Cover image for Something to die for
Something to die for
Webb, James, 1946 February 9-
Publication Information:
New York : Morrow, 1991.
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Author Notes

James Webb, a 1968 U.S. Naval Academy graduate who served as Secretary of the Navy from 1987 to 1988, is one of the most highly decorated Marines of the Vietnam era. He is the author of the bestsellers "Fields of Fire" & "Sense of Honor", among other books.

(Publisher Provided) James Webb, former combat Marine, is an attorney and Emmy Award-winning journalist who has served as Secretary of the Navy, Assistant Secretary of Defense, and full committee counsel to the U.S. Congress. He lives in Virginia.

(Publisher Provided) James Henry "Jim" Webb, Jr. (born February 9, 1946) is an American politician and author. He has served as a United States Senator from Virginia, Secretary of the Navy, Assistant Secretary of Defense, congressional staffer, and Marine Corps officer. He was awarded the Navy Cross for heroism in Vietnam, the second highest decoration in the Navy and Marine Corps. Webb also was awarded the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, and two Purple Hearts. After returning from Vietnam he was assigned to Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, as an instructor. In the private sector he has been an Emmy-award winning journalist, a filmmaker, and the author of ten books. In 2015, his book entitled Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America made it to the New York Times bestselling nonfiction list.

In addition, he taught literature at the United States Naval Academy and was a Fellow at the Harvard Institute of Politics. As a member of the Democratic Party, Webb announced on November 19, 2014, that he was forming an exploratory committee to evaluate a run for President of the United States in 2016.

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Webb is best known for his brilliant 1978 Vietnam War novel Fields of Fire, the story of a platoon of marines. His fourth novel is set in the 1990s, a story of a limited "peacetime" battle being fought in the desert of a Third World country--as well as a battle being fought in Washington between two power-hungry bureaucrats. Webb was a marine lieutenant in Vietnam in 1969, and later he was a Pentagon official, giving him an inside track on the horrors of war and the secret maneuverings and double crosses that are a way of life on Capitol Hill. Something to Die For lacks the power of the autobiographical Fields of Fire, but it is a better-than-average political thriller. ~--George Cohen

Publisher's Weekly Review

After a Japanese corporation sells vital U.S. defense technology to the Soviets, congressman Doc Rowland demands an apology and reparations from the Japanese government. Secretary of State Ron Holcomb, attempting to shift public attention from a gesture he regards as quixotic in the face of Japan's economic leverage, conspires with the glory-hungry admiral ``Mad Dog'' Mulchahy to land Marines in Africa, intervening in an obscure regional conflict that nevertheless offers Americans ``something to die for.'' As combat veteran and former assistant secretary of defense, Webb ( Fields of Fire ) uses firsthand experience to make both his battlefield and political scenes immediate and realistic. His characters are well drawn, with sexual rivalry between Rowland and Holcomb adding a personal dimension to their conflict. The surprise ending supplies a grim reminder that even with Russia's apparent collapse there remain many ways of waging war, and many possible enemies--not all of them obvious. BOMC alternate; author tour. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Colonel Bill Fogarty is called to fight a war in Eritrea for reasons even he, a military man down to his Tennessee genes, spots as fraudulent. He becomes a compliant victim when a major conflict between a congressman and a defense secretary needs a diversion to distract the U.S. public. In the familiar web of international manipulation and megalomaniacal ambitions of twisted bureaucrats, Webb argues that if soldiers must die, let them die for worthy causes. Author of the revered Fields of Fire ( LJ 9/1/1978), he tries to instill into this fictionalized battle account the anguish of a real war. The transference does not quite take. Instead this morality play-cum-thriller must rely on portraits and vignettes of real-life Washington. In their own way, these are very good and certainly measure up to the demands of the Washington novel, but Webb fans will feel as if they consumed a Twinkie when they thought they were getting seven-grain bread.-- Barbara Conaty, Library of Congress (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

YA --An exciting and timely novel that reads like today's headlines. Webb's narrative takes time to develop, but becomes absorbing in the second half as he paints a convincing picture of power politics in Washington and shows the impact of these struggles on U. S. military strategy in the Third World. He deftly describes war from a warrior's perspective--from the exhilaration of impending action to the despair over fallen comrades. What's more, he has gone to great pains to ensure that civilian readers are neither exasperated with jargon nor bewildered by tactics or equipment. On the contrary, his accounts of action in the Eritrean Desert by Cuban, French, Ethiopian, and American troops are compelling and readily comprehensible.-- Nick Vaux, Jefferson Sci-Tech, Alexandria, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.