Our Year of War

Two Brothers, Vietnam, and a Nation Divided


By Daniel P. Bolger

Formats and Prices




$36.50 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around November 7, 2017. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

Two brothers — Chuck and Tom Hagel — who went to war in Vietnam, fought in the same unit, and saved each other’s life. They disagreed about the war, but they fought it together.

1968. America was divided. Flag-draped caskets came home by the thousands. Riots ravaged our cities. Assassins shot our political leaders. Black fought white, young fought old, fathers fought sons. And it was the year that two brothers from Nebraska went to war.

In Vietnam, Chuck and Tom Hagel served side by side in the same rifle platoon. Together they fought in the Mekong Delta, battled snipers in Saigon, chased the enemy through the jungle, and each saved the other’s life under fire. But when their one-year tour was over, these two brothers came home side-by-side but no longer in step — one supporting the war, the other hating it.

Former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and his brother Tom epitomized the best, and withstood the worst, of the most tumultuous, shocking, and consequential year in the last half-century. Following the brothers’ paths from the prairie heartland through a war on the far side of the world and back to a divided America, Our Year of War tells the story of two brothers at war — a gritty, poignant, and resonant story of a family and a nation divided yet still united.



I knew Chuck and Tom Hagel long before I met them. In the terrible year of 1968, young men like them lived in my suburban neighborhood west of Chicago. When their time came to serve, they went. We’d look for their faces when the camera scanned the crowd on the USO Bob Hope Christmas Special on television. Their fathers, like mine, fought in World War II or Korea. Their mothers showed us snapshots of bright-green jungles, thin foreign people in black pajamas, and loose-limbed young men in faded fatigues, smiling into the camera, Schlitz beer cans in hand. When they came home, they didn’t talk about it. They took jobs or went to college. They moved on. I never heard of PTSD. And I never met a draft dodger.

You could make a powerful case, and many have, that the four most formative eras in American history were the Revolution and founding, slavery and the Civil War, the Great Depression and World War II, and the sixties and Vietnam. Of those, the last is surely the most discussed and least well understood. We’re probably too close to it to sort it out completely.

Still, I think I owe it to Chuck and Tom, and to all the Vietnam veterans, most notably the officers and sergeants who led me when I joined the U.S. Army in the 1970s, to try to figure out what the hell we did to our enemies and ourselves in Vietnam and at home. This book is my attempt, through the story of Chuck and Tom Hagel, to explain the lasting significance of the tumultuous events of the Vietnam War and 1960s America. I’ve worked hard to get it right. Wartime sergeants, like the Hagels and my own father, measure officer types by one hard standard: Do they know the real deal? I think I do. The Hagels certainly do.

Fifty years after Tet, Vietnam remains very much with us. I believe that many Americans, especially younger ones, do not realize the full import of this divisive war abroad and the contentious era at home, in particular the decisive events of 1968. We continue to repeat the same errors and miss the same opportunities. I know. I lived through just those bloody mistakes in Iraq and Afghanistan. We see our past, but we don’t understand it, even when men like Chuck and Tom Hagel plead with us to do so. It’s past time to come to terms with Vietnam and the sixties. That’s why I wrote Our Year of War.

Daniel P. Bolger

Lieutenant General

U.S. Army, Retired


The Hole in the Prairie

Hell, I even thought I was dead ’til I found out that it was just that I was in Nebraska.


In Vietnam, American soldiers filing out through the barbed wire around the firebase used to say they were headed into “Indian country.” The nineteen-year-olds, with a few notable exceptions, were neither historians nor anthropologists, and thus they were not drawing some abstract academic analogy. No, the troops borrowed the term from hundreds of western movies and television shows. The GIs all knew the deal. Leaving the wire was like marching through the wooden palisades of some Hollywood frontier fort. Inside, we owned it. Out past that boundary lay the unseen enemies—the Indians.

So it had been in the Nebraska Territory. Before there was a Nebraska Territory, or a Nebraska state, or any United States, the Indians were there. They weren’t just any Indians, either. They were the dangerous ones, the unbroken ones, the Great Plains warriors feared and respected most: the Arapaho, the Cheyenne, the Pawnee, and the fearsome Sioux. That last group of people called themselves Dakota, Lakota, and Nakota, but not Sioux. The name came from a corrupted French term for “little snake,” or more colloquially, an enemy, and a treacherous one at that. Whatever you called them, they lived there on the broad grasslands, following the great buffalo herds along the meandering shallow rivers that scarred the dry prairie. The Indians called this region Nbraske, “flat water.” 2 That’s a pretty good description of the Platte River that bisects the modern state from east to west.

