Cover image for About face
About face
Hackworth, David H.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Simon & Schuster, 1990.

Physical Description:
875 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm
General Note:
"A Touchstone book."

On cover: "A Military Book Club main selection".
Personal Subject:
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
U53.H25 A3 1989 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Called "everything a twentieth century war memoir could possibly be" by The New York Times, this national bestseller by Colonel David H. Hackworth presents a vivid and powerful portrait of a life of patriotism.

From age fifteen to forty David Hackworth devoted himself to the US Army and fast became a living legend. In 1971, however, he appeared on television to decry the doomed war effort in Vietnam. With About Face , he has written what many Vietnam veterans have called the most important book of their generation.

From Korea to Berlin, from the Cuban missile crisis to Vietnam, Hackworth's story is that of an exemplary patriot, played out against the backdrop of the changing fortunes of America and the American military. It is also a stunning indictment of the Pentagon's fundamental misunderstanding of the Vietnam conflict and of the bureaucracy of self-interest that fueled the war.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Hackworth was once America's most decorated living soldier, a near-legendary combat veteran of both the Korean and Vietnam conflicts. But his brilliant military career ended in disgrace in 1971 after he appeared on a CBS network news program criticizing America's Vietnam effort. Living in self-imposed exile in Australia for the past 18 years, he has written what is at once a fascinating memoir of military life and a searing indictment of all those responsible for our nation's Southeast Asian fiasco. Writing with a gruff and wrathful intensity, Hackworth points a damning finger at incompetent generals, venal politicians, self-serving bureaucrats, and the American public itself. At times his tirades display more anger than logic, and he expresses some political views that border on the crackpot, but overall this is an intelligent and thought-provoking book. Appendix, notes, glossary; index. --Steve Weingartner

Publisher's Weekly Review

A battle-scarred veteran of Korea, Hackworth served successive tours in Vietnam, becoming increasingly alarmed by declining standards in the Army and the dead-end policy in Southeast Asia. Matters came to a head during a 1971 television interview in which he criticized Army leadership, training and tactics in the field. For this the colonel was shamefully hounded into premature retirement, a potential Army superstar who was suddenly perceived as a dangerous renegade, according to this memoir written with freelancer Sherman. The engrossing autobiography of a fierce and fiercely outspoken warrior, it is also an inside account of the demoralization of a once-proud army during a period when ``no one could afford to tell the truth, make an error, or admit to ignorance.'' The colonel makes sweeping condemnations in this passionate, profane, sometimes intemperate book (admirers of military historian S.L.A. Marshall will cringe at Hackworth's savage attack). In the end he calls the army ``this rotten whore I'd been in love with for twenty years.'' Photos. Military Book Club main selection; author tour. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Authentic combat leaders--the real warriors--are apt to be professional misfits, especially off the battlefield. In this book America's most decorated living soldier tells his life story in formidable detail with outstanding battlefield realism. Colonel Hackworth left the Army and went into exile over the conduct of the Vietnam War. Like all good autobiographies, his often tells more than he intended. This is as earnest and self-revealing as Anthony B. Herbert's Herbert: The Making of a Soldier (LJ 9/1/82), but less laconic. A rousing good book which will be useful to military professionals as well. Military Book Club main selection.-- Raymond L. Puffer, U.S. Air Force History Prog., Los Angeles (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.