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Heart of a Patriot: How I Found the Courage to Survive Vietnam, Walter Reed and Karl Rove Hardcover – October 6, 2009

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (October 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439126054
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439126059
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.3 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,229,942 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Cleland's memoir details his remarkable journey from smalltown Georgia to Vietnam to a U.S. Senate seat, his trajectory serving as scaffolding for a withering critique of the Bush administration's handling of September 11. America sends the flower of its youth abroad to fight its wars, he writes, describing losing both legs and one arm during his tour in Vietnam. From his friendship with fellow Georgian Jimmy Carter to a meeting with the young governor of Arkansas, Bill Clinton, Cleland's life seems inextricably bound to the nation he has served. As such, the he and the nation share crises of confidence: both fall into bitter disillusionment over the Vietnam War, culture wars and political infighting, and Cleland is candid about his periods of depression and the counseling that renewed his faith in himself and his country. Concluding with a meditation on his frustration with the Iraq War—during which he helped to create, and later resigned from in protest, the 9/11 Commission—Cleland's life seems to once again be attuned to the national mood. Photos. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"A powerful source of inspiration for generations to come." -- Martin Sheen

"This book is Max Cleland's tragic, gripping, uplifting, detailed personal account of how he clawed and willed his shattered body back to a useful life by 'standing tall' with an ever-present positive outlook.... He opens his heart so that we, too, may better understand and learn what never giving up, after life-changing physical wreckage and loss, really means." -- Lt. Gen. Hal Moore (Ret.), Vietnam and Korean War and infantry combat veteran, and coauthor of We Were Soldiers Once...and Young

"An intense message of duty, honor, and country that will inspire all who read it. Max is a personal hero and a true profile in courage for our time." -- Senator Ted Kennedy

"I have learned more from Senator Cleland than anyone I have ever met. Everyone who has seen how strong Max is...must completely change his definition of courage." -- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

"Max doesn't flinch from revealing his most personal struggles in the hopes that it'll help some veteran, somewhere...This is a must read for anyone in search of strength and inspiration." -- Senator John Kerry

"Max Cleland is courage, honor, and duty personified." -- Douglas Brinkley, author of The Wilderness Warrior and Tour of Duty

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Customer Reviews

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Buy it or borrow it but read it.
Enoch 327
The writing is crisp and clear, and the message is critical in these troubling times.
William T. Thach III
In a very candid openness, Cleland shares his personal bouts of depression.
Dr. Wilson Trivino

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Richard C. Austin on November 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I wonder about the agenda of one review here. Can anyone seriously suggest that its less meaningful to lose both legs to a "friendly fire" incident in Nam instead of a NVA attack. Max Cleland was serving his country and in harm's way when he suffered an injury only those who have had similar can possibly comprehend fully.

Having said that, the present book does a wonderful job if establishing Max as a "typical" American kid who answered his nation's call and the result was truly a tragedy. Many, many vets try daily to overcome not just the physical toll of war, but the psychological ones as well. I think I would have given up, but he didn't. Far from "a personal pity party" he acknowledges the huge struggle and turmoil of his wounds, seen and unseen and gives inspiration that a person can overcome, can heal and can still contribute immensely to our great nation. Talking frankly about fear and PTSD is not seeking pity, its the courage to be public about issues that make most of us, those walking around on two legs and having never been shot at for example, uncomfortable.

I suspect Mr. Cleland's party affiliation has a great deal to do with any negative reviews. That's the most pathetic and hate-mongering pile of senseless stupidity I can imagine. It wasn't a democrat or republican that lost so much overseas, I think those useless labels go out the window the second real blood is left on foreign soil, American blood.

An American lost his legs and his esteem, not some liberal or some conservative, but a neighbor.

And if in the aftermath, Max has the guts to vote against putting other neighbors in harm's way for a suspect reason, god bless him.
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19 of 27 people found the following review helpful By David Hollar on October 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I returned from Vietnam in August 1970 after serving as an infantry Lieutenant. I was a platoon leader with the First Infantry Division with our battalion headquarters located at Dau Tieng. Max Cleland and I share the experience of serving in Vietnam.

That is where our commonality stops since I escaped even being woulded. He is a patriot of patriots. Having endured the life-altering injuries which left him missing parts of himself, he has inspired many of us and others dealing with life's difficulties. He tells us all this in his new book, "Heart of a Patriot."

The injuries suffered in Vietnam were only the beginning of his trials. Walter Reed did not give him the best care. Mr. Cleland goes on to become more that anyone ever dreamed.

An then there is Karl Rove, a man with two arms and two legs, whose greatness and patiotism fail to measure up to that of Max Cleland.

Author of: Mr. NewHeart - Heart Attack to Transplant and Beyond
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Stanley E. Hartzell on November 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I met Max when I worked at the Signal School at Fort Monmouth, NJ. You knew then that he was a go-getter. His book makes me ashamed of how our Congress and Presidents have handled our veterans and the conflicts around the world. This story is an inspiration to all who need support for their physical and mental defeats. Thanks Max for telling it like it is!!!
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12 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Richard P. Mcdonough on October 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The devil's spoor, aka Rove, and his gang of demi-demons, destroyed the career of this great public servant. He had only given three limbs for his country while Cheney and company were otherwise engaged. Cleland was devastated by war and his spirit hurt by the voters of Georgia who bought the haters' line that somehow this man had not done enough, that he was not sufficiently patriotic; they denied his return to the Senate. But this guy came back, and we see him emerge again in this fine book, whole in spirit if not in limb. Please read it. In doing so you will not only learn something but you will repudiate some of the worst human beings to ever leave their mark, like a nasty male cat in heat, on American political life.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Karl Rove generation was initially pandered to by Reagan-nauts, eager to have clones as their legacy it seems. Where Rove got rich consulting on political mis-deeds, however well funded by Texas deep pockets, MAX CONTINUES TO STAND FAR TALLER - in statureand values - than Rove shall ever know or achieve as a Fox News contributor today!

YET Max and OUR GENERATION who served honorably in military uniform overseas during the protracted Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia wars have not always come to grips with the changes we found on our "home-coming" to the country of our birth we had left just a few years previous.

REMINDER # One = Five (5) U. S. Presidents prosecuted and conducted 'our' Vietnam, Laos nd Cambodia Wars! All of those presidents were WW-II veterans! They stll call themselves "America's Greatest Generation"!

Some things, I guess I'll just never understand fully nor completely.

In many cases, then as now = "America, we still don't know you anymore"!

Max Cleland's latest book helps fill that void many of us still feel - as health care providers to fellow veterans, confidants, case managers, counselors and even outreach workers for our homeless veteran brothers and sisters still on the streets.

REMINDER # Two = Without Max's sigificant, national leadership as VA Secretary the "store-front vet centers" would never have been realized and still operating today - even for those still returning from Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan and other South Asia or Middle Eastern venues or combat zones.

Whereas the current VA Secretary has set a "five-year goal" to eradicate veteran homelessness - he would do well to read then heed the public VA papers and three (3) books of Max Cleland, his far-seeing predecessor.

MAX, may of us out here still remember and we still salute ya == anytime you "shoot basketball hoops" anywhere! ;-)
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