Captivating ... White is at his storytelling best when recounting his frenetic shuttling between the U.S. Embassy, the Saigon airport, hotel cafes and seedy bars in search of clear-eyed American officials who might help ... it’s hard not to admire him for his pluckiness in the face of bureaucratic indifference as well as his growth from a risk-taking adventurer into a humanitarian with genuine compassion for the Vietnamese whose lives depended on him ... But the book’s tight narration of one man’s exploits is also its main shortcoming ... [The book] does not examine the larger saga of the hundreds of thousands of refugees who escaped Vietnam after the war or the fates of countless would-be refugees who didn’t manage to get out. Without such context, it’s hard to appreciate the scope of the tragedy that befell Vietnam.
White's persona seems like something out of a Terry Southern or Ian Fleming novel—as does his writing. White tells his inspiring story with wit, panache, humility, and a captivating sense of time and place.