Nebraska Authors

John Stevens Berry

Born 1938 Sioux City, IA (USA)

A well known criminal defense attorney and founder of the Berry Law Firm in Lincoln, NE. Berry attended Stanford University, Infantry Officer School at Fort Benning, GA, and the Judge Advocate General School in Charlottesville, VA. During his service, in 1968 and 1969, Berry was the chief defense counsel for II Field Force Vietnam, the largest general court martial jurisdiction for American forces in Vietnam. He also served as defense counsel with the 101st Airborne, the 82nd Airborne, the 1st Infantry Division, the 1st Cavalry Division, and other units. His Vietnam memoir, Those Gallant Men, 1983, recounts his efforts to defend the commander of the Green Berets and some of his officers against murder and conspiracy charges. The book was a Military Book Club selection for the Book of the Month, and is considered an important historical document on the Green Berets trial. Berry has written prize winning poetry and was the lead author of a book on the use of forensic science in criminal cases.

From 1956-1960 Berry studied poetry with Yvor Winters and prose with Wallace Stegner at Stanford University.

Heritage Room collections include three versions of the typescript manuscript for In the House of Our Friends, 1983 and the proof edition of Those Gallant Men.


Places Lived

McCook, NE
Omaha, NE
Lincoln, NE
Onawa, IA
Palo Alto, CA
Chicago, IL
New York, NY

Author Of

  • Biography
  • Fiction
  • Nonfiction
  • Poetry


Poetry; Vietnamese Conflict; War Memoir; Legal History; Technical Legal Writing


New Mexico Military Institute
Stanford University, California
Northwestern University School of Law, Illinois
Infantry Officer School, Georgia
JAG School, Virginia


Trial Lawyer

Places Worked

Ft. Benning, Georgia
St. Leonard Wood, Missouri
Ft. Lewis, Washington
St. Riley, Kansas
Ft. Sheridan, Illinois
Ft. Ord, California
Presidio of San Francisco, California
II Field Force VIETNAM


John H. Ames Reading Series, Featured Reader, 19 May 1988 and 19 October 2014
Award from Academy of American Poets, 1958, 1959
Book of the Month, Military Book Club, 1984


Darkness of Snow. 1973.
Those Gallant Men: On Trial in Vietnam. 1984.
Inside the Minds: Forensic Science in Criminal Cases. 2011.
Twelfth Victim: The Innocence of Caril Fugate in the Starkweather Murder Rampage. 2014.
Foot Soldier: New and Selected Poems. 2023.

In October 2014, John Stevens Berry was one of the featured authors in the Ames Reading Series program, which can be viewed here:

May 1988 Ames Reading Series presentation:

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John Stevens Berry

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(e.g. Author is buried in Fremont, not in David City / Also wrote for the Daily Nebraskan during her time as a student)