Captain Harding and His Men

Cover of Captain Harding and his Men

Elliott Mackle. Captain Harding and His Men. Lethe Press, 2012. PB. 177p. $15. 978-1-59021-329-2.


Set in a remote Air Force base in Libya during the Vietnam War, this novel continues the saga of Captain Joe Harding and his fellow officers and airmen in Captain Harding’s Six-Day War. At the beginning of this sequel, a C-130 bound for Southeast Asia explodes upon takeoff from Wheelus Air Base. Joe Harding realizes the cargo list was faked, as were other facts regarding the flight as well as past events related to this disaster.

Encountering a sexually abusive wing commander, a closeted Pentagon official, an imposter CIA agent, a vengeful American ambassador who resents Joe’s relationship with her underage son, and an inquisitive sister of a dead colleague who was tangentially involved in the whole messy situation, the reader follows the plot of illicit romance, military relations, and secrets through the lives of people on the base. The kidnapping of an ambassador’s son leads to the discovery of illegal shipments of British weapons and other support resources to anti-royalist rebels, and quiet acceptance by the ambassador of her son’s relations with Joe.

The events occur during the time before Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and its subsequent repeal, and this novel reminds readers of what horrors were faced, not only on the field but in all other aspects of military life by gays who wish to serve their country. Lovers of the television series M*A*S*H will find this novel a welcome read, with humor amidst the horrors of war and the bureaucracy of the military and governmental ranks across countries and borders.

A welcome addition to romance and military fiction collections, Captain Harding belongs in any adult fiction collection.

Reviewer: s.n.




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