. At times I found some of the stroyline predictable like a classic World War 2 movie from the 1940's and 50's and lets not forget Spike Lee's writing disaster on Mirical at St Anna's (woof that was bad!!) I get it that it was Coonts's first go at a novel.

John-Michael Wells
Jul 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
An exciting novel with believable characters and extensive detail only someone who was there could provide. The action is tense, detailed, and almost makes you feel like you are witnessing the events yourself. I found myself gripping the book tighter during carrier take-offs and landings. The protagonist is neither good nor bad; but a real person caught in a messy situation with conflicting duties to his job, country, himself, and humanity. The author develops the dilemma of a military officer s ...more
Jan 19, 2015 rated it liked it
I finished this book on the way to take a "hard hat" tour of a carrier, intending to leave the book for another visitor to pick up but, alas, forgot.

The book is mediocre in that it seems like the author is working a checklist: pilot suffers personal loss when his bombardier is killed--check; pilot gets a girlfriend--check; pilot disobeys orders in very, very bad way--check; pilot gets shot down and injured but saves the day through personal heroism--check.

I can only think that parts are just c
Oct 06, 2014 rated it it was ok
I enjoyed the last 1/4 of this 87' novel centered around the Vietnam war much more than the rest. The characters became much more defined, while the story became much less technical. 5 of 10 stars
James Yaklin
Nov 04, 2018 rated it liked it
I'm not sure I "3 star" liked it but I can't justify a "2 star" rating.

The book is well written and the characters are developed very well. In fact, I admit I was so invested in Jake and Tiger that when the story abruptly ended I was left wanting. Fortunately, I had a anniversary edition that included a short postscript that gave us a small glimpse of the fate of all of our heroes.

Ok, so [Stephen Coonts] admits in his forward that he began writing to simply tell the story of his experiences as
Bob Ryan
Jul 16, 2018 rated it liked it
I got this book after meeting the author at a book fair. A very likeable guy who wasn't afraid to share his experiences as a Naval airman and an author for over 30 years. This book, he told us, was a compendium of interviews with dozens of Naval airmen while he was stationed overseas during the Vietnam War. Bits and pieces of actual combat flights stitched together into a compelling story.
His personal story of becoming an author was just as interesting. Failures are much more interesting than s
Stephanie Pieck
Nov 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio
It takes a lot of guts to be a fither pilot, and probably even more to do your flying from the deck of a ship: short runways, getting fired into the air by a catapult, and the knowledge that any mistake could land you in the insatiable and unforgiving sea.
Jake Grafton has guts--when he has to. But he's also got a highly developed sense of what's right, what he feels, and how his actions may have consequences that he doesn't intend. In short, he's a messy human being, like most of us.
This book in
John-Michael Lelievre
Sep 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Well I've been missing aviation lately so I picked this up, strangely, I've never actually read a Stephen Coonts book before and I'm not too sure why.

