James Webb biography

Author Biography  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

James Webb

James Webb

James Webb Biography

Jim Webb, former Senator from Virginia, has been a combat Marine, a counsel in the Congress, an assistant secretary of defense and Secretary of the Navy, an Emmy-award winning journalist, a film-maker, and the author of nine books.

Webb is descended principally from the Scots-Irish settlers who came to this country from Northern Ireland in the 18th century and became pioneers in the Virginia mountains.

Both sides of Webb's family have a strong citizen-soldier military tradition that predates the Revolutionary War. Webb's father was a career Air Force officer who flew B-17s and B-29s during World War Two, cargo planes during the Berlin Airlift, and was a pioneer in the United States missile program.

While in the Senate, Webb was selected to deliver the response to the President's State of the Union address in 2007, and served on the Foreign Relations, Armed Services, Veterans Affairs, and the Joint Economic Committees. He wrote, introduced, and guided to passage the Post-9.11 GI Bill, the most significant veterans' legislation since World War II, and co-authored legislation which exposed 60 billion dollars of waste, fraud and abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan wartime-support contracts.

A long-time advocate of fixing America's broken criminal justice system, Webb was spotlighted in The Atlantic as one of the world's "Brave Thinkers" for tackling prison reform and possessing "two things vanishingly rare in Congress: a conscience and a spine."

Having widely traveled in Asia for decades, as Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee's Asia – Pacific Subcommittee Webb was a leading voice in calling for the United States to re-engage in East Asia, meeting frequently with key national leaders throughout the region. In 2009, he led an historic visit to Burma, becoming the first American leader to visit that country in ten years, and opening up the dialogue that resulted in the re-establishment of relations between the two countries.

Webb graduated from the Naval Academy in 1968, receiving a special commendation for his leadership contributions. First in his class of 243 at the Marine Corps Officer's Basic School, he served as a rifle platoon and company commander in Vietnam and was awarded the Navy Cross, the Silver Star Medal, two Bronze Star Medals, and two Purple Hearts. He graduated from the Georgetown University Law Center in 1975.

Webb served in Congress as counsel to the House Committee on Veterans Affairs from 1977 to 1981. In 1982 he led the fight to include an African American soldier in the Vietnam Veterans memorial on the National Mall. In 1984 he was appointed Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs, and in 1987 became Secretary of the Navy.

He was a Fall 1992 Fellow at Harvard's Institute of Politics.

In addition to his public service, Webb has enjoyed a varied career as a writer. He taught literature at the Naval Academy. Traveling widely as a journalist, he received an Emmy Award for his PBS coverage of the U.S. Marines in Beirut in 1983, and in 2004 was embedded with the U.S. military in Afghanistan.

A screenwriter and producer, his original story "Rules of Engagement" held the top slot in U.S. box offices for two weeks in April 2000. Webb has written nine books, including Born Fighting, a sweeping history of the Scots – Irish culture, and Fields of Fire, widely recognized as the classic novel of the Vietnam War.

Webb has six children and lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, Hong Le Webb. He speaks Vietnamese and has done extensive pro bono work with the Vietnamese community dating from the late 1970s.

James Webb's website

This bio was last updated on 12/28/2017. We try to keep BookBrowse's biographies both up to date and accurate, but with many thousands of lives to keep track of it's a tough task. So, please help us - if the information about this author is out of date or inaccurate, and you know of a more complete source, please let us know. Authors and publishers: If you wish to make changes to a bio, send the complete biography as you would like it displayed so that we can replace the old with the new.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Books by this Author

Books by James Webb at BookBrowse
Lost Soldiers jacket
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for James Webb but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Tom Bissell

    Tom Bissell

    Tom Bissell is the author of Chasing the Sea, God Lives in St. Petersburg, The Father of All Things, Why Video Games Matter, Magic Hours: Essays On Creators and Creation (2012) and Apostle: Travels Among the Tombs of the ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Lost Soldiers

    Try:
    The Father of All Things
    by Tom Bissell

  • Nelson DeMille

    Nelson DeMille

    Nelson Richard DeMille was born in New York City on August 23, 1943 to Huron and Antonia (Panzera) DeMille. He moved as a child with his family to Long Island.

    DeMille spent three years at Hofstra University, then joined the ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Lost Soldiers

    Try:
    Up Country
    by Nelson DeMille

We recommend 6 similar authors

View all 6 Readalikes

Non-members can see 2 results. Become a member
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Pianist from Syria
    The Pianist from Syria
    by Aeham Ahmad
    Aeham Ahmad became famous as the face of Syrian suffering when a photo of him playing piano in the ...
  • Book Jacket: The Smiling Man
    The Smiling Man
    by Joseph Knox
    Joseph Knox's latest turns on a simple premise: an unidentified and unidentifiable murdered man is ...
  • Book Jacket: The Heavens
    The Heavens
    by Sandra Newman
    I've been a big fan of Sandra Newman's writing ever since reading her 2014 novel The Country of Ice ...
  • Book Jacket: Sugar Run
    Sugar Run
    by Mesha Maren
    Mesha Maren's debut novel is a plunge into the depths of the dark Southern gothic with pulsing and ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Last Year of the War
    by Susan Meissner

    A little-known story of WWII with great resonance for our times.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    A People's History of Heaven
    by Mathangi Subramanian

    A story of love and friendship, and fighting for the places we love.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club
Book Jacket
Girls Burn Brighter
by Shobha Rao

An extraordinary and heart-rending tale of two girls with all the odds against them.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Book Club Giveaway!
Win The Summer Country

Win up to 12 copies to share with friends or your book club!

A sweeping epic of lost love, lies, jealousy, and rebellion set in colonial Barbados.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

D T T! Full S A!

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.