John Kerry's Haunted Heart

A month or so ago, when John Kerry was dead, the Atlantic Monthly ran a stunning excerpt from historian Douglas Brinkley's book about Kerry's military service in Vietnam--stunning not so much for the events depicted but for the excerpts from Kerry's letters and diaries, which were as moving, candid and powerful as the best Vietnam War writing. Skeptics will say that Kerry, who seems to have had an exaggerated sense of destiny since the sandbox, was writing for posterity even then. Perhaps, but the words reveal a young lieutenant of uncommon grace and intelligence.

At one point, Kerry watched a Vietnamese...

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