From Publishers Weekly
Looking at the lives and careers of five Naval Academy graduates?among them John Poindexter and Oliver North?fellow alumnus Timberg probes the connections between the legacy of the Vietnam war and the Iran-Contra scandal.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Overtly the life stories of five graduates of the U.S. Naval Academy--John McCain, John Poindexter, Bud McFarlane, Jim Webb, and Oliver North--this probing tale implicitly examines the academy's institutional soul. A survivor of Annapolis, abbreviated by cognoscenti as IHTFP (I Hate This F . . . ing Place), Timberg knowingly examines how the academy indoctrinated undergraduates in the '50s and '60s. All five men saluted and went to Vietnam--three were wounded--and in Timberg's telling of their specific combat experiences, insightful angles on their subsequent careers emerge, such as North's penchant for exaggeration. When the Iran-Contra affair broke, its Watergate motif gradually became displaced by the old passions surrounding Vietnam, which, as Timberg writes, cropped up in the actions and justifications of Reagan's national security advisers McFarlane and Poindexter and their aide North. In the meantime ex-POW McCain had gotten himself elected to Congress, and Webb became a novelist, secretary of the navy (ironically staging his induction at the academy he used to hate), and promoter of adding a statue to the stark Vietnam Memorial. A well-researched and well-written account of five interesting lives. Gilbert Taylor
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