The rough-and-tumble life of Special Forces vet and Sixties pop star Barry Sadler The top Billboard Hot 100 single of 1966 wasn t Paint It Black or Yellow Submarine --it was The Ballad of the Green Berets, a hyper-patriotic tribute to the men of the Special Forces by Vietnam vet Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler. But Sadler s clean-cut, all-American image hid a darker side, a Hunter Thompson-esque life of booze, girls, and guns. Unable to score another hit song, he wrote articles for Soldier of Fortune and pulp novels that made Rambo look like a stroll through Disneyland. He killed a lover s ex-boyfriend in Tennessee. Settling in Central America, Sadler ran guns, allegedly trained guerrillas, provided medical care to residents, and caroused at his villa. In 1988 he was shot in the head by a robber on the streets of Guatemala and died a year later. This life-and-times biography of an American character recounts the sensational details of Sadler s life vividly but soberly, setting his meteoric rise and tragic fall against the big picture of American society and culture during and after the Vietnam War."
Ballad of the Green Beret: The Life and Wars of Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler from the Vietnam War and Pop Stardom to Murder and an Unsolved, Violent Death by Marc Leepson