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Like Richard Tregaskis' Vietnam Diary, this book is about the fighting instead of the war. Jim Lucas has been a Scripps-Howard reporter since World War II and he is a very good one. The winner of a Pulitzer and two Ernie Pyle Memorial awards, he covers the combat -- never mind the politics. For the first six months of 1964 he was the only correspondent with the troops in action in the Mekong Delta, and he was also the first allowed to fly with bombing missions into North Vietnam. In diary fashion, in terse, tough or sentimental vignettes, he depicts the daily details of camp life, patrols, reconnaissance, search and destroy operations. Soldiers are his business and his best friends; he asserts he knew ""90% of the officers and enlisted men south of the Bassac River by their first names."" He is eloquent on their routine heroism and the discomforts they must endure: the rain, the ""damnable, man-eating mud,"" the snakes and bugs. On the complications, the hidden factors that make this a ""new kind of war,"" he is mute. War's war as far as he is concerned and we're the Free World defending ""freedom of choice."" In this respect, for better or worse, Jim Lucas is still reporting on World War II.

Pub Date: Aug. 15th, 1966
Publisher: Crown- Universal