The Vietnam War was the most controversial conflict ever entered into by the United States. Military and press photographers, camera-wielding soldiers, and civilians all took the opportunity to record the harrowing events of the 1960s and early '70s. NAM: A Photographic History features the images and stories that document this tumultuous era, revealing sides of the war never seen before and shedding new light on this decades-old conflict. With its wealth of unforgettable images, this truly comprehensive book provides an unrivaled- and unflinching- overview of the Vietnam War.
* Features more than 700 full-color and black-and-white photographs from a variety of sources, many of which are seen here for the first time.
* Every major theater of conflict is covered extensively, from Laos to Hanoi, from the Tet Offensive and Lam Son 719 to the Battle of Long Tan and Operation Homecoming
* Informative, indexed commentary provides historical grounding and summarizes the complex events of the period
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Ray Bonds's The Vietnam War: The Illustrated History of the Conflict in Southeast Asia (Salamander Books) sets the bar very high for photojournalistic collections on the war. Coauthors Daugherty (Fighting Techniques of a U.S. Marine: 1941-1945), a military history professor at the online American Military University, and Mattson (The Pacific War: Campaigns of World War II), with a Ph.D. from the University of Southern Mississippi, are outclassed by the competition. The book begins with "The Background," followed by one chapter per year for 1965-1975 and ends with a final section on the "Aftermath." Major scenes of fighting and bombing are dutifully described, without particular insight, including Laos, Hanoi, the Tet Offensive and Long Tan. Unattractively designed, the book contains over 700 color and b&w photos, a number of which are fuzzy, including an aggressively cropped version of one of the Vietnam War's most notorious images, the Pulitzer Prize-winning AP wire photo of a South Vietnamese general executing a Vietcong officer in Saigon. An equally fuzzy image of Robert F. Kennedy after he was shot in 1968 bears a caption that observes, among other things: "His killing was claimed to be a protest against the U.S. support for Israel." Most of the images are scenic, with a minimum of explicit gore and such gore as there is looks fake because of the poor color reproduction. The particularly outdated "Aftermath" section informs us that the failure of America's involvement in the Vietnam war made "bold foreign policy moves a thing of the past," which may be news to the current U.S. Department of Defense. Although the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C., is shown in two photos (inadequately), its architect, Maya Lin, is not appreciably credited. The historical maelstrom of Vietnam deserves better.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.From Library Journal:
Daugherty, a military historian and former editor of the Marine Corps Gazette, and Mattson (The Campaigns of World War II: The Pacific War) open their discussion of the Vietnam conflict with a chapter on its origins at the beginning of World War II. The next ten chapters then deal year by year with America's ten-year formal involvement in Vietnam, considering the tactics used and the implications on the home front. Hundreds of photographs and illustrations complement each chapter, but while this is essentially a photographic history, the authors have written an excellent narrative of America's longest conflict. The result sets the standard for illustrated histories of the Vietnam War. Recommended for all libraries. Page, a veteran photographer with UPI who was wounded several times in Vietnam, is the author of several books on the conflict there, including Tim Page's Nam. His current effort is not a history but instead presents the work of North Vietnamese photographers. The images included here were often used for propaganda purposes, so the reader must look for the real story. A narrative accompanying each photograph gives background on the photographer. Since the North Vietnamese photographers often worked under primitive conditions, most of the photographs are black and white. Still, the book breaks new ground by presenting the images (most never before published) of a former antagonist. This book will interest subject specialists but will have limited appeal in public libraries. Mark Ellis, Albany State Univ., GA
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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