Our proganonist, Jake "Cool Hand" Grafton is an A-6 Intruder pilot during the Vietnam war. Admittedly, I've never been a big fan of the Intruder, but this novel gave me a new appreciation for them. Anyway, We start off with Grafton losing his BN (Bombardier/Navigator) to a lucky bullet fired by the NVA on the ground. Of course this is a pretty tra
Geoff Battle
Jul 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Flight of the Intruder hasn't stood the test of time very well. There are elements that are excellently executed and some which dullen the experience. Coonts attention to aeronautical and naval detail is second to none, with seamless narration of realistic environments and dialogue upon a air carrier during the Vietnam war. The scenario has been well researched and conveys the culture and emotions well. The action scenes are choreographed tightly and with effect. What lets Flight of the Intruder ...more
Jennifer Collins
Fast-paced and authentically styled, readers who go into this wanting a book that reads like Top Gun, but with less of an eye to romance, will enjoy this. It's meant to give a view into a fighter's cockpit and travel with a military swagger, and it does so. From chapter to chapter, it's hard to put down, and the characters come across the page as real, careful and flawed and cocky as pilots must be. I haven't seen the movie, though now it's more on my radar than it was before, but I'm looking fo ...more
Lee Yun
Aug 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is as on point about naval aviation as Tom Clancy was on submarine warfare. Stephen Coonts does an excellent job in transferring his experience as a carrier A-6 pilot into a thriller about the Vietnam war. Both a heart-pounding ride and a critic of the Vietnam war, Flight of the Intruder does an authentic job of telling the story of it was like to be part of the carrier strike group conducting attacks on Vietnam. It satisfies the reader's desire for a fast paced and exciting plot and s ...more
Rob Haug
Feb 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
I did the audiobook on this one, and it’s clear this was not recorded recently, with the current well of talent.
This was not quite what I expected. I thought it would be a straight action piece, but really it was an homage to Vietnam carrier pilots (and bomber pilots in particular). It really felt authentic, and that authenticity raised my opinion of this novel.
The story wasn’t much. It was sort of “a day in the life of” kind of thing. The dialogue fell a bit flat, though some of that could have
Aug 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
This was an OK read, but I was a little disappointment to me. Having read later books in the Jake Grafton series I was keen to read the series from the beginning. Instead of a well-constructed geo-political thriller what I got felt more like the diary of A6 pilot during the Vietnam War. There was very little discernible plot as Jake went from mission to mission and some escapades whilst on leave.
I am not sure I would have persevered with it without knowing of better stories in the series to co
Dave Warawa
Oct 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
I had read this book many years ago and was drawn to it once again. The author is extremely knowledgable of military aircraft being a military pilot previously. It’s a very good read and displays the range of emotions experienced by Jake Grafton, a fighter pilot during the Vietnam War.
Jun 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
Interesting read for getting the feel of what life was like as a pilot on a carrier during the war in Vietnam. If you're looking for engaging plot, depth of characters, or any development arc; look elsewhere.
Chris Sutton
Aug 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Written by someone who has ‘been there’; you can almost smell that unique blend of salt, burnt jet fuel and hydraulic fluid from a carrier flight deck. At first reading a slightly far fetched plot but, after debating with others who had been there, was it??!!
Paul Parsons
Nov 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a reread for me, and worth it. A story of the Vietnam war through the eyes of a fighter pilot, Jake Grafton. Growing tired of bombing trees, Jake decides to take matters into his own hands and run a rogue bombing mission that might actually make a difference.
Jack Blackhall
May 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Another series up to date.
Sep 28, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Apr 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Read this because my brother-in-law was flying an A-6 bomber in the Navy at the time.
Oct 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this in two days in college unable to put it down the whole time. WAY better than the movie! Alpha Mike Foxtrot.
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Stephen Coonts (born July 19, 1946) is an American thriller and suspense novelist.

Coonts grew up in Buckhannon, West Virginia, a small coal-mining town and earned an B.A. degree in political science at West Virginia University in 1968. He entered the Navy the following year and flew an A-6 Intruder medium attack plane during the Vietnam War, where he served on two combat cruises aboard the USS Ent

Other books in the series

Jake Grafton (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • The Intruders (Jake Grafton #2)
  • Final Flight (Jake Grafton #3)
  • The Minotaur (Jake Grafton #4)
  • Under Siege (Jake Grafton #5)
  • The Red Horseman (Jake Grafton #6)
  • Cuba (Jake Grafton #7)
  • Hong Kong (Jake Grafton #8)
  • America (Jake Grafton #9)
  • Liberty (Jake Grafton #10)
  • Liberty's Last Stand (Jake Grafton #11; Tommy Carmellini #7)
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“The navy took them from all walks of life and winnowed out anyone who showed signs of self-doubt—in other words, anyone who carried the usual baggage of humility that weighed down most of the human race—and retained only those with balls the size of grapefruit and a brain the size of a pea, or so Marty liked to announce after a couple of drinks at the officers’ club. Still, he reflected, Lundeen had a remarkable ability to look disaster in the face, flip it a bird, and go merrily on his way. Tonight the bombardier’s eyes kept swiveling back to the fuel gauge. Greve had not been able to find the target on the first bomb run. Lundeen had insisted on flying a racetrack pattern and making a second attempt. Lundeen was driving, so that is what they did. But as they turned onto the final bearing for the second try, they had run right into a flak trap. Lundeen had cussed and” 0 likes
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