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Jane Fonda's War: A Political Biography Of An Antiwar Icon Hardcover – September 15, 2005


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 228 pages
  • Publisher: New Press, The (September 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565849884
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565849884
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 5.6 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,817,966 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"What’s important is that [Fonda’s] immersion in radical politics during the 1970s transcended the role traditionally assigned not just to celebrities but to women in general. Jane paved the way for the celebrity feminist activists of today, such as Oprah Winfrey, Eve Ensler, Rosie O’Donnell, and Susan Sarandon." —Gloria Steinem

About the Author

Mary Hershberger is a professor of history at Capital University in Ohio and the author of Traveling to Vietnam: American Peace Activists and the War. She lives in Columbus, Ohio.



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Customer Reviews

2.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is an important book for anyone interested in the fields of mass communications, media, politics and government.  It would make a good text for a media class.  It is an analysis of how and why an anti-war activist became a symbol of betrayal as well as a scapegoat for a country that did not want to admit defeat and its own errors.  Hershberger does an excellent job of documenting her work and makes copious use of documents released under the Freedom of Information Act, as well as a vast amount of documents released by the FBI regarding their illegal activities.  A mountain of documents if you get the picture.

Fonda is a highly intelligent and thoughtful woman who did not take her decisions and actions lightly, but only after much investigation and thought.  One of the most important things she did was organizing the Winter Soldier platform, providing a place for returning Vietnamese vets to tell about what was happening in Vietnam during a time when their government did not want to hear it.  Illegal bombing, undeclared war, Cambodia, you know the story.  The important thing that Fonda wanted to happen with this process was for responsibility to be placed NOT ONLY on individual soldiers in instances such as the My Lai Massacre, but also on the people giving the orders, the officers and the government.  This involved a big freedom of speech battle.

It is intriguing to read the story and follow the thread of lies that led to the many myths surrounding Fonda, which Hershberger clearly draws.  Here is the lesson in rumors, media games, purposeful political games and it is fascinating.  The way the stories about POWs being tortured were told is worth a media course in itself.
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22 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Phillip Jennings on September 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am agonizing my way through this drivel due to an assignment. OMG. By page 40 we've seen Jane talk about the everyday occurance of My Lai type massacres. Her shock at the bombing of civilian populations, hospitals, etc etc. Mary owes it to herself to at least read something other than Fonda press releases or listen to her interviews. Try The Pentagon Papers. Yes! Even the Pentagon Papers are quite detailed about the U.S. efforts to avoid civilian casualties in North Vietnam. And Hospitals? Jeez, are there actually people so totally screwed up by hatred of America that they can envision our pilots targeting hospitals? (I guess Mary has answered this question). Of course a lot of minor crap like the statement that Jane 'vetted' (my word) the folks at Vietnam Veterans Against the War. I guess starting with good old Al Hubbard. Those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, don't waste your time looking it up. Not worth your time.
The cover quote is cute: "Jane Fonda's True Legacy is an Inspiration." Eve Ensler. I got news for you Eve. We only get ONE legacy. Jane made hers and has to live with it.
Mary is a pretty decent writer. And there's nothing wrong with being a peace activist. But Jane? Does your cause no good.
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17 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Killian HALL OF FAME on August 7, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed recreating Jane Fonda's antiwar activism during the Vietnam conflict that so divided our nation. Mary Hershberger's earlier book was at once a more generalized account of US liberals sojourning to Hanoi while the two countires were at war, and a much more academic book than this one, which really could be read alongside the Oscar winning actress' own memoirs MY LIFE SO FAR. I think Jane Fonda might have consulted Hershberger for help on some details because at this point it's plain that Hershberger, a Ohio history professor, knows more about what Jane was up to during those years than she does.

In retrospect it is astonishing that, with the weight of all the right wing press against her, Jane was able to make a comeback in the 1970s and 1980s in the movies, becoming one of the world's most popular film actresses. Even though her movies were sometimes preachy vehicles for her social pnilosophies, she was usually pretty good in them and two or three, from today's standpoint, are first-rate films no one should be ashamed of. However, as Hershberger points out, the invention of the internet was decidedly a blow for Fonda, as it has been used by innumerable right wing groups to spread lies about her activities in Hanoi and elsewhere.

To be fair, these rumors have some basis in reality, but often what started out as something good that Jane did was turned around and made into something evil. Thus the urban legend about the US POWs she was alleged to have met with, and then she asked them for their social security numbers, in the guise of helping them get out. In the 2006 version propulgated by hatemongers, Fonda "jeered at the POWs and then handed their pieces of paper to the Vietnamese guards.
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5 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Donald H. Forbes on April 6, 2008
Format: Hardcover
A great woman and a great cause. Her courage is remarkable no matter which side you are on. History has proven her right.
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