The Education of Corporal John Musgrave
“For more than a decade, we tried to make sense of one the most consequential, divisive, and unsettled events in American history. We hoped, in the process of creating our documentary, The Vietnam War, we would find answers to many essential questions: what really happened? Why did things go wrong? Who is to blame? Why are we unable to put Vietnam behind us? Of all the people who bore witness for our cameras and helped us see and hear the complexities of the war, none touched us more deeply than John Musgrave. In sharing his personal odyssey so completely in this book, John has shown us what it really means to be a patriot and a hero.”
—Ken Burns and Lynn Novick
In this electrifying memoir, Musgrave renders his wartime experience with a powerful immediacy: from the harshness of boot camp, to life in the Vietnam jungle, to a chest wound that nearly killed him. Musgrave also vividly describes the difficulty of returning home to a society rife with antiwar sentiment, his survivor’s guilt, and the realization that he and his fellow veterans had been betrayed by the government they served. Musgrave writes honestly about his struggle to balance his love for the Marine Corps against his responsibility to protect the very troops asked to protect America. Fiercely perceptive and candid, The Education of Corporal John Musgrave is one of the most powerful memoirs to emerge from the war.
"Outstanding memoir of service as a Marine rifleman and subsequent radicalization... There’s not a false note in this book, full of both pride and sorrow. It’s just the retort to those who wonder why Vietnam vets can’t just forget about the past and move on... Smart and self-aware, Musgrave delivers one of the best recent books on America’s experience in Vietnam."
A Marine's searing and intimate story—"A passionate, fascinating, and deeply humane memoir of both war and of the hard work of citizenship and healing in war’s aftermath. A superb addition to our understanding of the Vietnam War, and of its lessons”
—Phil Klay, author of Redeployment.