Praise for Zumwalt

“You can’t understand today’s Navy without acknowledging Bud Zumwalt’s role in modernizing its technology and renewing its soul. He believed deeply in a strong Navy worthy of our great nation, and that anyone who chose to serve in it was deserving of respect and dignity. Zumwalt is the story of a true American hero.”
–President Bill Clinton

“Larry Berman has produced a splendid biography of an extraordinary leader, Admiral Elmo “Bud” Zumwalt, who commanded U.S. naval forces in Vietnam and as Chief of Naval Operations dragged the Navy into the twentieth century. The chapter on Zumwalt’s war against the paranoiac secrecy of the Nixon White House is a gem of historical research and analysis.”
–George C. Herring, author of America’s Longest War: The United States and Vietnam, 1950-1975

“An engaging and highly readable portrait of one of the Navy’s truly transformative figures and arguably the most innovative and controversial CNOs of the Cold War era.”
–Ronald H. Spector, Professor of History and International Affairs, The George Washington University

“Admiral Bud Zumwalt was a visionary whose charismatic brand of leadership was grounded in an unflinching dedication to family and country coupled with a belief that barriers to equality and progress have no place in America. This volume is rich with insights and moving details from countless individuals who were touched and inspired by his integrity and courage.”
–Thurgood Marshall, Jr.

“Zumwalt was an iconic figure for generations of sailors who served under his command or who were motivated by his example. His dedication to his country and the US Navy was a model for those who want to serve. For me, Adm. Zumwalt was a charismatic officer whose leadership inspired my own service. Larry Berman’s book will help those who never knew Adm. Zumwalt understand his role in building the world’s most advanced Navy.”
Adm. Mike Mullen, 17th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Zumwalt may be Larry Berman’s best book on Vietnam. Exhaustively researched, beautifully written, here is the war through the prism of one of America’s greatest officers. I loved it and learned from it. Read it.”
–Marvin Kalb, Edward R. Murrow Professor Emeritus at Harvard and co-author of Haunting Legacy: Vietnam and the American Presidency from Ford to Obama.

“Bud Zumwalt was a fearless leader. He was also a fascinating, thoughtful and brilliant sailor. I learned a lot about leadership from him over the years – so will you when you read Zumwalt.”
–Donna E. Shalala

In an age when transparency defeats most images of heroes, the life of Bud Zumwalt makes heroism real and believable.”
–Philip Lader, former U.S. Ambassador to the Court of St. James’s

“Painstakingly researched and crafted, Larry Berman’s Zumwalt is a compelling and rich portrait of one of the nation’s great patriots, Admiral Elmo “Bud” Zumwalt Jr., the youngest Chief of Naval Operations in American history and a towering leader who, against great odds, reformed the Navy. Readers cannot help but be moved by Zumwalt’s vision, integrity and courage. He led an institution into the modern era, ensuring that sailors, male and female and of every race, would know the dignity they deserved.”
Walter Anderson, former chairman, CEO and publisher of Parade Publications and editor of Parade Magazine.

“It is the breadth of his contributions to the cause of freedom that makes the story of Bud Zumwalt’s life so unusual. On one hand, he truly revitalized the Navy by measures regarding respect for the rights of enlisted men and to stamp out discrimination based on race and also on gender. On the other hand, he played a key role in maintaining U.S. military strength against the Soviet threat, the policy that led to an end to the Cold War. And his personal intercession helped bring about the U.S. resupply which saved Israel in the 1973 war. It is thus a manifold story, well recounted by Larry Berman.”
–Richard Schifter, former Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs.

About Zumwalt

Admiral Elmo Russell Zumwalt, the charismatic Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) and “the Navy’s most popular leader since WWII” (Time) was a man who embodied honor, courage, and commitment to those under his command. In a naval career spanning forty years, he rose to the top echelon of the US Navy, as a commander of all Navy forces in Vietnam and then as CNO (1970-1974). His tenure came at a time of scandal and tumult, from the Soviet’s challenge to U.S. naval supremacy and a duplicitous endgame in Vietnam to Watergate and an admirals’ spy ring.

Unlike many other senior naval officers, Zumwalt successfully enacted radical change, including the integration of the most racist branch of the military—an achievement that made him the target of bitter personal recriminations. His fight to modernize a technologically obsolete fleet pitted him against such formidable adversaries as Henry Kissinger and Hyman Rickover. Ultimately, Zumwalt created a more egalitarian Navy as well as a smaller and modernized fleet better prepared to cope with a changing world—a policy that has helped keep the navy a modern and relevant fighting force.

But Zumwalt’s professional success was marred by personal loss, including the unwitting role he played in his son’s death from Agent Orange. Retiring from the service in 1974, Zumwalt spearheaded a citizen education and mobilization effort to successfully help others in securing reparations for thousands of Vietnam veterans and their children. That activism earned him the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, awarded by Bill Clinton in 1998. Today, his tombstone at the U.S. Naval Academy is inscribed with one word: Reformer. Admiring yet even-handed, Larry Berman’s moving biography reminds us what leadership is and pays tribute to a man whose life reflected the best of America itself.