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Last Plane Out of Saigon is Published

June 12, 2014, Press releases

Contact: Brittany Thomas, Marketing Director
Phone: (361) 877-2927

New book combines harrowing first-hand account of final months of Vietnam War with incisive political and historical perspective

AUSTIN, TX—Richard Pena and John Hagan have announced the launch of their new book, Last Plane Out of Saigon (Story Merchant Books, 2014). Thebook captures the personal journal of Richard Pena, a draftee working in the operating room of Vietnam's largest military hospital in the final year of the Vietnam War.  In 1973, Sixty-one days after the Paris Peace Accords were signed specifying that American troops were to withdraw from Vietnam- one day beyond the terms of agreement- Pena was among the final handful of Americans to leave the country.  Award-winning sociologist John Hagan, Pena’s contemporary and recognized scholar of the period, provides supporting historical and political context of this final, bitter year of the Vietnam War.

The book is a gripping real-time account of the anger, resistance and resilience forged in one man by the horrors of Vietnam witnessed up close, in graphically human terms, touching on mistakes that were made then and that our country continues to make today.

Pena’s journal entries were written in real time as events unfolded and present readers with a vivid picture of the complicated final year of the Vietnam War from the inside, looking out. It is a year that remains unfamiliar, ignored, or forgotten by most Americans.

Said Ken Atchity of Writer’s Lifeline Analysis, “This is an informative and important work which should be read by all Americans.”

The book is available on in e-book and paperback format or directly from the website,

Six percent of the profits from book sales will go toward programs benefiting veterans.

About the Authors

Richard Pena served in Vietnam and is now a practicing attorney in Austin, Texas. He is the former President of the American Bar Foundation and a leader within his field, nationally recognized among legal professionals. He has also served as President of the State Bar of Texas, President of the Travis County Bar Association, and as a member of the Board of Governors of the American Bar Association (ABA). Richard has been selected as one of Texas’ Top Rated Lawyers, and has been presented with the Distinguish Lawyer Award and with the Difference Maker Award by local and national bar associations.

John Hagan is a Research Professor at the American Bar Foundation, the co-Director of the Center on Law & Globalization at the ABF and the John D. MacArthur Professor of Sociology and Law at Northwestern University.  He is the author of Northern Passage: American Vietnam War Resisters in Canada (Harvard University Press, 2001). His most recent book, is Who Are the Criminals? The Politics of Crime Policy in the Age of Roosevelt and the Age of Reagan was published by Princeton University Press in  2010.


Photos from book signing: 

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