Academic journal article Military Review

The Nightingale's Song

Academic journal article Military Review

The Nightingale's Song

Article excerpt

THE NIGHTINGALE'S SONG by

Robert Timberg. 544 pages. Simon & Schuster, New York. 1995. $27.50.

This fascinating book has more than just one story to tell. Basically, the book is about five US Naval Academy graduates who served in the Navy, Marine Corps or government offices from the 1950s to the 1980s. They include Admiral John Poindexter and Arizona Senator John McCain-class of 1958, former National Security Adviser Robert McFarlane-class of 1959, Marine Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North and Secretary of the Navy James Webbclass of 1968.

The book's title is a metaphor for the period reviewed. Robert Timberg, himself an Annapolis graduate, listened to Barbara Feldon give a speech in 1966 at a Labor Department symposium when she was the Screen Actors' Guild president. "Did you know," Feldon asked, "that a nightingale will never sing its song if it doesn't hear it first? If it hears robins and wrens, it will never croak a note. But the moment it hears any part of a nightingale song, it bursts into extraordinary music, sophisticated, elaborate music, as though it had known it all the time."

In this book, President Ronald Reagan is the nightingale, and these five men are waiting to hear his song. …

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