I’ve just written a review of a book I very highly recommend. Thought I’d share it with my readers, for I found it to be quite inspiring.
Blue-Eyed Boy- A Memoir
By Robert Timberg
Brilliant and Courageous Look at the Haunting Legacy of the Vietnam War
This was my first experience reading Robert Timberg’s work. I have now become a huge fan.
The author does not hold back in baring the ungodly personal cost he has paid, as well as exploring the ongoing effects of America’s longest and most unpopular war. This book brought back memories of my time in high school during the sixties.
A dark cloud loomed over our campus then, as I knew so many of my bright-eyed male classmates were soon to be drafted. Vietnam was just a ghostly concept, so distant yet encroaching upon our youthful high spirits.
Timberg was a Naval Academy graduate, a Marine and a short-timer in Vietnam, with just thirteen days left of his tour of duty, when his life was forever changed in a flash. Instead of going on his scheduled Rest and Recuperation (R&R) to Tokyo, he was ordered to do duty on an Amtrac that would be moving through hostile territory.
The Amtrac he was riding on rolled over a land mine, resulting in Timberg being horribly burned; his face and arms were scorched.
To say that from that day on that Timberg literally “went through hell” is an extreme understatement. I found myself struggling to read the vivid details of the treatments and surgeries he had to endure. Yet I had to keep reading in order to begin to understand how he was going to find the strength and courage to endure his new state of being.
Timberg was a newlywed when he went to Nam. Fortunately, his wife Janie was made of strong stuff. But for her love and loyalty, Timberg may not have survived. As a former wife of a Nam vet myself, I related to her heartache and the challenges that go along with loving someone who serves in a war zone. Coming home is no picnic either. The readjustment problems are formidable.
This book has many different aspects to it. We learn a lot about fellow Naval Academy graduates and Vietnam veterans such as Oliver North, John McCain and James Webb.
Timberg does a great job informing the reader of the behind-the-scenes political machinations that occurred during and after the war. Many of which are hard to stomach, but add to our understanding of that time in history.
I was truly amazed by the depth and breadth of Timberg’s story. I particularly appreciated his brutal honesty about his behavior that led to troubles in his marriage. I felt such empathy for his long-suffering, devoted wife.
Timberg is to be admired for his inspiring accomplishments in the field of journalism. He’s a man of tremendous determination. He’s also an extraordinary writer and this book, while very serious, contains many comical situations and observations.
This book is a very important contribution as our country still struggles to make sense of the Vietnam War. There are legions of us still in that camp.
Very, very highly recommended reading!