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Under Fire: An American Story Mass Market Paperback – June, 1992

4.5 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Written in secret as if it were a covert operation, then suddenly released, this is unquestionably the "event" book of the year. Here, finally, we might expect to get answers to our questions about what became known as "Iran-contra." Was Marine Lieutenant Colonel North a "loose cannon" on the National Security Council, making U.S. foreign policy on his own? And just what did President Reagan really know about Iran-contra? North writes that Reagan "knew everything" about Iran-contra's covert operations. So too did Vice President Bush. Unfortunately, there is no specific document in the book proving that. What there is, however, is a preponderance of material that leads to an inevitable conclusion: North was a hard-working, well-trained, loyal Marine incapable of undertaking a covert operation without approval by his superiors. For the first time, we hear of and read a document sent to Reagan by North's lawyers, setting forth a sound legal argument for a presidential pardon for North. The letter, we learn, was never acknowledged. There are a number of such chilling moments in this important book. Recommended for most libraries.
- Chet Hagan, Berks Cty. P.L. System, Pa.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From AudioFile

This autobiography of Lt. Colonel Oliver North covers his childhood, his military career--including Vietnam, his troubled marriage, near nervous breakdown and his own version of the events that became known as Iran-Contra. The subjective storytelling techniques he and co-author William Novak chose work well in the audio format. Without being too obvious, Christopher Hurt gives the impression of someone telling his own story sounding confused, angry, incredulous or grateful, as needed. The program includes some notes and an appendix with two documents: a commendation from Ronald Reagan and a plea for clemency prepared by his lawyers. W.W.G. (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: HarperPaperbacks (June 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061090565
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061090561
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 4.2 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,208,341 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This outstanding autobiography of retired Marine Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North was as informative as it was entertaining. I found the book to be a great, honest accounting of a very prominent and controversial public figure involved in very sensitive and high-level government issues and policies-U.S. counter-terrorism efforts, U.S. hostage negotiations, international arms sales, and the "Iran-Contra Affair" to name a few.

I related to North as a lieutenant colonel of Marines in the highly structured, undisciplined, politicized, and bureaucratic environment of the highest levels of government in Washington, D.C. North came across as an imperfect man who admitted his mistakes and who did his best to do what he was told, do what he thought was right, and do what he thought was best for his country.

To say that North has had an interesting life is an understatement. North's background in this book definitely helped me to understand and appreciate his keen insights and perspectives while watching him report from the battlefields in our war with Iraq:
*His "Norman Rockwell" small-town childhood-dad was a combat-decorated WWII Army officer
*The near-fatal car accident while attending the U.S.
Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
Curious about what really went on with the Iran-Contra affair, I wanted to read Oliver's story. He told the story, obviously from his point of view, but it was extremely believable. He was so candid about what he did wrong as well as what he did right. For anyone wanting to know the inside story, this book is great. It also has some awesome detail on Oliver's Vietnam experience. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in this era in American history.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is a little more then most people thought it would be i.e. it does cover his life before his Iran - Conta moment in the sun. The Viet Nam information was interesting and something I had not heard much of before. I was less interested in the details about his childhood and his marriage. Basically we all bought he book to review the Iran - Conta affair and the trail and the book does not disappoint in this area. His coverage of the dealing with the Iranians was very well constructed.
The good flow of the book and the fact that it keeps you interested is probably in part due to the skill of co-author William Novak. The details about his life during the testimony before the House and Senate Select Committees, the media harassment and the trail are very informative and insightful.
As with almost any government scandal there are any number of versions of the story, usually about 25% more stories then actual people involved, and this book is the Oliver North version. He told his story in a very believable, humble and somewhat apologetic fashion. I think if you are interested in the story this is one of the books you should read to gain an understanding, but not the definitive version of the truth - if that will ever really come out. Overall it is a well-written and interesting book.
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Format: Hardcover
In this book, Oliver North writes primarily about his role in the Iran-Contra affair, giving his side of the story. However, he also gives an insight on his life beginning from his childhood, including when he was fighting in Vietnam. North points out that there were "two Vietnam wars," with North's involvement being in the northern part of South Vietnam--as opposed to the majority of U.S. troops, who were fighting further South. North explains the war he fought there "was more straightforward," explaining that if he and his men were to set up an ambush and spotted the enemy, they could be sure it was the enemy. "We didn't have to deal with that terrible problem of Vietnamese civilians who weren't civilians, or with Viet Cong guerrillas who would melt off into the countryside and disappear." North and Co. were fighting "NVA regulars--well disciplined troops with reinforcements close behind." (p. 93) He also explains how his deep involvement in the war caused him to go into deep depression, and almost cost him his marriage. On Iran-Contra, he gives some details of his meetings with the Iranians. In addition, gives details about his rise to the National Security Council and various assignments there until the Iran-Contra affair was exposed, when he was then fired. He is pro-Israel, and correctly criticizes Caspar Weinberger and some Middle East "experts" for being anti-Israel, and in some cases, anti-Semitic, (pp. 155-156) as well as criticizing Weinberger and George Schultz for advocating a pro-Iraq policy (pp. 287-88).Read more ›
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