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Books  >>  Biography

Robert Timberg

Blue-Eyed Boy

Robert Timberg Blue Eyed Boy A Memoir
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Biographical note:

Robert Timberg is the author of The Nightingale’s Song, John McCain: An American Odyssey, and State of Grace: A Memoir of Twilight Time. A 1964 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, he served with the First Marine Division in South Vietnam from March 1966 to February 1967. Timberg worked at The Baltimore Sun for more than three decades as a reporter, an editor, and a White House correspondent.

Main description:

From journalist Robert Timberg, a memoir of the struggle to reclaim his life after being severely burned as a Marine lieutenant in Vietnam

In January 1966, Robert Timberg was a short-timer, counting down the days until his combat tour ended. He had thirteen days to go when his vehicle struck a Viet Cong landmine, resulting in third-degree burns of his face and much of his body. He survived, barely, then began the arduous battle back, determined to build a new life and make it matter.

Remarkable as was his return to health—he endured no less than thirty-five operations—perhaps more remarkable was his decision to reinvent himself as a journalist, one of the most public of professionals. Blue-Eyed Boy is a gripping, occasionally comic account of what it took for an ambitious man, aware of his frightful appearance but hungry for meaning and accomplishment, to master a new craft amid the pitying stares and shocked reactions of many he encountered on a daily basis.

Timberg was at the top of his game as White House correspondent for The Baltimore Sun when suddenly his work brought his life full circle: the Iran-Contra scandal broke. At its heart were three fellow naval academy graduates and Vietnam-era veterans. Timberg’s coverage of that story resulted in his first book, The Nightingale’s Song, a powerful work of narrative nonfiction that follows the three academy graduates most deeply involved in Iran- Contra—Oliver North among them, as well as two other well-known Navy men, John McCain and James Webb—from the academy through Vietnam and into the Reagan years.

In Blue-Eyed Boy, Timberg relates how he came to know these five men and how their stories helped him understand the ways the Vietnam War and the furor that swirled around it continue to haunt the nation, even now, nearly four decades after its dismal conclusion. Timberg is no saint, and he has traveled a hard and often bitter road. In facing his own remarkable life with the same tools of wisdom, human empathy, and storytelling grit he brought to his journalism, he has produced one of the most moving and important memoirs of our time.


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