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Synopsis The Long Goodbye

Book Synopsis

The Long Goodbye: Khe Sanh Revisited begins during the Vietnam War but builds to a climax in contemporary Vietnam, with author Michael Archer playing the role of relentless cold-case detective, driven by loyalty and devotion to unravel the mystery of Tommy Mahoney's disappearance in the final days of fighting at Khe Sanh in 1968.

Full Version

IN THE CLOSING HOURS of the fight to hold the Khe Sanh Combat Base, after the longest and bloodiest battle of the Vietnam War, Tom Mahoney inexplicably walked away from his platoon, unarmed, and was shot to death by enemy soldiers hiding nearby. His fellow Marines made several desperate attempts to recover their well-liked comrade, but were finally forced to leave him behind―though never forgotten.

In The Long Goodbye: Khe Sanh Revisited, author Michael Archer (a high school friend who joined the Marines together with Tom) chronicles his exhaustive search for answers to his friend’s mysterious July 1968 stroll into oblivion. This quest eventually leads to an improbable series of connections: from Tom’s childhood friends and fellow Marines, past the frustration of ineffective attempts by the U.S. government to locate his remains, and eventually teaming up with a Vietnamese psychic intent on communicating with Tom’s “wandering soul.” Along the way, he discovered the unexpected compassion of several former mortal enemies from that battle, now wishing to help honor the memory of a lone American among the tens of thousands on both sides who were sacrificed in the great meat grinder of Khe Sanh.

Swept up in this increasingly bizarre pursuit of clues, the author is soon drawn back to that infamous battleground and eventually tracks down and befriends the last remaining eyewitness to Tom Mahoney’s death—one of those who killed him—and an astonishing epiphany.