Tour of Duty: John Kerry and the Vietnam War

Tour of Duty: John Kerry and the Vietnam War

by Douglas Brinkley

Covering more than four decades, Tour of Duty is the definitive account of John Kerry's journey from war to peace.

Written by acclaimed historian Douglas Brinkley, this is the first full-scale, intimate account of Kerry's naval career.

Kerry also entrusted to Brinkley his letters home from Vietnam and his voluminous "War Notes" -- journals, notebooks, and personal reminiscences written during and shortly after the war.

This material was provided without restriction, to be used at Brinkley's discretion, and has never before been published.John Kerry enlisted in the Navy in February 1966, months before he graduated from Yale.

In December 1967 Ensign Kerry was assigned to the frigate U.S.S. Gridley; after five months of service in the Pacific, with a brief stop in Vietnam, he returned to the United States and underwent training to command a Swift boat, a small craft deployed in Vietnam's rivers.

In June 1968 Kerry was promoted to lieutenant (junior grade), and by the end of that year he was back in Vietnam, where he commanded, over time, two Swift boats.

Working with his friend Senator John McCain, he returned to Vietnam numerous times looking for MIAs and POWs. By the time Bill Clinton was elected president in 1992, Kerry was 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 ended.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Biography
  • Rating: 3.52
  • Pages: 560
  • Publish Date: January 6th 2004 by William Morrow
  • Isbn10: 0060565233
  • Isbn13: 9780060565237

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As this book is a campaign biography, written about John Kerry when he was running for President (he is currently Americas Secretary of State), he is shown to be a Perfect Gentleman. After a great deal of Navy transferring and training, he became a junior officer and eventually commanded a Swift boat, assigned to monitor the coastal waters of Vietnam to prevent the Viet Cong from bringing in weapons to fight American soldiers. While I was curious about Kerry, the primary reason I picked up this book to read was my stronger curiosity about his experiences in Vietnam. The North Vietnamese wanted foreigners out of Vietnam. It was clear to American soldiers who fought there that that is also what most of our so-called South Vietnamese allies wanted as well. But it isnt as if American soldiers had been given orders or training which would have assured the South Vietnamese we were really on their side and fighting for their freedom to choose democracy, not with free fire zones, where our soldiers had permission to kill every living thing in range, including children, set on fire homes, businesses, fishing boats, and wipe out fields of grain and vegetables, whether manned by North or South Vietnamese citizens. Kerry was not involved in very many atrocities, which were not considered atrocities by the US Government, since he was on a boat for most of his tour, but on his return he became involved in the anti-war movement. In reading it finally, and in having googled other sources of information, plus the fact I was a young American woman during the Vietnam War living on the west coast, and I had friends (those who came back) who had gone to Vietnam, I trust in the accuracy of the narrative, even though I know the book is a glamour biography for Kerry.

Although Professor Brinkley did a very good job on this book overall, this sort of half-assed scholarship is simply not acceptable at any level. You might think I am being overly harsh, but the reason I am ascribing such importance to this is that one error of such magnitude has the effect of tainting the entire work; in other words, nothing in this book can be accepted or cited as fact without double-checking against other sources.

but do I actually want to read a book about Rosa Parks... and the weirdness of the US navy operating riverine craft probably allows this book to join war literature in general. the original 'asymmetric war,' Kerry's Swift Boat campaign has much of what is familiar in counter-intersurgency today; the continual grow back of guerillas, the civilians who all mysteriously disappear before an ambush, the anti-tank weapons being ill-suited against soft-skinned targets. on such a craft, Secretary of State John Kerry fought in the Vietnam War. democratic party operative david brinkley has researched and conclusively proven this fact. however, because of their irregular operation, kerry got sent up stream to bring back Kurtz I saw the movie i saw the movie i saw the movie. Secretary of State John Kerry, a commander in the United States Navy, was sent up river to kill Special Forces Colonel Kurtz, because Kurtz had gone over the line. it was radio transmissions yessir your mind wandering like a sole individual through a de Chirico painting, had completely lost all its bearings. reading Nkut hamsun could not save you'' i man what did the man mean? 0 by god i mean who do you think you are?

The book made Kerry seem like a thoughtful, principled man. Nevertheless, I'm a bit concerned about electing somebody who feels so defined by Vietnam.