cover image Blue-Eyed Boy

Blue-Eyed Boy

Robert Timberg. Penguin Press, $27.95 (384p) ISBN 978-1-59420-566-8

In this straightforward and unsentimental account, Timberg (State of Grace) traces the trajectory of his career, from promising Naval Academy graduate and wounded war veteran to success as a journalist. With two weeks left before his rotation tour date in Vietnam, Lieutenant Timberg was severely disfigured when the amphibian tractor he was riding hit a mine and burst into flames. He attributes much of his early recovery to the encouragement of his first wife, Janie, a teacher in Laguna Beach, Calif., who stood by him through numerous reconstructive surgeries and also helped him find impetus for a new life after the army, namely, journalism. Timberg attended graduate school at Stanford, where he had to overcome his fear of speaking face-to-face with people; he also had to confront the political split in the country between those who fought in the war (few of the privileged at Stanford) and those who dodged their draft calls, a subject that keeps him simmering throughout. Eventually, his marriage crumbled under the stress of recovery, but Timberg, a Nieman fellow, devoted his time to writing books. (July)