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3.2 out of 5 stars11
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on December 2, 2013
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.  It is amazing to hear POWs claim they were tortured in a time and place that did not happen, and important to look at the effects of trauma on eye witnesses once again.  I certainly wouldn't expect the details to be kept straight in traumatic situations.  And so we see another  lesson in the need for multiple sources and other methods of corroboration.  One of the thing that made this timing important was that because he did not want to withdraw, Nixon specifically  targeted Fonda and blamed her for torture.

The fact that Hershberger is here focused on a very specific issue, the activism of Jane Fonda, makes this a quick and clean read.  5 stars.
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on January 5, 2016
Well researched and documented book about Jane Fonda's actions during the Vietnam War. Mary Hershberger takes an unbiased look at key moments in the life of Jane Fonda and helps correct so many of the myths that have plagued Fonda's life. Honestly, from what I have seen on Amazon, the only people who do not like this book are the uneducated type who just want to hate on Fonda based off lies put out by the Nixon administration, instead of actually reading legitimate source material.
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on March 1, 2016
Great for a history report but can become very boring in part as.
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on August 18, 2009
Thank you Mary Hershberger for a book long over due. This book along with your other Jane Fonda book captures Jane Fonda in her totality. I do think much of the anger directed at Fonda stems from anger at the government that placed millions of US Troops in a position where they could not win a war with conventional methods and the fact that the Government abandoned them after they returned home.

The Gulf of Tonkin Incident was fabricated to get us into a war that we didn't need to get in. Love her or hate her at least Fonda was not afraid to go to Vietnam unlike George W., Dan Quale, Tom DeLay, Dick Cheney, Ted Nudget, Pat Buchanan and the rest of the chicken hawks.

The fact that the right has failed to destroy Fonda professionally and the fact that she is well received by the public as a whole makes them all the more angry. Fonda didn't send anyone to Vietnam the politicians and the Pentagon did. The right asks blacks, Native Americans, Palestians, etc. to over on and get over it (past injustices). Seems they should do the same.
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on September 3, 2008
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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on May 19, 2015
The condition of the book was fine, the contents is full of bolongna..
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HALL OF FAMEon August 7, 2006
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. Again, the men were severely beaten until three of them died, leaving only the fourth one to tell the tale." Needless to say, this story is completely false. Books have sprung up arguing that Fonda should be tried for treason. It's insane.

Not to say she wasn't getting it from the Left the whole time, for the Godard-Gorin LETTER TO JANE is equally an appalling document, based on the fact that men think they can say anything bad about a woman and get away with it. Nasty little creeps.
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on April 6, 2008
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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on May 31, 2007
Liberal sugarcoating--Filled with stretched truth and falsehoods. The author skillfully injects personal opinion and stretched truth to allude her conclusions as fact based on interviews with POWs. Much of the POW information [interviews with the former POWs Fonda met with in Hanoi in 1972] are self-interpreted, not exact quotation. Any versed POW historian using scholarly texts recognizes H's book as utter B.S.

On several accounts, H interjects "her" word "alleged" regarding torture of U.S. POWs [and no...F-tard, don't start spouting about Guantanamo or Abu G; combatants get better treatment than the Appalachian povert too far removed from society to even know about social programs.]

A reviewer writes, "America and the President are today proud to have Jane as a citizen, because she demonstrates, by her efforts, to bring a peaceful conclusion to current conflicts that so disrupt world harmony."

Question: Were hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese boat people fleeing communism, thousands of which died harmonious?

Question: Was the existence of the Khmer Rouge, supported by North Vietnam, resulting in millions dead in the Killing Fields harmonious?

Question: Joan Baez urged Fonda to protest NVN support of the Khmer Rouge....she chastised Baez for being critical of the Hanoi govt. Harmonious? I think not.

Question: After Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden's [sic] Indochina Peace Campaign [IPC] brought an end to U.S. financial support to the SVN govt. [post U.S. pullout] resulting in tens of thousands more South Vietnamese being imprisoned or murdered Harmonious?

Fonda Quote: "If you knew what communism truly was, you would get on your hands and knees and pray that one day we [U.S.] would be communist."

Harmonious--Communism has certainly worked well for millions of people. Too bad the dead tell no tales.

"Books have sprung up arguing that Fonda should be tried for treason." She should.

If you are trying to wrap your mind around the Vietnam era to include activism, and Fonda, as a VN War associated fixture, hunt elsewhere for an objective book, this one is not.

If you blab on and on about neocons, Christians, Republicans, and the right wing--this book is as much fantasy as Larry Potter and Lord of the Rings, defiantly buy it so you can continue to live in your jacked up, clouded little harmonious world that doesn't exist because people out there still want to kill, us and all that they can understand is the sword.
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on April 13, 2013
thought this was a waste of time. I could do without her political stances and views and disrespect of veterans.
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