Tour of Duty

  • by Douglas Brinkley
  • Narrated by Douglas Brinkley
  • 5 hrs and 22 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Written by acclaimed historian Douglas Brinkley, this is the first full-scale, intimate account of John Kerry's Navy career. Brinkley has drawn on extensive interviews with everyone who knew Kerry well in Vietnam. Kerry also entrusted to Brinkley his letters home and his voluminous "War Notes": journals, notebooks, and personal reminiscences written during and shortly after the war.Throughout Tour of Duty Brinkley deftly deals with such explosive issues as U.S. atrocities in Vietnam and the bombing of Cambodia. In a series of unforgettable combat-action sequences, Brinkley recounts how Kerry won the Purple Heart three times for wounds suffered in action and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Navy's Silver Star for gallantry in action.When Kerry returned home a highly decorated soldier, he joined the Vietnam Veterans Against the War, becoming a prominent antiwar spokesperson. He challenged the Nixon administration and as Kerry's public popularity soared, the FBI considered him a subversive. Brinkley reveals how White House aides tried to discredit Kerry. Refusing to be intimidated, Kerry ran for public office, eventually becoming a U.S. Senator. He never forgot his fallen comrades. Working with Senator John McCain, he returned to Vietnam numerous times looking for MIAs and POWs, becoming the leading proponent of "normalization" of relations with Vietnam. When President Clinton officially recognized Vietnam in 1995, Kerry's three-decade-long tour of duty had at long last finally ended.

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What the Critics Say

"Though never intended as a political biography, this book offers perhaps the most insightful examination available of the character of this or any other Democratic candidate." (Publishers Weekly)
"There is enough of a war narrative here to satisfy Vietnam buffs, even if they aren't interested in Kerry's politics. Political buffs will do best to wade patiently through the combat action, which is followed by the veteran's antiwar testimony before Congress. This would be a timely book even if Kerry weren't running for president." (Booklist)
"Kerry's story is impressive....The book is...laced with quotations from Kerry's extensive diaries and letters....They are at the least insightful and at best arresting." (The New York Times Book Review)
"This compelling biography details the judgment, heroism, and compassion of his wartime service and presents an unflinching account of the brutal actuality of jungle war fought by inadequately trained soldiers in a complex foreign setting." (AudioFile)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

An Excellent Introduction to John Kerry

This title is an engaging introduction to the life of a fascinating political talent, John Kerry. It traces his upbringing, through his years at Yale, to his decision to volunteer to serve in the Navy during the Vietnam War. His tour of duty is well covered, covering both positive and negative aspects. The dualistic nature of Kerry's service is detailed: how he served in a patriotic manner, yet found the goals of the war to be questionable. The biography further covers Kerry's years in the Vietnam Veterans Against the War group, his testimony before Congress, and his early attempts at public office. After listening to this audiobook, I am convinced that Kerry is destined to be our next President.
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- Michael

Excellent. Well read and concise.

In an age of 10 second sound bites attempting to describe our leaders this book is a breath of fresh air. Regardless of your political leanings you will walk away from this with a deeper respect and appreciation for all vietnam vets. As Brinkely traces the career of Kerry we learn how he became the man he is. Again, I think all voters would do well to read this. I personally voted for W in the last election but I refused to let the media and political action commitees tell me how I should think. I wanted to read Kerry's life story for myself. The author reads the book with passion. His sources were from Kerry, his friends, and his enemies. This is not a stump speech pretending to be a biography. It is a detailed account of his life in Vietnam and his activity in the peace movement. I really enjoyed this as I drove from Pennsylvania to connecticut and it left me with a profound respect for a complex man who did so much for this country and its veterans. You can listen to th
e network news. You can listen to the pundits. Or you can read this book and form your own opinion. Hell even if you could care less about politics and the election....Its a great book with vivid first hand accounts of a man and a country struggling to make sense of a very controversial and dark time in our nations history.
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- John

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-29-2004
  • Publisher: HarperAudio