Open Library logo
New Feature: You can now embed Open Library books on your website!   Learn More
Last edited by Bernie Weisz2260
June 19, 2013 | History

"Puttin' on Airs" 1 editions

Cover of: "Puttin' on Airs" | Benton, L. Bradberry
About the Book

Review Written By Bernie Weisz, Historian, Vietnam War. June 19, 2013 Pembroke Pines, Florida USA Contact: Title of Review: "My Participation In Viet Nam; I Did Not Want To Kill Anyone In What I Considered An Unjust & Unnecessary War"
"Puttin On Airs" has so many topics and themes that the reader will wonder if multiple authors cooperated to write this. However, there is only one author here, Ben Bradberry, a man deemed a maverick who made himself successful despite overwhelming odds against him. Here is the story of Bradberry's life, a man who came from the very bottom level of the socio-economic ladder as one of ten impoverished children from Louisiana. His story would end as a self-made multi-millionaire and seasoned world traveler. Yet "Puttin' On Airs" is much more than a rags to riches story. It is an in depth examination of what Bradberry witnessed during a twenty one year naval career at a time when the United States was deeply embroiled in the Cold War as well as the morass of Viet Nam. Great pains are taken by Bradberry to reveal his experiences there in the closing year of the war, an American endeavor he declares both disastrous and unnecessary. While the author felt it was a grave error for American involvement in S.E. Asia, he nevertheless volunteered out of both patriotism and to perform his duty as a professional officer. Ultimately, Bradberry's maverick spirit would shine forth and his fortunes would truly blossom in private industry. Today, in his seventies he is a successful business owner with no plans to retire. You will be treated to his rare insights about the Cold War, Viet Nam, Bradberry's thoughts on education in this country, race relations, divorce, politics, traveling, and most interestingly, an explanation as to why the history of the Nazi Third Reich and the Holocaust is erroneous with the German hierarchy wrongly being vilified.

Born to parents with extreme indigence in rural Louisiana, Ben Bradberry believes his father would tell him that even today he is still "puttin' on airs." Physically and emotionally abused, Bradberry and his nine siblings were constantly reminded by their semi-illiterate father to accept their destitute position in life, and any attempt to improve in any form would pretentiously be "puttin' on airs." By absorbing himself in reading any books he could get his hands on, diligently studying the bible and associating himself with anyone that could teach or assist him in breaking the mold, i.e. teachers and doctors, Bradberry would eventually go further in life than his wildest expectations. His big break which enabled all that followed was his 1955 enlistment in the U.S. Navy, which he expressed was a welcome escape from a dead end existence which he was not the least reluctant to leave behind. The same maverick tendencies that led him to the top rungs of personal income in the private world were the same traits that got him in trouble several times over in the Navy. Before Viet Nam, Bradberry would take part as an instructor pilot as well as a participant in operations to retrieve astronauts from the sea after their return from space.

Despite a dashing career as a helicopter aviator and officer, Bradberry would write criticizing letters to the naval higher ups of perceived wrongs he witnessed. Examples of which were the unreasonable Navy tactic of using nuclear depth charges against enemy submarines, the sadistic use of inhumane officers to administer Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape schools, and the questioning of bureaucratically inefficient and wasteful rules he witnessed while he ran the maintenance department of the Fleet Aviation Support Unit in Viet Nam. Bradberry arrived in Viet Nam in August of 1971 and was assigned to the Naval base at Binh Thuy in IV Corps. Long before he arrived there, Bradberry concluded that American involvement in Viet Nam was wrong and that the obsession with the spread of communism became almost religious in nature. Furthermore, the idea of stamping out communism all over the world was a tall order ultimately leading America into many ill-advised adventures, with Viet Nam being the most prominent and disastrous. Bradberry debunks the Domino Theory as fallacious logic, citing as proof the fact that ultimately South Viet Nam did become communist without any consequences to the United States whatsoever.

The author makes incisive comments on the brutality of Viet Nam with U.S. progress being measured in the absurd theory of "body counts," Agent Orange and the breakdown of discipline between blacks and whites. Also discussed was the failure to adhere to dress codes, smoking of marijuana and the practice of fragging overzealous commanders. Bradberry also comments on the corruptness he witnessed in Saigon, widespread prostitution and the fear of what would happen to the South Vietnamese who assisted the U.S. after the American departure. Bradberry summed up his Viet Nam experience there by asserting that not only did the practice of body counts encourage atrocities, but that to be a successful commander there was to check your critical thinking at the door when you came in. To be promoted in Viet Nam, Bradberry insisted one must do the job they were given and not ask too many questions which couldn't be answered. Between being in charge of FASU, flying non-combat missions for HAL-3 (Helicopter, Attack, Light) as well as being in charge of Binh Thuy base security, Bradberry mentioned the absurdity of this war in what he deemed "the Viet Nam merry-go-round." He explained this as follows; "At any given time here, a third of the troops are leaving the country, a third just arriving, and the other third are doing all the work. It's a hell of a war."

Aside from being the only member of his immediate family ever to attend college, he received his degree with honors. With a 21 year Naval career under his belt, Bradberry retired from the military to try his hand at private industry. His rise to fortune in the real estate and dental business is nothing less than meteoric. Richly detailed with photographs, "Puttin' On Airs" could almost be a traveler's guide, as Bradberry chronicles his journeys through 6 continents and over 40 countries. However, it isn't until the author visited the Concentration Camps in Eastern Europe as well as some of the destroyed German cities such as Dresden that he began formulating his theories on the Third Reich and World War II. While he wets the reader's appetite by offering the genesis of his opinions, Bradberry saves his conclusions in a second book entitled; "The Myth Of German Villainy." He also leaves readers with a sobering admonition; "In my lifetime, the U.S. has gone from being a Christian country of English speaking North Europeans with a predominant Anglo-Saxon culture to a polyglot country of babbling foreigners, most not white, with a variety of religious affiliations. The combination of Anglo-Saxon culture and free enterprise capitalism made this country great. Multi-culturalism and Marxist socialism will be its undoing." Whether you agree, disagree or are indifferent to Ben Bradberry, this book will keep you thinking long after you've turned the last page!

1 edition First published in 2007

Edition Read Locate Buy
Cover of: "Puttin' on Airs"
October 18, 2007, AuthorHouse
"Puttin' on Airs"
Paperback in English


Download catalog record: RDF / JSON
June 19, 2013 Edited by Bernie Weisz2260 Edited without comment.
April 28, 2010 Edited by Open Library Bot Linked existing covers to the work.
December 11, 2009 Created by WorkBot add works page