Skip to content

Fall from Glory: The Men Who Sank the U.S. Navy

Select Format

Select Condition ThriftBooks Help Icon


Format: Hardcover

Condition: Very Good

Save $22.71!
List Price $27.50

3 Available

Book Overview

A common political belief is that increased defense spending means increased defense, and this book puts the lie to it. Through extensive reporting and documentary research (which included fighting... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

4 ratings


I remember when I started flight school in the Navy. I knew little about the politics of the Department, and was a big fan of John Lehman. I grew to despise him over the years. He never earned his Naval Flight Officer's Wings. He is the only citizen that I know of who was ever authorized to wear such an insignia and joy ride in the right seat of an A-6. His vision for a 600 ship Navy, and the information provived to Congress to get it, was based on lies. John Lehman ultimately weakened the United States. As a result of John Lehman, tens of billions were spent on worthless weapons systems. We are still paying for it. Vistica's book is right on target. In the 1980s, the U.S. Navy was an authority unto itself. Its real mission had little to do with national security, but rather advancing its own selfish interests. Our leaders were a bunch of gutless, and spineless self promoters who would stab their mothers in the back rather than take personal responsibility for their disasters.

Complete and Balanced

I've read numerous articles by Gregory L. Vistica in the newspaper and in Newsweek Magazine, and am always impressed by the quality of his research and reporting. His writings on military matters are free from political bias and personal agenda.I read "Fall From Glory" particularly for its coverage of conditions in the gender-integrated Navy. Vistica presents a very balanced view of the Tailhook Scandal, beginning with the circumstances which led up to it. The Navy had overlooked gross sexual misconduct for many years -- from Subic Bay's "hostitutes" for servicemen to "Tomcat Follies" and convention "TailHookers" for male aviators. It was inevitable that such a permissive atmosphere culminated in the drunken debauchery and assaults at Tailhook 91. Perhaps the real tragedy of Tailhook was that careers were destroyed over conduct which had been condoned and even encouraged in the past. (Nor does Vistica place the entire blame on male officers and command. Many female Naval attendees participated in the revelry with equal licentiousness.) Ironically, the Navy's attempted coverup in the aftermath of Tailhook provided the impetus for the long overdue promotion of female aviators to the Fleet. Vistica relates the struggle of those aviators to overcome military sexism and media sensationalism over the fatal crash of a pioneer F-14 aviatrix. While acknowledging deficiencies in the accelerated training of that pilot, Vistica reveals a Navy policy of keeping "an inordinate number of mediocre and poor male pilots, many of whom are less qualified than [she] was... The Navy never released the details of accidents in which inferior male pilots killed themselves and others while flying... They were allowed to keep flying despite serious deficiencies because of the 'good old boy network' that is still so prevalent in naval aviation."But "Fall From Glory" contains much more than just information relevent to women in the Navy. The book details the abuses of power of the Navy's top Admirals and Secretary Lehman during the Reagan Administrations. How they manipulated the President and misled Congress into appropriating billions of dollars -- for an unecessary fleet buildup to counter a greatly-exaggerated threat from the Soviet navy -- is the real eye-opener. From Lehman's scheming and Reagan's astonishing gullibility, to Clinton's wishy-washy compromises on gays in the Navy, Vistica's thorough documentation leaves no sacred ox ungored. This will not endear his book to liberal or right-wing readers seeking validation of their political agendae. But it is a book which should be read by everyone who really cares about the US Navy and is concerned about its fall from its former glory.

An honest no-holds-barred account of power abuse

Vistica's FALL FROM GLORY (1996) chronicles power abusesurrounding the US Navy from the Reagan era to the Clinton presidencyin a swift moving narrative fashion. What had begun as an attempt to gain the largest share of pie in the vicious defense bureaucratic infighting under the secretaryship of shrewd naval aviator-wannabe, John Francis Lehman Jr., prompted the coverup of corruption, the corrosive intra- and inter-service rivalry, the defective weapon systems as result of flawed procurement, repeated leadership failures, the sexual abuse perpetrated by the sailors and the promotion of political agendas pursued by the lawmakers. In the end, the "house built on deck of cards" fell apart like a sputtering engine. Though the Navy had its share of tough, honest and capable leaders, they ultimately alone could not restore the former glory that it had once enjoyed. These leaders were often swept under the current of endemic political correctness, and the rotten system controlled by the fraternity of "untouchable" admirals who were contemptuous of the regulations. The Navy, unable to support the enormous financial burden of the "Six Hundred Ship Navy", found itself on its ass. Still, the Navy hobbled along on its crutches for quite some time, finding excuses to defend its hollow structure, thanks to the agendas promoted by the Congressional-Military-Industrial Complex. Perhaps the everlasting impact under the leadership of the Airdale-wannabe Lehman was the conditioning of the flag officers into silence, for agreeing to the personal agenda of the Secretary and the lawmakers was understood to be the ultimate display of loyalty and the key leading to "bigger things". The admirals hunkered down in their plush Pentagon E-ring offices and flagships to escape the merciless indiscriminate hatchet of the lawmakers as they witnessed their beloved fleet sinking. More often than not, they shifted blames on their men by creating scapegoats when things blew up on their screen. The slow painful death of the once-mighty and glorious fleet began with the disgraceful suicide of its leader, and a searing indictment of the Navy's failure by a former Secretary of the Navy, James Webb in his famous 1996 speech at the Naval Academy. In this swift, moving, no-holds-barred narrative account of power abuse and corruption, Gregory Vistica exposes to the reader the lies perpatuated by the public servants to justify the raison d'etre of their "sacred pork," and its corrosive impact on the service branch they sought to glorify. Worth noting in this book is the superb quality of its writing style: absorbing, moving, and mesmerizing. A class of its own.

Makes me glad I went the MBA route rather than the military

I completely disagreed with the 1st reviewers' opinions. I suspect they're probably in the military. The book describes the occurences that caused people of my generation to have little respect for the military. It makes me furious that taxpayers paid for immature pilots to go on yearly boondoggles in Las Vegas so they could be criminals. The book is very readable & names names: the political appointees (Lehman especially), the admirals, etc. It would be justice for Al Dunlap to be appointed Secretary of the Navy & let him clean house.
Copyright © 2023 Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Do Not Sell My Personal Information | Cookie Preferences | Accessibility Statement
ThriftBooks® and the ThriftBooks® logo are registered trademarks of Thrift Books Global, LLC
GoDaddy Verified and Secured