Reporting Vietnam: American Journalism 1959-1975 (Library of America)


A unique collection captures a dramatic and controversial war and the brilliant generation of American journalists who reported it.

This one-volume selection, drawn from the original newspaper and magazine reports and contemporary books collected in the acclaimed two-volume hardcover edition, brings together the work of over fifty remarkable writers to create a powerful mosaic view of America's longest war. Reporting Vietnam follows events ...
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A unique collection captures a dramatic and controversial war and the brilliant generation of American journalists who reported it.

This one-volume selection, drawn from the original newspaper and magazine reports and contemporary books collected in the acclaimed two-volume hardcover edition, brings together the work of over fifty remarkable writers to create a powerful mosaic view of America's longest war. Reporting Vietnam follows events from the first American fatalities in 1959 through the Tet Offensive in 1968 to the fall of Saigon in 1975, recording the shifting course of the fighting, its impact on an increasingly fractured America, and the changing texture of American journalism.

Here are Homer Bigart, David Halberstam, Stanley Karnow, and Neil Sheehan on South Vietnam in the 1960s; Thomas Johnson and Wallace Terry examining the changing attitudes of black soldiers; Sydney Schanberg on the fall of Phnom Penh; Philip Caputo on the last days of South Vietnam. Included as well are Norman Mailer at the March on the Pentagon, Doris Kearns on Lyndon Johnson's anguished decision-making, and James Michener's meticulous reconstruction of the Kent State shooting.

The volume includes a detailed chronology of the war, historical maps, biographical profiles of the journalists, notes, a glossary of military terms, and an index.

"Not simply a riveting collection of first-rate writing about the war, Reporting Vietnam is also an epic retelling of an American tragedy." --The Oregonian

"This splendid collection testifies to the courage, endurance and swallowed anger of an extraordinarily brave group of writers who, by sharing the agony, earned their rights to report it." --John Le Carre
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Editorial Reviews

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The Barnes & Noble Review
If there's one clear lesson the U.S. military learned from Vietnam, it was "Never again." Never again let the media run around the theater of war reporting whatever they wanted from wherever they wanted. It was a lesson the Pentagon acted on in the Gulf War, severely limiting media access. It was also a lesson hard learned.

As was happening on college campuses, concert stages, and at political rallies across the country, journalism underwent a revolution in the '60s and early '70s. Though led by patrician families that were firmly entrenched in the political and cultural elite of the nation, newspapers and magazines were being written by young reporters who came of age with Elvis, the Beatles, and the Civil Rights Movement. All previous generations of journalists had accepted that an American war was a good war. The Vietnam press corps held no such belief.

Reporting Vietnam collects the best writing and reportage from the war into two volumes of gripping, painful reading. Part one covers the war from 1959 to 1969 — from the first American deaths to the bloody battle of Hamburger Hill. Along the way, reporters fan out to uncover the military blunders, the political minefields, and the cultural changes spreading from America to Vietnam: from the Tet Offensive to the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, from a violent Christmas in Saigon to Black power in the U.S. forces.

The two volumes compile the works of the best and boldest writers who covered the war: David Halberstam, Russell Baker, Stanley Karnow, Peter Arnett, Walter Cronkite, Wallace Terry,SydneySchanberg, Neil Sheehan, Gloria Emerson, Philip Caputo, and Michael Herr, to name just some of the over 80 writers whose work appears in the collection.

Part two, covering 1969 through 1975, begins with My Lai and ends with the fall of Saigon and the evacuation of the U.S. embassy. This was the war at its most chaotic, its most lawless, its most tragic. Concluding this volume, and summarizing the complete experience of reporting on Vietnam, is Michael Herr's Dispatches, a stunning book-length memoir of his experience of the war.

Reporting Vietnam is a valuable collection of primary source narratives from reporters in the field. As a collection, it is also a comprehensive document of the pain America went through in Vietnam.