Today, trendy people, go-getters who live and work in New York and Washington to the east or San Francisco and Los Angeles to the west, refer to places like Nebraska as “flyover country,” that expanse of nothing between the parts of America that really matter (or think they do). Before the Civil War, only birds and an odd balloon or two flew over Nebraska, but those Americans who went there pushed through as quickly as they could. Civilization, or what passed for it in antebellum America, lay back east of St. Louis. The gold was out west in California. And the Nebraska Territory, part of what nineteenth-century mapmakers helpfully designated the “Great American Desert,” well, the best idea there involved getting through it posthaste in your Conestoga wagon with enough supplies and all your bodily parts. Roaring grass fires, howling tornadoes, and marauding Indians sometimes made that a very sporty proposition. Still, for the Indians, and their numerous buffalo prey, the less settlers, the better. Moving on through suited all parties.

After the Civil War, that changed. One of the laws pushed through the Union Congress in 1862 encouraged settlement out west. The Homestead Act granted land, typically a 160-acre plot, to any citizen “head of a family,” male or female, over twenty-one years of age. Union military veterans could also apply, even if they didn’t have a family or were not yet age twenty-one. Freed African American slaves were included, too, by a later provision, although Confederates (“who had borne arms against the United States Government or given aid and comfort to its enemies”) were not. To gain permanent ownership, the applicant had to engage in “actual settlement and cultivation” for at least five years.3 This act opened the Great Plains to many, including waves of immigrants arriving from Europe.

With the homesteaders came the railroads, designed to link the eastern United States with the bustling boom towns of the Pacific coast. Coincidentally, the lattice of west-bound rails provided the means to sustain those who chose to take their chances on the prairie. Along with the Homestead Act, the Union Congress also passed Pacific Railroad Acts in 1862 and 1863, both of which granted land rights and federal financial backing for a transcontinental railroad line. In the Nebraska Territory, the Union Pacific commenced construction in earnest after the Civil War. The line passed through Omaha and paralleled the Platte River.4 By March 1, 1867, the combined numbers of railway workers and sod-busting farmers provided enough population to allow Nebraska to gain statehood.

That year also saw a series of clashes with the Plains Indians. Those would go on for the next decade or so. History and Hollywood remember the one big battle, the Arapaho, Cheyenne, and Sioux victory over Lieutenant Colonel (brevet Major General) George A. Custer and the bulk of the 7th Cavalry Regiment on the Little Big Horn River on June 2526, 1876. Yet that major engagement was atypical both in its scale and its results. The era’s U.S. Army records reveal much more pedestrian data. From 1865 to 1898, the military counted 943 firefights. In these, 948 soldiers were killed and 1,058 were wounded. Indian losses, admittedly an estimate (and probably inflated by optimistic officers; some things never change), totaled 4,371 killed, 1,279 wounded, and 10,318 captured. This meant the usual encounter resulted in two soldiers killed or wounded, six Indian casualties, and eleven Indian prisoners.5 An average year on the Great Plains, the entire United States between the Mississippi River and the eastern reaches of the Rocky Mountains, saw twenty-nine such skirmishes. If you blinked, you missed the “war,” such as it was.

In the usual pattern in places like Nebraska, the soldiers followed the Indians here and there, rarely caught up, but over time wore them out. With wives and children exhausted, ponies tired, and braves despondent, one by one, the main chiefs accepted confinement to the great reservations: Pine Ridge, Rosebud, Spirit Lake, and Yankton. Most of the Indians survived.6 But their way of life was gone.

Why did it end this way? The Indians were better fighters, man for man, than the young volunteer Regulars who chased them. The Indians moved faster. They shot well. They knew the prairies as their homes for centuries. They could subsist off the buffalo and stay ahead of the weather. And yet… and yet, in the end, it wasn’t about that.

