Jane Fonda’s War

A Political Biography of an Antiwar Icon

An antidote to the “Hanoi Jane” myth, the first account of the celebrated actress’s antiwar activism

“Jane Fonda is important because she is a celebrity, and unimportant because she is a celebrity. She is a revolutionary who happens to be an actress, and a movie star who happens to be a revolutionary.” —Rolling Stone, 1972

As the recent presidential campaign revealed, the Vietnam War remains a political lightning rod. In the 1980s, even as a Gallup poll listed Fonda as one of the most admired women in the country, “Hanoi Jane” had become a reviled figure among conservatives for her highly publicized trip to North Vietnam in 1972. Today, according to a recent poll, millions of Americans continue to link Fonda’s name to Vietnam—yet the true history of her antiwar work has been largely obscured.

One of the most popular movie actresses of the 1960s and 1970s, Fonda was also among the most committed and visible antiwar activists of the era. Coming on the heels of Jane Fonda’s own memoir, this is the first book to document one of the most interesting (and least known) chapters in Fonda’s life—including the first comprehensive account of her controversial trips to Hanoi, as well as her extensive efforts on behalf of American GIs.

Based on unprecedented access to Fonda’s twenty-foot-thick FBI files, interviews with the former POWs Fonda met with in Hanoi in 1972, and a broad range of contemporary press reports, Jane Fonda’s War is a fascinating and little-understood chapter in the extraordinary life of an American icon.

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Praise

“What’s important is that [Fonda’s] immersion in radical politics during the 1970s transcended the role traditionally assigned not just to celebrities but to women in general. Jane paved the way for the celebrity feminist activists of today, such as Oprah Winfrey, Eve Ensler, Rosie O’Donnell, and Susan Sarandon.”
—Gloria Steinem

Books by Mary Hershberger