— Greg Sewell

Tom Engelhardt
Reading Reporting Vietnam is an addictive experience.... No body of journalism since has made such use of the vivid image.... .There are also discoveries or rediscoveries to be made.... For all its bulk, this collection represents a kind of tunnel vision: the war as never-ending story, more and more of the same.
Tom Engelhardt
Reading Reporting Vietnam is an addictive experience.... No body of journalism since has made such use of the vivid image.... .There are also discoveries or rediscoveries to be made.... For all its bulk, this collection represents a kind of tunnel vision: the war as never-ending story, more and more of the same. -- The Nation
Thomas Powers
The sad truth that confronts the serious reader at the end of 1,500 pages...we lost....Mostly...the war in Reporting Vietnam...[is] the war that kids had been drafted to fight for 12-month tours of duty...and the war that newspaper correspondents visited in the field....What [Reporting Vietnam delivers] is a sense of what the war was like, and why so many people feel about it the way they do. -- The New York Times Book Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781883011901
  • Publisher: Library of America
  • Publication date: 6/28/2000
  • Series: Library of America Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 830
  • Sales rank: 627,268
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.38 (h) x 1.43 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction by Ward Just - Foreword by Milton J. Bates

Foreword Introduction

Time: Death at Intermission Time
First U.S. Advisers Killed in South Vietnam: July 1959

Malcolm W. Browne: Paddy War
Guerrilla War in the Mekong Delta: December 1961

Homer Bigart: A "Very Real War' in Vietnam—and the Deep U.S. Commitment
Increasing American Involvement: February 1962

Bernard B. Fall: Master of the Red Jab
Interview with Ho Chi Minh: July 1962

Malcolm W. Browne: "He Was Sitting in the Center of a Column of Flame"
Suicide in Saigon: June 1963

Stanley Karnow: The Fall of the House of Ngo Dinh
Overthrow of Diem: November 1963

David Halberstam: "They Can Win a War If Someone Shows Them How"
Profile of John Paul Vann: 1962-1964

U.S. News and World Report: "We Are Losing, Morale Is Bad... If They'd Give Us Good Planes..."
A Pilot's Letters Home: November 1963-March 1964

Meg Greenfield: After the Washington Teach-In
Controversy Over the War Intensifies: May 1965

Don Moser: Eight Dedicated Men Marked for Death
Struggle for Loc Dien: Summer 1965

Bernard B. Fall: Vietnam Blitz: A Report on the Impersonal War
American Buildup: September 1965

Specialist 4/C Jack P. Smith: Death in the Ia Drang Valley
"Men All Around Me Were Screaming": November 1965

Henry F. Graff: Teach-In on Vietnam By...The President, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense and the Under Secretary of State
The Administration Defends Its Policies: February 1966

Ward S. Just: Reconnaissance
Combat in the Central Highlands: June 1966

Neil Sheehan: Not a Dove, But No Longer a Hawk
Veteran Reporter Reassesses the War: October 1966

Bernard B. Fall: "Unrepentant, Unyielding": An Interview with Viet Cong Prisoners
U.S. Offensive in the Iron Triangle: January 1967

Jonathan Randal: U.S. Marines Seize 3d Hill in Vietnam After 12-Day Push
Khe Sanh Hill Fights: May 1967

Jonathan Schell: from The Military Half: An Account of the Destruction in Quang Ngai and Quang Tin
Southern I Corps: August 1967

Michael J. Arlen: A Day in the Life
A TV Crew at Con Thien: September 1967

Norman Mailer: from The Armies of the Night
The March on the Pentagon: Otober 1967

Peter Arnett: Hill 875
Battle of Dak To: November 1967

Tom Wolfe: The Truest Sport: Jousting with Sam and Charlie
Air War Over North Vietnam: December 1967

Don Oberdorfer: from Tet!
The Viet Cong in Hue: January-February 1968

Michael Herr: from Dispatches: "Hell Sucks"
Hue: February 1968

John T. Wheeler: Life in the V Ring
Khe Sanh Under Siege: February 1968

Mary McCarthy: Hanoi—March 1968
An American in North Vietnam: March-April 1968

Thomas A. Johnson: The U.S. Negro in Vietnam
Black Servicemen and the War: 1968

Kevin Buckley: A Small Contribution
Firefight Near Loc Ninh: October 1968

Zalin Grant: "We Lived for a Time Like Dogs"
American POWs in a Jungle Camp: July 1968-January 1969

Jeffrey Blankfort: Our Town: The War Comes Home to Beallsville, Ohio
A Small Town Mourns Its Dead: Spring 1969

