Ben Suc was a tranquil, comfortably well-off farming village thirty miles from Saigon liberated by the Vietcong in late 1964 where they inaugurated organizations, held meetings and promised protection. However it became an objective of American Operation Cedar Falls, to reduce resistance in the area and clean out every vestigial V.C. influence. Mr. Schell was one of six newsmen (the book appeared, in its entirety, in The New Yorker) who witnessed this particular phase of the war in Vietnam as the Americans established a hospital for the casualties they had created (sometimes gratuitously), launched the interminable interrogations (often pressurized) to separate the V.C. from the people, then evacuated the village they eventually burned to the ground. This then is primarily the story of their relocation in a compound where the natives of Ben Suc were given three meals a day, a movie at night, and a few hours of ""Psy-war"" but nothing to do; where a once serene and happy people took on the ""passive, dull-eyed waiting expression of the uprooted""; where not only their livelihood (baby chickens liberated--running down the tracks of the bulldozers) but their raison d'etre was gutted as they were freed and/or imprisoned in a nugatory existence.... An isolated incident which epitomizes, humanizes and extends far beyond its immediate range--an eloquently understated documentary in precise and relevant terms.