cover image About Face: A Warrior's Journey

About Face: A Warrior's Journey

David H. Hackworth. Simon & Schuster, $24.45 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-671-52692-4

A battle-scarred veteran of Korea, Hackworth served successive tours in Vietnam, becoming increasingly alarmed by declining standards in the Army and the dead-end policy in Southeast Asia. Matters came to a head during a 1971 television interview in which he criticized Army leadership, training and tactics in the field. For this the colonel was shamefully hounded into premature retirement, a potential Army superstar who was suddenly perceived as a dangerous renegade, according to this memoir written with freelancer Sherman. The engrossing autobiography of a fierce and fiercely outspoken warrior, it is also an inside account of the demoralization of a once-proud army during a period when ``no one could afford to tell the truth, make an error, or admit to ignorance.'' The colonel makes sweeping condemnations in this passionate, profane, sometimes intemperate book (admirers of military historian S.L.A. Marshall will cringe at Hackworth's savage attack). In the end he calls the army ``this rotten whore I'd been in love with for twenty years.'' Photos. Military Book Club main selection; author tour. (Apr.)