It wasn’t about soldier versus brave. That was a symptom, not a cause. The fatal displacement wasn’t done by advancing ranks of Regulars—there were far too few in uniform for that, 25,000 at best—but by the determined sod-busting of hundreds of thousands of plodding agrarians and herdsmen, drawn west to stake their homesteads: family farms without any elbow room for wandering warriors. The decisive penetration didn’t come from cavalry troopers picking their way up creek beds, but from steel rails heading west, ever west, bearing commerce and passengers aplenty, none of them much interested in tenting on the prairie, nor all that interested in those who did. Even the slaughter of the buffalo reflected an urge for hides in America’s teeming eastern cities, a tribute to modern weaponry, and the sad fact that the lumbering beasts reproduced too infrequently and grew up far too slowly to compete with the pitiless bark of thousands of repeating rifles, some in Indian hands by the 1870s.7 Each 160-acre plot claimed, each rail line spiked down, and each buffalo killed wore away the life of the Plains Indians as surely as any shot from an army trapdoor Springfield rifle. The human wave from the east never let up. The Lakota called these numerous new arrivals wasichus, “uninvited visitors” who refused to leave.8 They had that right.

The Plains Indians survived, penned and sullen, existing after a fashion on remote reservations. Six Indian reservations, all established in territorial days, remained in Nebraska. All were small, all underpopulated, all out of the way, and all well to the east, carved off the fringes of the state, home to a few thousand Indians hanging on by their fingernails. In the greatest stretch of Nebraska, the endless productive prairie, just the names endured, pinned to small towns and shallow rivers. Those fragments of Indian language mark the footsteps of ghosts.

This is what winning looks like in a people’s war.9 The side that prevails—the wasichus—moves in and never looks back. And the side that loses gets prodded, pushed, and squeezed by political, economic, cultural, military, and above all demographic pressures that do not stop. In later days, anguished national leaders pointed to Vietnam, and eventually Iraq and Afghanistan, too, and wondered if America could ever hope to win a war against insurgents. They might have done well to look at Nebraska. All that was left of the Indians was a hole.

LIEUTENANT GENERAL CURTIS EMERSON LEMAY looked at Nebraska. He didn’t see the fading signs of the Indians. He wasn’t concerned with them. What interested LeMay about Nebraska was what always interested him: winning America’s wars. After the tremendous victories over Nazi Germany and imperial Japan in 1945, Americans all over the country, including those in Nebraska, figured the war was over. But LeMay was already thinking about the next one. That was his job.

Now the potential enemy was the Soviet Union. Along with atomic weapons, Russia had big bombers, too. After getting caught on the ground at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, no American air force general was willing to do anything but assume the worst case. Hundreds of Soviet bombers with atomic bombs—that amounted to a hell of a threat. And those planes could arrive any hour on any day.

When LeMay took over the Strategic Air Command (SAC) on October 19, 1948, he took charge of America’s nuclear bomber fleet, the country’s Sunday punch. LeMay reported for duty at Andrews Air Force Base, ten miles from the center of Washington, DC, and less than a hundred miles from the Atlantic coast.10 The Pentagon, the White House, the U.S. Capitol—all of those useful destinations for a SAC commander could be reached easily by air force limousine. Around SAC headquarters, Andrews featured nicely manicured lawns, a palatial officers’ club, and a wonderful golf course. Any weekend, in less than two hours, you could motor to the beach to fish or frolic. Duty at Andrews was pleasant. Most generals loved it. Not LeMay.

Curtis LeMay saw SAC headquarters at Andrews as the Russians saw it: their top target, the one installation that, if allowed to carry out its primary task, could cause the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) to cease to exist. And wasn’t it handy that SAC planted its flag right near Washington, just a few minutes inland for a modern aircraft streaking in from the ocean? Hell, if war came, the base might not even survive the back blast from whatever array of nukes the Soviets unloaded on Washington proper. Andrews Air Force Base amounted to a staked goat, a sacrifice. LeMay had no intention of beginning World War III with his command post blown away.

Thus LeMay saw Nebraska in classic real estate terms: location, location, location. He wanted a place smack in the middle of the continental United States, as far as possible from the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and midway between the Canadian and Mexican borders. Those Russian bombers might get there someday. But they’d have to work for it.

Mapmakers pinpointed the exact center of the continental United States as 98° 35' longitude and 39° 50' latitude, an open field near Lebanon, Kansas, not far from the Nebraska border.11 “X” marked the spot. Putting something out there in the middle of nowhere would take a lot of work, and a lot of time. LeMay demanded a solution way faster than that. He found one. If you went just 160 miles to the northeast, Nebraska offered a ready-made alternative: Offutt Air Force Base, just south of Omaha.12 That would do.

