The Cat from Hue / Edition 1

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Overview

John Laurence covered the Vietnam war for CBS News from 1965 to 1970 and was judged by his colleagues to be the best television reporter of the war. His documentary about a squad of U.S. troops, "The World of Charlie Company," received every major award for broadcast journalism. Despite the professional acclaim, however, the traumatic stories Laurence covered became a personal burden that he carried long after the war was over.

In this evocative, unflinching memoir, laced with humor, anger, love, and the unforgettable story of Méo, the Vietnamese cat, Laurence recalls coming of age during the war years as a journalist and as a man. Along the way, he clarifies the murky history of the war and the role that journalists played in altering its course.

The Cat from Hué has earned passionate acclaim from many of the most renowned journalists and writers about the war, as well as from military officers and war veterans, book reviewers, and readers. Now available in trade paperback with a new epilogue, this book will stand with Michael Herr's Dispatches, Philip Caputo's A Rumor of War, and Neil Sheehan's A Bright, Shining Lie as one of the best books ever written about Vietnam-and about war generally.

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Editorial Reviews

Naval Institute Proceedings
Magnificent.…John Laurence has made an indispensable contribution to the literature on the Vietnam War....This book offers the reader narratives of combat as gripping as that of the best novels on the war.
Boston Globe
A gritty account that in its close-up portrayal of men confronting war is as timeless as accounts from Homer to Ernie Pyle.
Foreign Affairs
What stands out in this book is his plain, fair, and sympathetic observation of recognizably real Americans of every rank and the everyday detail that accumulates into the experience of war.
Walter Cronkite
Those of us who, with virtually unstinted admiration, followed Jack Laurence's seemingly fearless reporting from Vietnam, have waited thirty years for this book. He does not disappoint. It is a classic of war reporting.
Naval Institute Proceedings
Magnificent....John Laurence has made an indispensable contribution to the literature on the Vietnam War....This book offers the reader narratives of combat as gripping as that of the best novels on the war.
David Halberstam
A kind of modern era Red Badge of Courage--a coming-of-age as a young man against a background of sheer terror.
Foreign Affairs
What stands out in this book is his plain, fair, and sympathetic observation f recognizably real Americans of every rank and the everyday detail that accumulates into the experience of war.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781586481605
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs
  • Publication date: 12/17/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 864
  • Sales rank: 627,743
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Meet the Author

John Laurence's coverage of the Vietnam War for CBS News received the George Polk memorial award for "best reporting in any medium requiring exceptional courage and enterprise abroad." His other experiences as a journalist include covering the Chicago 7 trial in 1969 and the Reagan presidential campaign in 1979-80. Laurence was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, and has lived in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles. He now lives in England.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2011

    Simply The Best

    May well be the greatest non-fiction war story I have ever read. An absolute page-turner. If you are interested in the history and events of any war start with this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2009

    Cat is lucky

    I found the book to be abosrbing and it takes me back to days when I was in the service and reminds me of the what that way of life used to be. I keep going back and remembering my days as as I was reading this story. Never had read a book from a reporters point of veiw.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2006

    Vietnam: a war that wouldn't go away

    John Laurence covers in great details his experience as a reporter during the Vietnam War, mainly from 1965-1970. His prose is highly readable. It was difficult for me to put the book down once I started, and I ended up carrying the heavy hard bound volume reading bit and pieces wherever I went until it was all done. Being myself familiar with Saigon up to December 1969, I can attest to the fact that his description of the city, its people and the impact of the American presence were pretty accurate. His narratives of battlefield activities are absolutely enthralling and the reader can help feeling being there with him during the heat of action. If anything, the amount of details is almost to a fault. One clearly has the impression that John Laurence not only wanted to write about his life then, to convey his feelings and thoughts about this tragic war, but he clearly needed to write for therapeutic purpose, a catharsis as he mentioned it at one point toward the end. The US soldiers, the NVA, the VC were all portrayed more or less as heroes, fearless fighters. Others may not be so happy reading the book, especially certain members of the US government and military establishment, and their South Vietnamese counterparts. His views of the latter and of the Vietnamese in general could be superficial. After all, he was only 20+ young man raised in the comfort of the US of A, and by his own admission drenched in alcohol, grass and Valium when he was there to cover the American side of the story. Paul Mus and Frances Fitzgerald¿s work comes to mind if you want a better understanding of the Vietnamese mentality of the period. If anything, The Cat from Hue re-emphasizes the senseless nature of war and tragic failures of leadership. The Hanoi regime fought so hard, sacrificed so much to win in 1975, only to send its prime minister, 31 years later, to Wall Street to ring the opening bell at the NY Stock Exchange. So, who won that war exactly? Considering our current situation in Iraq and the Middle East in general, did we learn anything from the Vietnam War? In short, The Cat from Hue is an outstanding book written by a distinguished reporter, highly recommended to all. A+

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 14, 2012

    Fantastic Account of Journalism in Vietnam

    What a page turner -- I am right now about in the middle of this HUGE book.....and have to keep reading a little at a time. His poetic descriptions help put you there - help you to gain more insight as to the feelings of the soldiers, reporters, vietnamese....And mostly, it helps you to be there in the war, through the reporter's eyes. What an awesome read....

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