I Heard My Country Calling

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by James Webb

Former senator James Webb has excelled himself in this well-received biography. It is unusual in America for one person to be honored for the greatest levels of combat heroism, as a respected member of the literary and journalistic worlds, and as a forthright national political leader. Webb writes eloquently about the early years that produced such a unique personal journey in this fascinating biography.

Webb's mother grew raised in East Arkansas' impoverished cotton fields. His father, a longtime hero, was the first in a long line of Webbs, whose roots are Appalachian, to graduate from high school. He flew bombers in WWII and freight planes in the Berlin Airlift, graduated from college when he was in his forties, and became an expert in the country's most modern weapons.

With a stern but emotionally invested father, a loving mother who had given birth to four children by the age of twenty-four, a granite-like grandmother who held the family together during his father's frequent deployments, and a rich assortment of aunts, siblings, and cousins, Webb's childhood account is a tremendous American saga as the family endures the constant moves and challenges of the rarely examined post–World War II military. Webb recounts his four years at Annapolis in a style that is both achingly honest and victorious in the end.

His depiction of the most violent battlegrounds in Vietnam breaks new literary territory. He is a renowned specialist on the history and conduct of the war and is one of the most decorated combat Marines of the conflict. Whether describing the resiliency that grew from constant relocations as a child, the longing for his absent father, his poignant good-bye to his parents as he leaves for Vietnam, his role as a twenty-three-year-old lieutenant through months of constant combat, or his election to the Senate, where he was a leader on national defense, foreign policy, and economic fairness, Webb's novelist's eyes and ears invest this work with remarkable power. This is a life that could only happen in the United States.

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— James Webb, I Heard My Country Calling