BOOKS . . . THE NIGHTINGALE'S SONG

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What is a hero?Captain Scott O'Gradyhad the grace to blush when America welcomed him home from six days of scavenging in Bosnia with the kind of publicity once lavished upon Douglas MacArthur. Navy pilot John McCain, on the other hand, survived nearly six brutal years in Viet Cong captivity and once spat in the faces of startled Vietnamese dignitaries. McCain, now the senior Senator from Arizona, is one of five notable or notorious Annapolis graduates and Vietnam veterans whose interbraided destinies make up Robert Timberg's "The Nightingale's Song" (Simon & Schuster; 543 pages; $27.50), a story thatTIME's Lance Morrowfinds a "tough and fascinating study of war, heroism, politics and the American psyche at a profound cultural divide."
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