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Once upon a Distant War: Young War Correspondent and the Early Vietnam Battles
     

Once upon a Distant War: Young War Correspondent and the Early Vietnam Battles

by William Prochnau
 
An enthralling, character-rich account of how a small group of young war correspondents—including the legendary David Halberstam, Neil Sheehan, and Mal Browne—came to Vietnam in the early '60s, and changed the nature of the war, the media, the country—and themselves. of photos.

Overview

An enthralling, character-rich account of how a small group of young war correspondents—including the legendary David Halberstam, Neil Sheehan, and Mal Browne—came to Vietnam in the early '60s, and changed the nature of the war, the media, the country—and themselves. of photos.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Another Vietnam War book? Yes, and a good one. By concentrating on early battles covered by a brilliant corps of young U.S. war correspondents, Prochnau, former Washington Post national correspondent, provides a clear, new perspective of the tragedy of Vietnam-both militarily and diplomatically. His documentation is superb as he tells of the frustrations of the New York Times's David Halberstam, the Associated Press's Malcolm Browne, United Press International's Neil Sheehan, and others as they were continually lied to by U.S. officials and then villified as traitors. Then, too, there was the colorful presence of the crusty veteran war correspondent, Homer Bigart. It was, Prochnau says, "the beginning of the end of the golden age of print." Television would dominate later war coverage. Highly recommended for all collections.-Chet Hagan, Berks Cty. P.L. System, Pa.
School Library Journal
YAIn the early `60s, before satellite communication, print media was preeminent and a handful of print correspondents held unusual influence over the coverage of the emerging Vietnam story. It was the last time, according to Prochnau, that such a small group of journalists would wield such influence. This book, then, is the story of those young journalists and how they shaped America's knowledge of what was happening in this distant and unknown part of the world. "In the beginning, it was such a nice little war," Prochnau explains. Vietnam was exotic and beautiful, and the war did little to intrude upon the pleasant life that these mostly inexperienced reporters enjoyed. But as the U.S. involvement grew, and as the Kennedy and Johnson administrations attempted to conceal this involvement from the American people, an adversarial relationship grew between American authorities in Saigon and the press corps stationed there. This was the beginning of what came to be known as the "credibility gap" between what was reported and what the government said. This account will be interesting and valuable to those wishing to better understand the role and influence of a free press in American society.Herbert Y. Schandler, Industrial College of the Armed Forces, Washington, D.C.
Gilbert Taylor
Out of the Vietnam quagmire occasionally rise fine books like this, a worthy companion to classics like Halberstam's "The Best and the Brightest" or Sheehan's "A Bright Shining Lie". Those reporters peopled their angry epics with arrogant or flawed heroes; Prochnau turns the tables and peels back what drove the reporters and a dozen competing colleagues when they were in Vietnam. The time frame is 196163. The weird Ngo family rules Saigon, a sultry stew of palace intrigue and VC spies. There Kennedy decides to make a cold war stand, and where the American flag is planted, sure to follow are America's major, pre-TV-age press outlets: AP, UPI, "Time", and the " New York Times". Enter the Young Turks, then ambitious no-names who rapidly soured on the party line that the war was going just fine. The antagonism solidified after a firefight that Sheehan made the centerpiece of his saga, and Prochnau has replicated here: the Ap Bac fiasco in January 1963, which body-counting brass claimed as a victory--belied by a year deteriorating toward the death of Diem. A tactile, absorbing account of a story destined for shame, as worked by journalists destined for fame

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780812926330
Publisher:
Crown Publishing Group
Publication date:
11/07/1995
Pages:
546
Product dimensions:
6.52(w) x 9.60(h) x 1.75(d)

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