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Blue-Eyed Boy: A Memoir

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  136 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
Acclaimed journalist Robert Timberg’s extraordinary, long-awaited memoir of his struggle to reclaim his life and find his calling after being severely burned as a young Marine lieutenant in Vietnam

In January 1967, Robert Timberg was a short-timer, counting down the days until his combat tour ended. He had thirteen days to go before he got to go back home to his wife in Sou
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published July 24th 2014 by Penguin Press
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Steven Z.
Oct 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
As most are aware the Vietnam War has left many scars on those who fought the war and the American people in general. With 58,000 men dead and roughly 270,000 wounded, many like the author, Robert Timberg suffered life changing injuries that affect them psychologically and physically to this day. Mr. Timberg, a graduate of the United States Naval Academy, and a Marine Corps officer suffered second and third degree burns to his face and parts of his body on January 18, 1967 when his armored vehic ...more
Washington Post
Aug 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
“Blue-Eyed Boy” is a fierce and enthralling memoir by Vietnam veteran and career journalist Robert Timberg. It recounts his recovery from severe injuries, sustained when his truck hit a Viet Cong land mine. Third-degree burns covered much of his face, and “what remained looked like steak before you throw it on the grill,” he writes.

At its core “Blue-Eyed Boy” is the story of a man who fought, fought like hell — first for survival, then for a life.

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Jul 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Memoirs are somewhat of a diversion for me but Robert Timberg occupies a special author category for me. Lt. Robert Timberg, a 23 year old Annapolis graduate and Marine officer, was 13 days away from concluding his 13th month tour in Viet Nam when the Am Trac he was riding on hit a VC land mine. He survived but suffered hideously disfiguring burns. This book is the story of the courage and determination he endured both physically and physiologically to just survive and the people in his life tha ...more
Jul 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed Timberg's book, "The Nightengale's Song," and this memoir doesn't disappoint either. I have some things in common with him: USNA graduate and Marine officer and perhaps a desire to be journalistic-like. But that's where it ends. He was only 13 days away from completing his tour in Vietnam when on a simple admin errand to pay the troops his vehicle struck a mine and his life was forever changed. This is candid and confessional up to a point. Timberg sounds like a difficult man to live w ...more
Tony Taylor
Aug 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing

Bob Timberg is just one of those writers who never misses... whatever he writes about is captivating and superbly written. For anyone who knows his name, he will always be remembered for his first book, a masterpiece: "The Nightingale's Song," a nationally acclaimed story of the Iran-Contra scandal that happened during his tenure as the White House correspondent for the Baltimore Sun during the Reagan years. I have the privilege of knowing Bob as a Naval Academy classmate... we often shared clas
Nancy Kennedy
Jun 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Robert Timberg, a Marine and Naval Academy graduate, was 13 days from finishing his year-long tour in Vietnam and returning home to his bride. On a day when he was supposed to be on R&R shopping for souvenirs, he instead took the place of a fellow Marine in a convoy bringing paychecks to a company deep in the boonies. On the way, the Amtrac he was riding in rolled over a land mine and exploded in a fireball that charred Mr. Timberg's face, neck and arms.

Mr. Timberg was scarred in a horrible
Nov 15, 2014 rated it liked it
Good read. The honest tale of his wartime service and his years of surgeries to repair his face from his Vietnam burn was 4 star. And I appreciate all the details of his journalistic and D.C. gigs. He loses a star in his ego rants (although coming from that exact era myself and a military spouse at that once upon a time) which set the second half of the book off toward a tenser angle than it needed to take. But that's a jarhead- just like my brother. And he does seem honest about the temperament ...more
Geneva Benoit
Aug 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Well written -- as anything by Timberg is. But I think it's an example of why David Halberstam said historians should not write autobiographies. I learned too much. One of my lifetime favorite books is The Nightingale's Song by Timberg. I learned that the title (which is also the thesis) was suggested by his second wife. I didn't need to know it wasn't his original thought or that he had a second wife. Still, his has been an extraordinary life, changed suddenly by his disfiguring injury in Vietn ...more
Celia Kaltenbach-crotteau
Jul 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I didn't particularly enjoy this book, but it gripped me for personal reasons. First, I served as a Navy nurse for six years, from 1985 through 1991, after Vietnam, yes, but not so long after that I didn't hear grisly anecdotes from nurses who had served in Nam or treat patients suffering from physical and psychic wounds from their time in-country. Second, I married a Naval Academy grad from the class of 1968 who served twenty-four years active duty and have met some of the men mentioned in this ...more
In this book, Timberg chronicles his life post Vietnam War; he's an Annapolis grad Marine who, just days from his going-home date, gets horrifically burned when the vehicle he's on explodes a mine.

