Gerald Nicosia, author of Home to War: A History of the Vietnam Veterans' Movement, here replies in detail to Michael Uhl's review of that book, which appeared in the July 9, 2001 issue of the magazine. Nicosia earlier rebutted Uhl in the more constricted space available in the September 17/24 "Letters" section.
Two months ago I complained about the irresponsible, ad hominem 4,000-word review by Michael Uhl of my book Home to War that appeared in The Nation. I submitted a response to the numerous misrepresentations and falsehoods that ran to about 2,000 words, and even so I was not able to deal with all of the vicious, unfair attacks and lies in the piece. I was told at first that I could only have 300 words to reply. I complained and was told I could have only 500 words; ditto, then 700 words. Finally I was given an absolute ceiling of 1,000 words.
I did my best to reply to the most egregious errors in those 1,000 words. Now, it turns out Uhl has been given yet another 1,500 words to throw even more lies at me and my book–and to reprint another bad review from a different publication. Not only is this dirty pool–giving him 6,000 words and me 1,000– but letting him print the substance of another bad review is totally unjust, since I was not allowed to print the substance of one of the dozens of rave reviews the book has received, in places such as the Boston Globe, Newsday, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Dallas Morning News.
In his first piece Uhl claimed I had conducted 100 interviews. Now he claims it's 211. My acknowledgements name 431 principle interviewees (page 669-671) and there were at least another 200 spoken to more casually. Would it be too much to ask The Nation to simply count names before letting Uhl make his wild claims? Even more outrageously, The Nation allows Uhl to print unsubstantiated and completely false, malevolent libel: that I had "an explosive urge to blow up" his house. Is Uhl now a mindreader? What evidence is there of this plot to blow up his house? In printing such vicious nonsense, The Nation has descended to the level of The National Inquirer, and should be ashamed of itself. What will you print next week, Uhl's assertion that I was involved in blowing up the World Trade Center?