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Covering more than four decades, this is the first full-scale, definitive account of Kerry's journey from war to peace. Brinkley has drawn on extensive interviews with virtually everyone who knew Kerry in Vietnam. Kerry also relegated to Brinkley his letters home from Vietnam, voluminous "war notes" journals and personal reminiscences written during and shortly after the war. This material was provided without restriction, to be used at Brinkley's discretion, and has never before been published.
Throughout, Brinkley deftly deals with issues such as U.S. atrocities in Vietnam and the bombing of Cambodia. Using information from the newly released Nixon tapes, Brinkley reveals how White House aides Charles Colson and H. R. Haldeman tried to discredit Kerry. Refusing to be intimidated, Kerry ran for public office, eventually becoming a Senator from Massachusetts. But he never forgot his fallen comrades returning to Vietnam numerous times to look for MIAs and POWs. When President Clinton officially recognized Vietnam in 1995, at long last Kerry's thirty-year-long tour of duty ended.