Dr. America: The Lives of Thomas A. Dooley, 1927-1961

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Univ of Massachusetts Press, 1998 - Biography & Autobiography - 336 pages

This book chronicles the life of Tom Dooley, the American doctor whose much-publicized exploits in Vietnam and Laos during the 1950s helped lay the ideological groundwork for the U.S. military intervention a decade later. The scion of an upper-middle-class St. Louis family, Dooley was an enormously complex and fascinating individual. He was a devoutly religious Roman Catholic as well as a self-styled playboy socialite, a devoted physician to the poor and a tireless propagandist for the "Vietnam Lobby," a shameless self-promoter and a closeted homosexual, a victim of Navy persecution and a beneficiary of CIA support. Dooley first gained notoriety as a young Navy doctor charged with overseeing the evacuation of Catholic refugees from North Vietnam in the wake of the 1954 Geneva Accords. His celebrity grew after his book Deliver Us from Evil, a fervently anticommunist account of his experiences, was serialized in Reader's Digest. By the end of the decade, as his name became associated (albeit mistakenly) with a ballad popularized by the Kingston Trio, he had achieved the status of "America's first pop star saint." In addition to exposing the roots of the Vietnam War, Dooley's story illuminates a broad range of developments in post-World War II United States culture -- from the "Americanization" of Catholicism to the rise of the mass media.


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - booksaplenty1949 - LibraryThing

A follow-up to a recent reading of Dooley's "Three Great Books." The background of The Ugly American is also discussed in some detail. A highly readable biography, contextualised with an analysis of ... Read full review

DR. AMERICA: The Lives of Thomas A. Dooley, 1927-1961

User Review  - Kirkus

An accomplished biography of an almost forgotten, but important, player in American Vietnam War policymaking in the mid- and late 1950s. A handful of Americans, most of them intelligence operatives ... Read full review

Selected pages


What Tommy Knew
The Storyteller on Ice in Haiphong
Deliver Us from Dooley
The Vietnam Lobby
A Madison Avenue Schweitzer
Jungle Doctor for a New Age
The Handsome American
This Is Your Life
Where Are the Serpents?
And miles to go

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Page 43 - Our government makes no sense unless it is founded in a deeply felt religious faith - and I don't care what it is," and isn't that a complete negation of any real religion?
Page 1 - Hang down your head Tom Dooley, Hang down your head and cry. Hang down your head Tom Dooley, Poor boy you're bound to die.

About the author (1998)

James T. Fisher is Danforth Chair in Humanities at Saint Louis University.

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