Lost Over Laos: A True Story Of Tragedy, Mystery, And Friendship

Lost Over Laos: A True Story Of Tragedy, Mystery, And Friendship

by Richard Pyle, Horst Faas

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"Deeply moving...an excellent short history of an important part of the Vietnam War...a fascinating insider's look at the rugged life of civilian photographers during wartime."-Publishers WeeklySee more details below


"Deeply moving...an excellent short history of an important part of the Vietnam War...a fascinating insider's look at the rugged life of civilian photographers during wartime."-Publishers Weekly

Editorial Reviews

Metrowest Daily News
A tale of dedication and camaraderie that blends the era with the men...a front-line view through a camera lens.
Associated Press
A sad, often poignant memoir that speaks to the hold Vietnam has on virtually everyone who's been there.
Rocky Mountain News
You can't come away without having a greater appreciation for journalists who risk much to bring us the truth.
USA Today
The ending is not as conclusive as Hollywood would make it, but it fulfills a pledge Pyle made to "go to that place, walk on that mountain, taste the thick jungle heat … address any spirits that might exist and say to them, 'I am here. We are here. We have come to tell you that you are remembered, and well.' " — Bob Minzesheimer
As history, it has much to recommend it...as a personal account the book truly excels...a very moving account.
Publishers Weekly
This deeply moving and personal recollection of the lives and work of the only four combat journalists killed during the 1971 U.S. invasion of Laos is an excellent short history of an important part of the Vietnam War as well as a fascinating insiders' look at the rugged life of civilian photographers during wartime. Former Saigon bureau chief Pyle (Schwarzkopf: The Man, the Mission, the Triumph) and Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Faas (Requiem: By the Photographers Who Died in Vietnam and Indochina) worked together for the Associated Press in Vietnam and were close friends with the men who died, which adds depth to their biographies: Larry Burrows, whose famous work for Life magazine made his name "the most closely identified with pictures of armed conflict in Indochina;" the Vietnamese-born Henri Huet, whose work earned the Overseas Press Club's Robert Capa Award; the passionate young Kent Potter, who threatened the United Press International "to resign if forced to leave the war zone;" and Keisaburo Shimamoto, a seasoned Vietnam correspondent with the "high-powered" French agency Gamma who had just returned for his third tour of Vietnam as a freelancer. Pyle provides an excellent look at the history of North Vietnam's use of Laos for its Ho Chi Minh Trail to arm its soldiers in South Vietnam, and he shows how its success provoked President Nixon's invasion of both Laos and Cambodia. Most moving is Pyle's account of how he and Faas returned to Laos 27 years later to search for-and successfully find-the wreckage of the dead journalists' helicopter, along with some of their personal and photographic effects, a journey that becomes a tribute to every journalist who covered the Vietnam War. (Mar.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Combat photography is a dangerous business, as this book shows. At its heart is a helicopter crash on February 10, 1971, during the invasion of Laos by the South Vietnamese. Among those killed were four veteran photographers (Larry Burrows, Henri Huet, Kent Potter, and Keisaburo Shimamoto), but the bodies and the wreckage were never recovered from mountainous territory held by the Communists. Pyle and Faas work for the Associated Press, covered the Vietnam War together, knew the victims, and vowed to find out what happened to them. Their book recounts the adventurous histories of the four photojournalists, what it was like working in the madhouse of Indochina at war, and the fatal flight and its aftermath. After a long bureaucratic struggle, an American-Laotian recovery mission systematically excavated the site in 1998. Anthropological and forensic research at the site is detailed here, and the entire text is of course accompanied by memorable pictures. Part personal quest, part investigative reporting, and part military history, this work is suitable for all photography and Vietnam War collections. (Foreword by David Halberstam and index not seen.)-Daniel K. Blewett, Coll. of DuPage Lib., Glen Ellyn, IL Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Associated Press reporter Pyle and photographer Faas reopen a forgotten incident of the Vietnam War: the 1971 disappearance of four colleagues somewhere over Laos. Of the 2,583 Americans officially listed as missing in action at the end of the conflict, four were journalists. Not included in the Pentagon's original count, because they died in a helicopter crash in the Laotian jungle beyond the range of admitted US operations, were four respected photographers: Life correspondent Larry Burrows, whose startling image of a wounded medic tending to another wounded soldier helped move public opinion further against the war; AP legend Henri Huet, a French war junkie characterized by an American field officer as "the bravest man I ever saw"; UPI's Kent Potter; and Newsweek's Keisaburo Shimamoto. In 1998, working with Pentagon forensic specialists, Pyle and Faas mounted a campaign to discover the crash site and recover the men's remains. Much of this well-written, heavily illustrated book documents that effort, but it is much more than a you-are-there travelogue. Pyle wisely uses the occasion to address the combat correspondents' devil-may-care ethos in a time before the military controlled the flow of information from battlefield to outside world. Along the way he offers behind-the-scenes views of such famous battles as the siege of Hu� and Hamburger Hill (whose name was a journalist's invention) and pays honor to his comrades, some forgotten, some now famous. He also rightly celebrates his accomplishment with Faas in eventually locating the place where their colleagues had died-a rare instance of contemporary journalism, he writes, that did not rely on "managed events and prepackagedinformation." A solid addition to the shelf of books about the Vietnam War, worthy of being placed next to Faas's own Requiem (1997) and the Library of America anthology Reporting Vietnam (1998).

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Da Capo Press
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