The move to Offutt happened very quickly, weeks after LeMay assumed command. A plan had been in the works, but LeMay moved out in his usual way—immediately. By November 9, SAC had its command center up and running in Nebraska. The airmen set up in Administrative Building A, a three-story structure affiliated with the shuttered Glenn L. Martin bomber plant. During World War II, that massive factory complex churned out its own B-26 Marauder medium bombers and B-29 Superfortresses on license from Boeing. Among its 515 B-29s produced were Enola Gay and Bockscar, the mission aircraft for the atomic attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.13 In that sense, America’s atomic bombers came home.

The move to Offutt turned out to be the first of many that made SAC the formidable nuclear-armed force it became, so powerful that it took the motto “Peace Is Our Profession.” The message was stark. The Russians wouldn’t dare attack. If they did, they’d be eradicated. LeMay commanded SAC for nearly nine years. When he took over, the organization comprised 450 piston-engine bombers with a war plan to deliver 133 atomic bombs on 70 Soviet targets. When LeMay left in June of 1957, the command fielded 1,655 jet bombers ready to drop 1,655 thermonuclear bombs, each one up to a thousand times more potent than the Hiroshima type, on 954 Soviet targets. After a maximum effort, all that would be left of the USSR would be what one officer called “a smoking, radiating ruin.”14

And what of Offutt Air Force Base? Once the “go code” went out, its primary purpose would be fulfilled. It then became expendable. As LeMay departed in 1957, SAC moved into its purpose-built Building 500, complete with a three-story deep sub-basement command post. Of course, the advent of thermonuclear hydrogen bombs and intercontinental ballistic missiles, like the Russian rocket that launched Sputnik that year, meant Building 500’s underground bunker wouldn’t last long even with a near miss. Plus, those hostile missiles could arrive in thirty minutes. To prevent a bolt from the blue, SAC began to keep a relay of command jets aloft 24/7, code-named “Looking Glass.” Even if Soviet warheads obliterated the Offutt rabbit hole, the SAC retaliatory codes would still go out through the Looking Glass.15 Lewis Carroll was unavailable for comment.

The choice of Offutt Air Force Base as SAC headquarters elevated Omaha, Nebraska, and its quarter of a million residents from a lowly fortieth place among American population centers to number two on the USSR’s hit parade, second only to the capital city of Washington, DC.16 For the Soviet general staff, the death of the people of Omaha would amount to collateral damage, nothing personal, just business. It was a sword of Damocles ever present, if you thought about it. Most people in eastern Nebraska chose not to do so.

They also likely gave little consideration to another by-product of SAC’s basing decision. Once SAC headquarters got up and running, Soviet foreign intelligence (KGB) and military intelligence (GRU) became very interested in Nebraska. For the entire Cold War, what happened in and around Offutt Air Force Base got plenty of attention.17 Those poking about and asking questions rarely matched the ham-handed Boris and Natasha stereotypes. When assigned an objective, KGB and GRU officers consistently ran sophisticated agent networks to find out the information they needed. Consequently, both U.S. Air Force security entities and the Federal Bureau of Investigation stayed active in and around Nebraska, particularly Omaha.

So SAC came to Omaha. With the thunder of huge jet bombers coming and going, rattling windows and shaking roofs at all hours, the recognition that Omaha was now a USSR nuclear bull’s-eye, and the suspicion that the next person who asked you for directions could well be working for Moscow, you might think locals in eastern Nebraska would have nothing but contempt for the man who inflicted all of this on them. This seemed especially likely when the laconic LeMay, curt indeed, answered a welcoming journalist’s question about what it all meant. “It doesn’t mean a damn thing to Omaha, and it doesn’t mean a damn thing to me.”18 So there.

Nevertheless, they liked him. In so many ways, Curtis LeMay struck Nebraskans as one of their own. He reminded you of the guy who fixed your car: grease on rough hands, brow furrowed, wrench sticking out of a side pocket. Don’t even think about skimping on paying the bill. He’d sock you. No small talk, no BS, just work. Whereas the regal General William C. Westmoreland looked like he belonged at a full-dress parade, Curtis LeMay matched the other kind of commander, the one you’d call up for a desperate battle, a death struggle. His square, determined face, often decorated with a protruding cigar, topped a football player’s physique. Although only five feet, eight inches tall, he looked much bigger. He seemed solid, all muscle, and all aimed at getting things done. LeMay gave you the impression he’d smash right through a wall to go where he needed to go. He’d make things happen, this one.

