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Tour of Duty: John Kerry and the Vietnam War | [Douglas Brinkley]

Tour of Duty: John Kerry and the Vietnam War

Written by acclaimed historian Douglas Brinkley, this is the first full-scale, intimate account of John Kerry's Navy career. Brinkley has drawn on extensive interviews with everyone who knew Kerry well in Vietnam. Kerry also entrusted to Brinkley his letters home and his voluminous "War Notes": journals, notebooks, and personal reminiscences written during and shortly after the war.
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Publisher's Summary

Written by acclaimed historian Douglas Brinkley, this is the first full-scale, intimate account of John Kerry's Navy career. Brinkley has drawn on extensive interviews with everyone who knew Kerry well in Vietnam. Kerry also entrusted to Brinkley his letters home and his voluminous "War Notes": journals, notebooks, and personal reminiscences written during and shortly after the war.

Throughout Tour of Duty Brinkley deftly deals with such explosive issues as U.S. atrocities in Vietnam and the bombing of Cambodia. In a series of unforgettable combat-action sequences, Brinkley recounts how Kerry won the Purple Heart three times for wounds suffered in action and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Navy's Silver Star for gallantry in action.

When Kerry returned home a highly decorated soldier, he joined the Vietnam Veterans Against the War, becoming a prominent antiwar spokesperson. He challenged the Nixon administration and as Kerry's public popularity soared, the FBI considered him a subversive. Brinkley reveals how White House aides tried to discredit Kerry. Refusing to be intimidated, Kerry ran for public office, eventually becoming a U.S. Senator. He never forgot his fallen comrades. Working with Senator John McCain, he returned to Vietnam numerous times looking for MIAs and POWs, becoming the leading proponent of "normalization" of relations with Vietnam. When President Clinton officially recognized Vietnam in 1995, Kerry's three-decade-long tour of duty had at long last finally ended.

©2003 Douglas Brinkley; (P)2003 HarperCollinsPublishers, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Though never intended as a political biography, this book offers perhaps the most insightful examination available of the character of this or any other Democratic candidate." (Publishers Weekly)
"There is enough of a war narrative here to satisfy Vietnam buffs, even if they aren't interested in Kerry's politics. Political buffs will do best to wade patiently through the combat action, which is followed by the veteran's antiwar testimony before Congress. This would be a timely book even if Kerry weren't running for president." (Booklist)
"Kerry's story is impressive....The book is...laced with quotations from Kerry's extensive diaries and letters....They are at the least insightful and at best arresting." (The New York Times Book Review)
"This compelling biography details the judgment, heroism, and compassion of his wartime service and presents an unflinching account of the brutal actuality of jungle war fought by inadequately trained soldiers in a complex foreign setting." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

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  •  
    Michael San Francisco, CA, USA 02-11-04
    Michael San Francisco, CA, USA 02-11-04
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    "An Excellent Introduction to John Kerry"

    This title is an engaging introduction to the life of a fascinating political talent, John Kerry. It traces his upbringing, through his years at Yale, to his decision to volunteer to serve in the Navy during the Vietnam War. His tour of duty is well covered, covering both positive and negative aspects. The dualistic nature of Kerry's service is detailed: how he served in a patriotic manner, yet found the goals of the war to be questionable. The biography further covers Kerry's years in the Vietnam Veterans Against the War group, his testimony before Congress, and his early attempts at public office. After listening to this audiobook, I am convinced that Kerry is destined to be our next President.

    25 of 41 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Monson, MA, USA 08-30-04
    John Monson, MA, USA 08-30-04
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    "Excellent. Well read and concise."

    In an age of 10 second sound bites attempting to describe our leaders this book is a breath of fresh air. Regardless of your political leanings you will walk away from this with a deeper respect and appreciation for all vietnam vets. As Brinkely traces the career of Kerry we learn how he became the man he is. Again, I think all voters would do well to read this. I personally voted for W in the last election but I refused to let the media and political action commitees tell me how I should think. I wanted to read Kerry's life story for myself. The author reads the book with passion. His sources were from Kerry, his friends, and his enemies. This is not a stump speech pretending to be a biography. It is a detailed account of his life in Vietnam and his activity in the peace movement. I really enjoyed this as I drove from Pennsylvania to connecticut and it left me with a profound respect for a complex man who did so much for this country and its veterans. You can listen to th
    e network news. You can listen to the pundits. Or you can read this book and form your own opinion. Hell even if you could care less about politics and the election....Its a great book with vivid first hand accounts of a man and a country struggling to make sense of a very controversial and dark time in our nations history.

    5 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mitchell boise, ID, United States 03-18-04
    Mitchell boise, ID, United States 03-18-04 Member Since 2004
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    "tour of duty"

    Fascinating story, with good insight into what motivates John Kerry.

    10 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    gustavSpeed Des Moines, IAUSA 08-14-04
    gustavSpeed Des Moines, IAUSA 08-14-04 Member Since 2001
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    "A Political vehicle not to be believed."

    Written to promote Kerry's candidacy for the democratic nomination, Brinkley unfortunatley relied on Kerry for mush of the information. As is well known Kerry is about as truthful as Clinton and thus read this as amusing fiction only. After reading this I am convinced Kerry should NOT be our next president.

    8 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lucas Sagle, ID, USA 02-04-04
    Lucas Sagle, ID, USA 02-04-04 Member Since 2012
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    "Was unfortunate let down"

    A hard read or listen...

    23 of 76 people found this review helpful
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