An American Adventure

From Early Aviation through Three Wars to the White House
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Published:November 15, 2010

A memoir of extraordinary scope, William Lloyd Stearman’s reminiscences will attract those interested in early aviation, World War II in the Pacific, life as a diplomat behind the Iron Curtain, the Vietnam War, and the ins and outs of national security decision-making in the White House. Stearman begins with a description of childhood as the son of aviation pioneer Lloyd Stearman. He then covers his naval combat experiences in the Pacific war and later struggles as one of the Navy’s youngest ship captains. Following graduate school, he moved to the front lines of the Cold War and writes about his life as a diplomat who negotiated with the Soviets, spent nine years in Berlin and Vienna, and was director of psychological operations in Vietnam. His reflections on seventeen years with the National Security Council at the White House are of special interest.

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Product Details
  • Hardback : 336 pages
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press (November 15, 2010)
  • ISBN-10: 1591148278
  • ISBN-13: 9781591148272
  • Product Dimensions: 6 X 9 in
  • Shipping Weight: 0 lb
  • “Flying enthusiasts and Stearman devotees will appreciate the first part of the book which provides insights that only someone who grew up in the Stearman household could supply…Fascinating tale.” — Aviation History
  • An American Adventure is a very informative, even entertaining work, offering much that historians of naval operations in the Second World War, Cold War historians, students of the Vietnam experience, and those interested in more recent foreign policy and national security studies will find of value. It offers a valuable “view from the trenches” perspective complementing (and counterpointing) other memoirs of notable Cold Warriors such as Paul H. Nitze’s From Hiroshima to Glasnost. One leaves this work thankful that its author took the time and effort to write it, and that others-particularly Dr. Stephen T. Hosmer of The RAND Corporation-encouraged his literary efforts, steering him to the Naval Institute Press (which is to be commended for publishing what is, overall, an unusually fine and fascinating book).” — Naval Historical Foundation
  • “Stearman has written a marvelous memoir of his time overseas and in the White House. His candid observations make for interesting reading, especially for those individuals wanting to pursue a career as a Foreign Service officer.” — Military Heritage
  • "A new volume will be added to the required reading lists of all high-quality history courses dealing with the twentieth century. Rarely does it happen that an author combines elegant prose and keen and discriminating intellect in drawing on a life of action, intrigue, diplomacy, policymaking, and reflection. Bill Stearman participated in nearly all of the momentous events from the 1930s to the twenty-first century, and obviously took good notes. With a novelist’s sense of drama and a historian’s rigor, he has given us a real page-turner full of insight and anecdote.” — John F. Lehman, 65th Secretary of the Navy
  • “Until now, anyone who wanted information on the man and machine turned to the three quasi-classics by Peter Bowers, Jim Avis/Martin Bowman and Ed Phillips. With the recent release of a memoir by William Stearman, Lloyd’s son, we have another valuable source.” –

William Lloyd Stearman was gunnery officer in WWII. He became a Foreign Service officer in 1950 and retired from the NSC at the White House in 1993. This is his second book. He lives in Bethesda, MD.

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