Wallace Terry: Black Power in Viet Nam
Racial Tensions in the Military: September 1969

Peter R. Kann: A Long, Leisurely Drive Through Mekong Delta Tells Much of the War
Pacification and Vietnamization: November 1969

Seymour M. Hersh: The My Lai Massacre
An Atrocity Is Uncovered: Noember 1969

T.D. Allman: Massacre at Takeo
Cambodia: April 1970

James A. Michener: from Kent State: What Happened and Why
Kent, Ohio: May 1970

Stewart Alsop: The American Class System
Fairness and the Draft

John Saar: You Can't Just Hand Out Orders
An Army of Reluctant Draftees: October 1970

Doris Kearns: from Who Was Lyndon Baines Johnson?
LBJ Remembers Vietnam: 1970

John E. Woodruff: The Meo of Laos
The Hmong: February 1971

Gloria Emerson: Copters Return from Laos with the Dead
"A small despairing scene": February 1971

Gloria Emerson: Spirit of Saigon's Army Shaken in Laos
"They all became dust": March 1971

Karl Fleming: The Homecoming of Chris Mead
A Veteran Returns: March 1971

Donald Kirk: Who Wants To Be the Last American Killed in Vietnam?
Troop Withdrawals and Morale: August 1971

Tom Buckley: Portrait of an Aging Despot
A Visit with General Loan: 1971

Robert Shaplen: We Have Always Survived
Life in Saigon: Spring 1972

John Saar: Report from the Inferno
The North Vietnamese Offensive: April 1972

Peter Braestrup: The South Vietnamese Army
Commanders and Soldiers: July 1972

Joseph Kraft: Letter from Hanoi
"We have been fighting eleven centuries": July 1972

Hunter S. Thompson: from Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72
Protests at the Republican Convention, Miami: August 1972

Fox Butterfield: Who Was This Enemy?
Writings by North Vietnamese Soldiers: 1973

Arnold R. Isaacs: War Lingers in Hamlets as Cease-Fire Hour Passes
After the Cease-Fire: January 1973

John S. McCain III: How the POWs Fought Back
A Navy Pilot in North Vietnam: October 1967-March 1973

Sydney H. Schanberg: Bomb Error Leaves Havoc in Neak Luong
War in Cambodia: August 1973

Donald Kirk: "I watched them saw him 3 days"
A Khmer Rouge Execution: July 1974

Paul Vogle: A Flight Into Hell
The Fall of Danang: March 1975

Le Kim Dinh: For Those Who Flee, Life Is "Hell on Earth"
Refugees at Cam Ranh Bay: April 1975

Sydney H. Schanberg: The Fall of Phnom Penh
Cambodia: April-May 1975

Philip Caputo: "Running Again—the Last Retreat"
Refugees on "the street without joy": April 1975

Keyes Beech: We Clawed for Our Lives!
A Reporter Flees Saigon: April 1975

Bob Tamarkin: Diary of S. Viet's Last Hours
The Evacuation Ends: April 1975

Malcolm W. Browne: Tenderness, Hatred and Grief Mark Saigon's Last Days
"Vietnam's black fate": May 1975

Maps Chronology, 1940-1995
Biographical Notes Note on the Texts Notes Glossary of Military Terms Index

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 14, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    I Now Want to Read the Original Volumes

    The anthology represents a fine cross-section of reporting on the Vietnam War during the long history of American involvement. These are important documents. Reading them with critical and comprehensive studies or histories of various intervals during the 26 year era will add depth to both sources. I highly recommend this inexpensive resource for several reasons including simply the quality of the writing. I would appreciate an anthology of writing about the arrogant elites like Dean Rusk who instigated the madness.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2005

    the best book on vietnam out there

    This book gives a great account of Vietnam because all the different political views and aspects are represented in it. This book encompasses nearly everything of importance in the Vietnam era with concise detail. The different writing styles and points of view make it easy to read, unlike massive tomes by one author that become repetitive and very one-sided. I have read stanley karnow's monumental history of Vietnam, and Halberstam's 'the best and the brightest', yet they left me wanting more. Here in this book, you can still sample karnow and halberstam's writing while indulging in the works of several others,and immerse yourself in the tragic history of the vietnam war. A great read for history buffs, hard to put down.

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