The author and every male member of his immediate family served in the Vietnam war. In 1988, his older brother, Elmo, died from Agent Orange-related cancers linked to his service as a Swift Boat commander during the Vietnam war. In a bitter irony, it was the actions of his father, Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr., in ordering the spraying of Agent Orange when he commanded all US naval forces in Vietnam that sealed his brother's fate. People react differently to grief. For the author, it turned to animosity, directed against not only the war but also the enemy against whom we had fought. In 1994, traveling to Vietnam for the first time since the war, he met with Vietnamese leaders to discuss the Agent Orange issue. In doing so, it provided him with the opportunity to learn about the conflict from the perspective of those who had fought it on the other side of the battlefield. As these former enemy veterans began sharing their personal stories of hardship and tragedy-one of which was not too dissimilar from the author's own-he was struck by a stark realization. As difficult and tragic as the war had been for Americans who served, it had taken as much, if not greater, a toll on the Vietnamese. In war, there are never winners-and Vietnam was no exception. Returning to Vietnam more than 50 times to interview hundreds of North Vietnamese Army (NVA) and Viet Cong (VC) veterans, in addition to Vietnamese civilians, the author obtained a better understanding as to the extent of our former enemy's suffering during that war. The result was a metamorphosis, which changed his attitude towards a former foe. "Bare Feet, Iron Will" became the vehicle by which he shares what this metamorphosis taught him. In "Bare Feet, Iron Will" are stories of intrigue, of patience, of ingenuity, of dedication and, most importantly, about a people with no option other than victory. These stories, share unique insights about the war. Intriguing insights evolving into odd coincidences-such as what led a Vietnamese veteran to write a novel, praised by Western critics, about the war; an interview where the author would learn the interviewee had tried to assassinate his father; the earlier-than-realized first American casualty of the Vietnam conflict and what that incident would portend for US involvement. About Vietnam's allies-including China, a country with which Vietnam has fought in almost every century and how China sought at times to give the appearance of helping North Vietnam while not doing so and North Korea, which pressured to send pilots to fight the Americans, only to have Hanoi send the Koreans home, trying to hide their participation by burying North Korean pilots in an obscure cemetery. More than a generation after the war in Vietnam ended, many Americans are still haunted by its memory. More than thirty-four years after the fall of Saigon, it is time to better understand the enemy we fought and the ro1e their "iron will" played. And with that understanding, hopefully many may find the healing they seek.
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War is not always black & white ...
The Vietnam war left an indelible mark on America. Not since our Civil War has a conflict so divided our people.
And, a generation after the war in Vietnam ended; many Americans remain haunted by its memory. More than three decades after the fall of Saigon, it is time to better understand the enemy we fought in Vietnam and the role their "Iron Will" played in its outcome.
The best way to do so is by sharing the personal experiences of the men and women who epitomized this Will--empowering them to live, fight, endure and prevail in their war with America.
And, by doing so...perhaps those still haunted by the Vietnam conflict can begin the process of exorcising its ghosts.
Stories never before told--from the Other Side of Vietnam's Battlefields ... as revealed in hundreds of personal interviews with enemy veterans & their war diaries.About the Author:
Lieutenant Colonel James Zumwalt is a retired Marine infantry officer who served in the Vietnam war, the 1989 intervention into Panama and Desert Storm. An author, speaker and business executive, he also currently heads a security consulting firm named after his father--Admiral Zumwalt & Consultants, Inc.
He writes extensively on foreign policy and defense issues, having written hundreds of articles for various newspapers, magazines and professional journals, including:
USA Today The Washington Post The New York Times The Washington Times The LA Times The Chicago Tribune The San Diego Union Parade magazine & others
His articles have covered issues of major importance, oftentimes providing readers with unique perspectives that have never appeared elsewhere. This has resulted, on several occasions, in his work being cited by members of Congress and entered into the US Congressional Record.
His thoughtful perspectives earned him an invitation to join the prestigious Committee on the Present Danger (CPD), of which the honorary co-chairmen are Senator Joe Lieberman, Senator Jon Kyl, former Secretary of State George P. Schultz and former CIA Director R. James Woolsey. The CPD is a non-partisan organization with one goal--to stiffen American resolve to confront the challenge presented by terrorism and the ideologies that drive it.
Colonel Zumwalt is featured as one of 56 US military professionals in LEADING THE WAY, a book by best-selling author Al Santoli, which documents the most critical moments of the interviewees' combat experiences from Vietnam to Somalia.
He has also been cited in numerous other books and publications for unique insights based on his research on the Vietnam war, North Korea (a country he has visited ten times and about which he is able to share some very telling observations) and Desert Storm.
Colonel Zumwalt received a presidential appointment to be the Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, in which capacity he served from 1991-1992.
Because of his expertise, he also was asked to participate in a very unique educational project conducted at a high school in Raleigh, North Carolina, where he voluntarily contributes time and resources to educating students on issues of international importance.
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