As a young man, Craig McNamara walked lightly on the edge of history, befriending the Kennedy family and visiting the Johnson White House. The youngest child of Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara had no idea that the late 60s would tear apart his once close-knit family. 
The Vietnam War, secretly planned and more-secretly doubted by his father, began Craig McNamara’s lifelong struggle between family love and the desire for ultimate truth—about his father’s true nature, the nature of the American system, and the meaning of loyalty. 

At once the lament of an unusually tender son and a shout from the dark heart of the 20th century, BECAUSE OUR FATHERS LIED tells the story of a child grappling with a parent's legacy. In scenes of incredible intimacy, Craig McNamara shows the unseen side of his father, the architect of the Vietnam War: an adoring but distracted husband, a worshipper of nature who carpet-bombed forests, and a devoted, vulnerable, deeply flawed father. 
As he evolves from the son of the Pentagon Chief to a college drop-out, draft dodger, and motorcycle diarist, Craig McNamara traces the path of a generation growing up in the midst of war, yearning for ways to heal the world. In his later years, as he attempts to rebuild his relationship with his father, McNamara discovers new truths through a career in organic farming, ploughing the soils of Northern California as he excavates the depths and subtleties of an unresolvable trauma. A lover of peace, forever the child of war. 
BECAUSE OUR FATHERS LIED is the defining father-son story of a generation. 

What's Inside

Read More Read Less

Reader Reviews


“Craig McNamara has written an intimate personal story about the afterlife of America’s disastrous Vietnam experience. His attempts to understand his own father, one of the most controversial figures of the 20th century, have created a new chapter in that history. His voice is as morally focused as any that resisted the war.” —Daniel Ellsberg
“The mystery of Robert McNamara is on display here. Through his son’s eyes, we sense his brilliance and are outraged by his arrogance. Craig McNamara asks deep questions about how the past informs our choices, and how we can address what has been done. This is an important book.”—Errol Morris, director of The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara
“Craig McNamara has given us a profound, wrenching, brave, and essential memoir – a must read for anyone who wants to understand the tragedy of the Vietnam War and why its echoes are still being felt in America today. He carries the painful burden of being the son of Robert McNamara -- architect of a war he knew at the time was unwinnable -- with tremendous grace. Craig’s humanity, generosity of spirit, and compassion come through on every page of this intimate, devastating and revelatory journey into a dark time of promises broken, illusions shattered, lives lost.”—Lynn Novick, co-director and producer of The Vietnam War
“Craig McNamara’s memoir is an emotional revelation from a tragic time in history with many parallels to the present. Despite the painfully felt influence of his father, Craig has preserved in these pages a hopeful and loving vision of life. This is a moving, remarkable book.” —Rose Styron
Read More Read Less