This story is at its best when Timberg is describing the procedures he endured and the people and experiences that motivated him to return to life, despite being physically disfigured. His bravery and intelligence, and those of his first wife, are pretty incredible. There's a lot to think about -- How
Linda Robertson
Aug 10, 2014 rated it liked it
The beginning of the book is excellent, but the last quarter is anything but. I heard Timberg being interviewed on NPR and wanted to read the book. He sounded very interesting.

The Viet Nam portion and his recovery were gut wrenching. But later he comes across as rather self involved. His excuses for MacFarlane, North and others involved in the Iran Contra, because they were ex Marines, made me doubt what sort of people the service academies are turning out. They were adult men and he expects oth
Oct 07, 2014 rated it liked it
The first half of this memoir details the life of Robert Timberg, when he was serving as a U.S. marine in Vietnam. With his countdown to going home down to a meager 13 days, he suffers horrendous injuries from a land mine. The story of the pain and suffering and multiple surgeries he endured almost brought me to tears. But, in the second half of the book, it seems his ego took over and ran wild. He was a man of contradictions. He despises young men of his generation who avoided the draft by any ...more
Jan 23, 2015 rated it liked it
Like many others stated before me, I was totally enmeshed in the story for the first half of the book. Bob's Vietnam experiences, terrible injuries, and developing angst over what the war in Vietnam really meant to those young people serving and those 'others' who avoided service was riveting. Then he began telling his 'work' story, which started out strong but finally ended up being an 'I did this, and I did that' saga over and over and over again. By the end of the book, I mostly didn't care w ...more
Nov 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir
Timberg's book begins with his time at the naval academy, then quickly moves to Vietnam, where he suffers incredible injuries two weeks before he's supposed to return home. He provides an unflinching narrative of his recovery, both physical and mental. The book delves into his career trajectory as a reporter and how he ultimately came to be the author of several highly regarded books. In my opinion, the book was a little light on the details of the close, personal relationships that comprise a p ...more
Jul 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
The first three-fourths of this book is excellent -- well-written with a fast pace. Timberg builds an air of suspense as we anticipate his severe injury and wonder how well he will recover. His struggle to create a new life has a strong emotional impact and the successes he achieves are very impressive. Towards the end of the book, his focus waivers and he emphasizes the politics of the Vietnam War, especially his anger towards those who opposed the war, rather than his personal experiences. Sti ...more
Jun 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a gripping account of how a badly injured combat vet worked to find his way in the civilian world. He doesn't pull any punches and he provides a lot of food for thought regarding society and the place of combat in the world.
Mike Clay
Oct 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A top journalist from the Baltimore Sun (and Evening Sun) writes an autobiographical account of his experience in Vietnam, his marriage and recovery, his experience as a journalist and with the Washington press corp covering Iran Contra and other events. An uplifting book and well recommended.
Aug 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Maybe my favorite book of the year: a true-life tale of both military and journalistic heroism.
raji sanjeev
Good book
Oct 05, 2015 added it
“Blue-Eyed Boy” is the story of a man who fought, fought like hell — first for survival, then for a life.
Jan 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
As the wife of a wounded Vietnam vet, all I can say is that this book moved me to tears. Those that didn't go to Vietnam should read this for sure.
Oct 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
All in all I found this memoir of a bad wounded Marine and his comeback from a terrible ordeal very interesting and well written.
Semper Fi, Timberg.
Beth Hines
An amazing memoir of a man who overcame great injury in Vietnam and became a distinguished journalist. This story is told with honesty and integrity, horror and humor.
Oct 10, 2014 rated it liked it
good book
Oct 16, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
First half 4 stars, second half 1 star
Oct 10, 2014 marked it as to-read
one of the good one's
Feb 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Aug 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
It talks about a career oriented guy!!Very interesting!!Thumbs up !!
Sep 20, 2014 rated it liked it
Really enjoyed the first 2/3 of the book but then it went downhill.
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