Jane Fonda’s visit to Hanoi in July 1972 and her pro–North Vietnamese, anti–American conduct, especially her pose with an anti-aircraft gun used to shoot down American planes and her propaganda broadcasts directed toward American troops, angered many Americans. In their eyes, she was guilty of treason, but she was never charged by the American legal system. Instead, she has made millions, been the recipient of countless awards, and remained an honored American icon. This work investigates Fonda’s activities in North Vietnam and argues that she could have been indicted for treason, that there would have been enough evidence to take the case to a jury, that she could have been convicted, and that a conviction probably would have been upheld on appeal. It also considers Fonda’s early life and the effect it had on her behavior and beliefs in her later years, her audience of American POWs who were forced by the Vietnamese to listen to her broadcasts condemning them as war criminals, her arrival in Vietnam and how it was viewed by American servicemen and civilians, the crime of treason throughout history, and the only Congressional inquiry into her actions, which resulted in the government’s decision to take no legal action against her. Texts of Fonda’s radio broadcasts to American servicemen comprise the appendix. ... Read more
Customer Reviews (20)
Disgraceful shameless traitor
I was in Vietnam from March 1968 to March 1969, served my tour of duty and then moved on to a successful career, like most veterans. Of course I later heard about Jane Fonda's despicable words and actions but was busy and did not look into the details.
This book does a thorough job of informing you about how her pro-communist,anti-American propaganda directly hurt the American POW's from both a physical torture point of view when they would not validate her traitorous words, and also from a moral point of view, hearing a well known American condemn their service and sacrifices.
Her radical anti-war, anti-U.S servicmen, anti-American rants had a strong negative impact on the POW's already miserable existance when struggling to stay alive. And then when those who had survived came home, she actually called their recounts of torture lies!
A powerful highly informative book that highlights her disgraceful actions and many of her speeches and comments, in proving conclusively that she clearly should have been tried and convicted of treason-and sadly why the U.S. government pathetically capitulated. If you want to know the true story about this despicable unrepentant traitor, this is book to read.
As I saw it then...
My personal feelings at the time Ms Fonda was misbehaving in Viet Nam were that she was a spoiled rich kid making an over-zealous and stupid statement regarding her feelings about the war and the conservative 1950's mindset of the politicians who were running our country.She was used to not being heard by her father, whose approval she wanted so much, and did not think she would be heard or paid so much attention to.She was wrong, and she has apologized.She realized later she had done something stupid, she apologized.I think she would have risked her life for one of our boys then, and I think she would now.I think she is a good person.She made a mistake.Don't think she doesn't regret it.
Oct. 5, 2009
A year after writing the above comment I wanted to add a little.I am more than 10yrs younger than Ms Fonda, and was not really "present" when she was in Viet Nam.I was never a soldier.And I didn't read the book, so maybe I should remove this whole comment.I'm just giving one man's opinion of how the stupid things some of us did when we were too young, and perhaps insulated, to realize actions have consequences, we might not do now.The worst mistakes I made were in my 20's, I'm still paying 40 yrs later.Pray for mercy and forgiveness may be all that's left to do.
Strong case against Jane but questionable presentation
This book deals with Jane Fonda and her actions when she visited North Vietnam during the Vietnam War and in authors' sense of belief, gave aid and comfort to the enemy during the time of war. On this, I have utterly no doubt that Jane Fonda, one of our most infamous liberal nazis of Hollywoodland, is guility as she stand.
However, the presentation of the book is bit questionable because the authors appears to be too overzealous in their approach. Research although pretty good, appears to be bit one sided. Not to say that on certain things, they almost sounds outright racists. A good example would be on page 33 when they referred to the term "subhuman Asian communists". Indeed, if the Asian communists were "subhuman", then their behavior would be acceptable since they are not human anyway, right?? Second example, the authors' zealous to paint traitors got them looking in the case of Iva Toguri, and they got her on the crosshair right with Jane Fonda. Unfortuately for the authors, Toguri was actually pardoned by President Ford (first time ever for a case like this). Her trial was misfire of justice as perjury tainted her actions and supporting statements by American and Australian POWs who were aided by her went unnoticed by the court of that period as well as by the authors today. (It was also left out that most of broadcasts made by Toguri were written by American and Australian POWs). It doesn't helped the authors that most American high commands regards Toguri's broadcasts as more of a morale booster for American troops who enjoyed her music and meaningless bombastic statements. Putting Toguri case in this book reflects on one sided research and utter lack of understanding on the part of the authors.
So what is the point of all this? The authors put together a nice case against Jane Fonda but the text of this book is filled with overzealous errors. Most people who read this book like me, needs no convincing that Jane Fonda should be hung, drawn and quartered for she is an out right traitor to our nation. The authors I believed, should stick to that element since every traitor got a their own different story and Jane Fonda's story is unique by itself. There isn't enough impact story on her personally and why even today, Jane Fonda should not be let off the hook. I am not aware of any statue of limitation on treason!
