The Education of Lieutenant Kerrey [NOOK Book]

Overview



On the night of February 25, 1969, an inexperienced, 25-year-old lieutenant, Bob Kerrey, led a commando raid on an isolated hamlet called Thanh Phong in Vietnam's Mekong Delta. While witnesses and official records give varying accounts, one thing is certain: around midnight, Kerrey and his men killed nearly two dozen unarmed women and children.

What happened that night and why? It's a terrible secret that Kerrey has borne for more than ...
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The Education of Lieutenant Kerrey

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Overview



On the night of February 25, 1969, an inexperienced, 25-year-old lieutenant, Bob Kerrey, led a commando raid on an isolated hamlet called Thanh Phong in Vietnam's Mekong Delta. While witnesses and official records give varying accounts, one thing is certain: around midnight, Kerrey and his men killed nearly two dozen unarmed women and children.

What happened that night and why? It's a terrible secret that Kerrey has borne for more than thirty years. Kerrey went on to do heroic things in Vietnam and later as a politician. Since World War II, he is only Medal of Honor winner to sit as a member of Congress. In many ways, Kerrey's life following that tragic mission has been a struggle for redemption.

So is Bob Kerrey a war hero or war criminal? Gregory L. Vistica, who uncovered the Thanh Phong atrocities in a widely-praised cover story for The New York Times Magazine, searches the entire span of Kerrey's life to answer that question.. From his rural boyhood in Nebraska, to his gut wrenching Navy SEAL training, to his aborted run for President, Kerrey's life will become a vehicle for understanding the Vietnam generation shaped in the 50s and sharpened by the tumultuous 60s.

The Education of Lieutenant Kerrey is an incredible story and a modern morality tale about a man of compassion and promise trapped by a horrible secret.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The education of Lieutenant Bob Kerrey began in a gut-wrenching, fatal way. As an inexperienced 25-year-old Navy SEAL officer, Kerrey led a commando raid on a remote Vietnamese hamlet. Government records and recollections differ, but one fact is incontestable: 21 unarmed women and children were killed in the raid. For 30 years, as a Medal of Honor winner, as a senator, and as a presidential candidate, Kerrey coped with his memories of that night. This book, based on the author's stunning New York Times Magazine cover piece about the Nebraska senator, probes the entire career of this man of promise.
Kirkus Reviews
Bob Kerrey: war hero, then war dissenter. War criminal as well?

Vistica, a CBS News producer, broke the story of then-Navy SEAL Kerrey’s 1969 raid on the Vietnamese hamlet of Thanh Phong, which resulted in the deaths of at least 21 unarmed women and children. Kerrey, who afterward lost a leg in combat, maintained that the civilians, in the confusion of the raid, had wandered into crossfire; this, at least, is his qualified recollection in his recent memoir, When I Was a Young Man (p. 546). Qualified, indeed, for Kerrey has publicly professed not to remember much of the incident, of a piece with his reputation on Capitol Hill, where he served as senator from Nebraska, as someone whose powers of recall were not to be trusted; "Kerrey’s struggle with the demons of memory," Vistica writes, "made it difficult for him to trust and quick to withhold." Some of the men under his command remember the night differently; they maintain that Kerrey ordered that civilians be fired on. Such an act would not have been out of keeping with what is known of SEAL operations, Vistica offers; secret agents as much as sailors, quick to assassinate political targets under cover of night, the SEALS were something of a law unto themselves, and Kerrey himself once remarked, "I tried to kill [the enemy] according to the general rules, which were not as specific as they should have been. We were given a hell of a lot more latitude than we should have been." Whether Kerrey, now president of the New School, truly was responsible for committing mass murder remains an open question, though Vistica’s evidence and Kerrey’s strange attempts to explain it away are powerfully suggestive. Vistica urges that the question besettled and standards for acceptable military behavior either enforced or revised, if only because "our military model, especially in dealing with terrorism, is going to be closer to the SEAL method of operation than the conventional-forces model"--and because we have been so quick to decry barbaric acts in places such as Bosnia while shielding our own wrongdoers from scrutiny.

Inconclusive but discomfiting--and sure to excite controversy.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781429981996
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2007
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 864,508
  • File size: 6 MB

Meet the Author



Gregory L. Vistica spent nearly three years researching and finally breaking the story about Bob Kerrey and that awful night in Thanh Phong. He is also the author of Fall From Glory: The Men Who Sank the U. S. Navy, a book based on his award-winning reporting about the Tailhook scandal., which led to historic reforms in the military. He is a producer with 60 Minutes II and a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine. Formerly the national security correspondent for Newsweek, Vistica is the recipient of the Peabody Award, a George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.
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