LeMay made himself. His Ohio parents worked for a living, and although Curtis considered West Point, the U.S. Military Academy did not consider him. So he went to Ohio State University, worked at a local steel mill, majored in civil engineering, and gained his commission as a second lieutenant in 1928. He sought flight school and excelled in the air. Uniquely among the small U.S. Army Air Corps of the Depression era, LeMay qualified as a pilot and navigator, and could carry out the bombardier’s duties, too. He also learned how to repair aircraft, tune the radios, and serve as a turret gunner. His hands were usually dirty. In 193738, he flew some of the first training runs with the big new Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress.19 LeMay knew that aircraft cold. No man could outfly or outwork him.

LeMay was still a first lieutenant as late as 1940, as America prepared for war. He moved up quickly thereafter: captain in early 1940, major by 1941, lieutenant colonel and colonel within months in 1942, then one-star general by 1943. He earned his promotions in the deadly skies over occupied Europe. Never one for lectures or grandstanding, LeMay focused on flying. He drilled his air crews relentlessly. They learned to assemble quickly above the soup of foggy England, fly in tight formations, almost wingtip to wingtip, and use their onboard machine gun turrets to defend each other. Above all, they worked on bombing. In theory, the top-secret Norden bombsight allowed a B-17 to “put a bomb in a pickle barrel” from five miles up. But that presumed pickle barrel wasn’t defended by skilled Luftwaffe fighter pilots. In reality, a bombardment group’s lead bombardier did the aiming. The other guys, jokingly called “toggleers,” flipped a switch once they saw the first plane unload. It made a ragged pattern on the ground. LeMay taught his group to stay tight in their combat box formation.20 Close in the air, close on target—he preached it, taught it, and demanded it.

LeMay didn’t send his crews out. He led them. He piloted the lead B-17. LeMay understood that it all came down to bombs on target. He taught his fliers to press on. Once they started the bombing run, neither flak bursts nor marauding Messerschmitt fighters could divert LeMay’s airmen from their ominous task. His 305th Bombardment Group never turned back. They made it to their targets every time, and regularly put twice as many bombs on their aim points as any other group. The crude bombsights and light bombs of 1943 lacked accuracy and hitting power. Able German defenders exacted a high price. But the 305th set the standard. By the fall, LeMay was leading the entire 3rd Air Division of seven groups.21 He didn’t look back.

Men died in the air over Germany: 37,500 Americans, 60,000 British and Commonwealth crewmen. People died on the ground, some 593,000. The Americans flew by day, tried to hit individual factories, and in so doing tore up complete German city blocks with high explosives. The British Royal Air Force flew by night and endeavored to burn out factories and workers’ housing. Together, the Allies blew apart and broiled the enemy’s aircraft plants and oil refineries. They paralyzed German rail and road networks. Twice—at Hamburg in July of 1943 and Dresden in February of 1945—British incendiary munitions and American high explosives hit hard enough, in sufficient volume, and in the right weather conditions to generate firestorms, self-sustaining vortexes that immolated entire cities. In ground combat, artilleryman William Westmoreland focused on killing enemy soldiers, the terrible arithmetic of attrition. Airman LeMay saw Westmoreland and raised him, following the path blazed by Sherman in Georgia and Sheridan in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley and tried all too often on the western plains. Whole societies made modern war. So entire societies must pay the price. “I’ll tell you what war is about,” LeMay said. “You’ve got to kill people, and when you’ve killed enough, they stop fighting.”22 By May of 1945, the Germans stopped.


  • "Our Year of War is the remarkable tale of two brothers--one of them a future Secretary of Defense--who walked point together in the same Army infantry platoon in Vietnam. It's a story of war, and a story of family, and a reminder that America's wars are, in the end, fought by families. Dan Bolger has done us all a great service with this wonderful book."--Nathaniel Fick, author of the New York Times bestseller One Bullet Away
  • "Our Year of War is a vivid war story that soars beyond the battlefields to become a metaphor for life's struggles and redemption. Drawing on an exhaustive depth of research and first-hand combat experience, General Bolger weaves together a tale of brotherly devotion and a warning about ambitious senior officials who lacked humility and common sense."--Bing West, author of The Wrong War: A History of the War in Afghanistan
  • "Daniel Bolger is an unusual general--a fine writer and a masterful storyteller. Here he tells the moving tale of two soldiers, of the US Army (an organization he understands to his bones), of America, and of war. Reading this book is like sitting around the campfire with a tribal elder."--Thomas E. Ricks, bestselling author of Fiasco, The Generals, and Churchill and Orwell
  • "The story of the Hagel brothers is one of the most incredible and unbelievable stories ever to come out of war. It is a miracle that either of the brothers survived the crucible of Vietnam. Their stories as individuals and as brothers provide inspiration for us all."--US Senator Max Cleland (Ret.)
  • "A crisp account of a messy war...Bolger, who won five Bronze Stars during his Army career, brings a unique perspective to the story, as he understands the intricacies of modern warfare and also acknowledges the wide gap between those who fight these wars and those who lead them...Bolger ably conveys how Vietnam felt to those who fought it and what it meant."