Scholarly, Thorough Discussion of Treason
It is now more than 30 years since the last Americans left Saigon, and while most of the embers stoked in the 1960s have cooled, the visit by anti-war activist Jane Fonda to North Vietnam still inflames many.Given the temperature of the topic, any indictment of Fonda should be documented thoroughly and analyzed rigorously.The review of Fonda's activities should be divorced from any discussion of the merit of the war itself (or whether the United States was right to have been involved.)This book fits the bill on all counts.
Unsurprisingly, since one of the authors is a law professor emeritus, this book is written as a legal brief would be: the Holzers discuss the facts in detail; then explain the law; and finally apply the law to the facts."Aid and Comfort" starts with a discussion of Fonda's early life and her involvement as a young adult with left-leaning French friends of her then-husband Roger Vadim.None of this background is necessary for the indictment, as Fonda's motive in going to Vietnam is irrelevant -- what counts are her acts.Nonetheless, it is interesting, and provides a picture of a very insecure woman whose political opinions were formed and shaped by the men with whom she was involved.
The next chapter is a harrowing discussion of the treatment of American POWs by the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong.It is hard to read, but is necessary to demonstrate the effects that Fonda's words would have on these servicemen.After all, broadcasting propoganda aimed at destroying the spirit of those who were barely clinging to life is more serious than disseminating it to a well-fed population with other sources of news.(In either case, as the Holzers demonstrate, a charge of treason could be levied.)The authors then discuss Fonda's actual speeches (reproduced in full at the end of the book.)They make an eye-popping read.I was unaware, for example, that Fonda had falsely accused the POWs themselves of taking anti-war positions -- a charge which could only sap the strength and morale of these men when the broadcasts were later played to them.
The Holzers then devote two chapters to a detailed discussion of the law of treason.Although legal discussions sometimes can be dry for non-lawyers, the facts of the cases (including the prosecutions of "Axis Sally" and "Tokyo Rose") are interesting and the authors clearly explain the standards for treason.The book then demonstrates why there is enough evidence against Fonda to at least bring a case to a jury.That the government did not do so was due more to the politics of the time than any lack of proof.
Many believe that we should put the Vietnam War behind us and stop ripping scabs off festering wounds.This, in my opinion, is the wrong way to view it.As with Holocaust survivors, the POWs of Vietnam need some measure of justice, no matter how late it comes.While the US government will never actually prosecute Fonda, this book provides necessary healing by trying -- and convicting -- Fonda in the "moral" court.
It is not our job to forgive or not but it is our job never to forget
For some time, I have owned this book and would often think about reading it, even picking it up and toying with the idea of glancing through it before placing it back on the shelf opting for another book instead. I guess I was afraid that Erika and Henry Holzer might somehow tarnish my view of Jane Fonda- my pristine unveiled despising of Jane. I always liked my attitude in such matters.What if they told me things about her that I hadn't known were true or worse that I had thought I had known? Though it would be another testimonial to the mystique and unrest of the Vietnam War, I really did not want anymore knowledge of Jane in my head.
I broke down and read it recently and in fact my worst fears were true, but not in the way I expected. I did feel pangs of guilt as I read page after page. They did tell me things about Jane Fonda I had not known, though none improved my image of her. What the authors did do however, was give a very detailed accounting of the cloud surrounding Jane Fonda and her activities in the early 1970's, including trips to Vietnam and other foreign lands. I felt guilt because I had wasted so much time avoiding this book. It is a fine book. It is an incredible book actually. I found it to impressively detailed and well documented. As the scholars that they surely must be, they presented the information based on many sources that are easily verified. I cannot imagine the level of dedication and tenacity required of the authors in order for them to complete their work so thoroughly. I have read many books related to Jane Fonda and her exploits of the early 1970's and none are better. None are even close.
They presented information that was damning to say the least but were just as quick to give research that exonerated Ms. Fonda of acts that she has been accused of for years. Usually books that would seem more of a reference book than a memoir or fiction would bore me, even if they had useful information. To the contrary I was able to start from one cover and work to the other with little interruption. At the end, I was struck by the fact that this book was so well researched and written that it could also easily be used as a reference book.
Knowing what I know about the activities of some American citizens during the Vietnam War, I am quite grateful to authors/researchers such as Erika and Henry Holzer, for I credit them with great wisdom and fortitude themselves for being more objective than the person they chose to write about. I would think the authors would agree with my response to a friend not long ago who told me that Jane Fonda was vilified. "If Jane has been vilified, it has been by her own actions".The authors make clear at the conclusion of their book what they think of Jane Fonda and her actions during the Vietnam War and I completely and wholeheartedly agree and am not afraid to say so. I do not know what the authors think now with so much time that has passed both since the war and since the writing of their book. Perhaps they feel a slight pang now and then that there is a time to let things go, to forget or pretend at least that past wrongs, however vile never happened. I feel a slight pang now and then like that, but it is so small it is a little like gas, maybe it is gas. Because I know that the proof is in the pudding or the book as it were and the things Jane Fonda and her associates did were in fact treacherous and immoral and yes villainous. I recommend this book more highly than I ever recommended any book as a work for history to be truly known.
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