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New book by SFSU alumnus explores the mystery of Bob Kerrey


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November 4, 2002

SFSU alumnus and ground-breaking journalist Gregory Vistica has just written a new book based on his uncovering of Democrat Bob Kerrey's involvement in a Vietnam massacre more than 30 years ago.

Publication of the book -- The Education of Lieutenant Kerrey -- by Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press comes a year after Vistica's New York Times Magazine story about the former U.S. Senator's Navy SEAL squad, and the deaths of nearly two dozen unarmed women and children during a mission he led during the Vietnam War.

"As the United States becomes involved in secret counter-terrorism missions around the world and prepares for war with Iraq, The Education of Lieutenant Kerrey is a cautionary tale about what happens when good men do bad things in combat and then have to live with it for the rest of their lives," said Vistica in an e-mail from his home in Maryland.

The book looks at Kerrey's life from his boyhood in Nebraska to his military training and Medal of Honor to his political rise as a self-made millionaire who became governor then U.S. Senator from Nebraska and his attempts at the Democratic nomination for president.

This is not the first book or big story for Vistica, who earned a bachelor's degree in international affairs from SFSU in 1987 and later did graduate work here in journalism and international affairs. In 1995 he wrote the highly acclaimed book Fall From Glory: The Men Who Sank the U.S. Navy, a narrative about the Navy's rise during the Reagan years and its fall during the early 1990s.

An investigative producer with 60 Minutes II and a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine, Vistica received the George Polk Award for national reporting for exposing the Tailhook sex-abuse scandal and the subsequent failure of the Navy to investigate itself. His reporting forced the Navy to initiate widespread investigations that led to historic changes in the military.

Since leaving SFSU the former Gater (now the Golden Gate [X]press) editor has been a journalist with the Memphis Commercial Appeal, the Sacramento Bee, the San Diego Union-Tribune and Newsweek. He has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and won numerous local and national awards for his investigative reporting.

For more information about Vistica's book, see his Web site.

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Last modified November 4, 2002, by the Office of Public Affairs