    Kirkus Reviews
  • "Bolger's story of the two Hagel brothers shows how even close family members became alienated from each other by the war in Vietnam."—Publishers Weekly
  • "The raw description of a soldier's life will appeal to readers of military history...For readers interested in a new perspective of Vietnam."—Library Journal
  • "Engrossing."—New York Post
  • "An intimate look at the Vietnam War through the experiences of two brothers who survived it."—WTBF Radio
  • "Bolger does a masterful job of researching and referencing...He also captures and explains GI slang from the war."—Washington Independent Review of Books
  • "A compelling [story] and one that Bolger tells well."—The VVA Veteran
  • "The siblings' story, a part of the American fabric that Bolger weaves deftly, sucks you in."—Military Times
  • "A unique true-life story focusing on the 1968 Vietnam war experience of two brothers...[A] captivating, expertly researched, and thoroughly immersive saga. A vivid glimpse into the tumultuous past, a divided America, and the sweltering jungles of war-torn Vietnam, Our Year of War is highly recommended for public and college library military shelves and personal reading lists."—Midwest Book Review
  • "The story of two brothers fighting an implacable enemy in a faraway place that just a few years earlier most Americans couldn't find on a map...[Bolger] has experienced war firsthand and is uniquely qualified to tell the Hagels' story. And he pulls no punches. He puts things in perspective. He does an excellent job describing what the Hagels experienced in Vietnam and what was simultaneously happening on the homefront. He provides insight into what senior military leadership was thinking and how it affected soldiers in the jungle."
    ARMY magazine
  • "A story of the [Hagel] brothers' respective year-long experiences in the U.S. Army during the turbulent Vietnam War and how they came to their individual perspectives regarding that conflict...[Bolger] has weaved a highly readable account of the brothers' lives and war experiences along with the political, military, social, and cultural circumstances extant in the United States, and internationally, at the time...a quickly and easily read book that tells the Hagels' personal story while incorporating the big picture of events and influences from the pivotal year of 1968."—New York Journal of Books
  • "A multilayered, nuanced, extensively researched and wonderfully written account of what transpired on the battlefields of Vietnam and on the American homefront during the pivotal year for the war and for our country-1968...Bolger's superbly imagined and expertly presented narrative is much more than simply the story of two brothers who went to war...Bolger provides an insightful examination of the unprecedented domestic political-social upheavals confronting the U.S. in 1968...The best book in many years on the Vietnam War. This is a must-read book."-
    Vietnam Magazine
  • "A eulogy to lost American values and a clarion for the vanishing virtues of civility and genuine patriotism...A brilliant, exciting and tragic survey...As a war story its hair-raising suspense is as artfully crafted as any spellbinding fiction...[A] sanguine and gritty book that relates history even as it resonates today's real news."—Washington Times
  • "Bolger offers an affecting account of Chuck Hagel (who later became secretary of defense) and his brother Tom as they fought-and in some ways continue to refight-their shared tour in Vietnam."—The Christian Century
  • "Bolger goes beyond the standard chronological account of soldiers in combat...The book is an excellent look at not only how two brothers coped with war, but also how the U.S. changed with the brothers as the Vietnam War dragged on."—Collected Miscellany

On Sale
Nov 7, 2017
Page Count
368 pages
Da Capo Press

Daniel P. Bolger

About the Author

Daniel P. Bolger served in the US Army for thirty-five years, retiring as a lieutenant general. He commanded troops in both Afghanistan and Iraq, earning five Bronze Star medals (one for valor) and the Combat Action Badge. He is the author of eight previous books and a contributing editor for Army magazine. He lives in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Learn more about this author