The Thomas Merton Autopsy that Wasn’t

Did the prominent monk, writer, social critic, and opponent of the American role in the Vietnam War, Thomas Merton, strangely succumb to a faulty fan while attending a monastic conference in Bangkok, Thailand?  That’s what Associated Press reporter, John T. Wheeler, reported with a dateline of Bangkok on the day of the death, December 10, 1968.  One can read that same characterization of the event even today on the web site of Merton’s home Abbey of Gethsemani, near Bardstown, Kentucky. Thailand was in the thick of the Vietnam War theater of operations at the time.  Some 80% of the air attacks on North Vietnam and virtually all of those on the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos originated there.  America’s…

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Finding David: An American Wife Betrayed by Her Government

Joseph Stalin supposedly once said, “The death of one man is a tragedy.  The death of millions is a statistic.” A great deal has been written about the shameless and utterly unforgivable abandonment of American POWs in the wake of the Vietnam War—although, thanks to the American news media, few people are aware of it—but, up to now, no writing that we are aware of quite captures the tragedy and, yes, the outrage of this cold and heartless policy so much as Carol Hrdlicka’s recent book, Finding David: An American Wife Betrayed by Her Government. The book is an autobiography, taking us to Carol’s early years growing up in the Mountain West, being swept off her feet as a 16…

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