A solid addition to the shelf of books about the Vietnam War, worthy of being placed next to Faas’s own Requiem (1997) and...



Associated Press reporter Pyle and photographer Faas reopen a forgotten incident of the Vietnam War: the 1971 disappearance of four colleagues somewhere over Laos.

Of the 2,583 Americans officially listed as missing in action at the end of the conflict, four were journalists. Not included in the Pentagon’s original count, because they died in a helicopter crash in the Laotian jungle beyond the range of admitted US operations, were four respected photographers: Life correspondent Larry Burrows, whose startling image of a wounded medic tending to another wounded soldier helped move public opinion further against the war; AP legend Henri Huet, a French war junkie characterized by an American field officer as “the bravest man I ever saw”; UPI’s Kent Potter; and Newsweek’s Keisaburo Shimamoto. In 1998, working with Pentagon forensic specialists, Pyle and Faas mounted a campaign to discover the crash site and recover the men’s remains. Much of this well-written, heavily illustrated book documents that effort, but it is much more than a you-are-there travelogue. Pyle wisely uses the occasion to address the combat correspondents’ devil-may-care ethos in a time before the military controlled the flow of information from battlefield to outside world. Along the way he offers behind-the-scenes views of such famous battles as the siege of Hué and Hamburger Hill (whose name was a journalist’s invention) and pays honor to his comrades, some forgotten, some now famous. He also rightly celebrates his accomplishment with Faas in eventually locating the place where their colleagues had died—a rare instance of contemporary journalism, he writes, that did not rely on “managed events and prepackaged information.”

A solid addition to the shelf of books about the Vietnam War, worthy of being placed next to Faas’s own Requiem (1997) and the Library of America anthology Reporting Vietnam (1998).

Pub Date: March 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-306-81196-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Da Capo

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2002

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Bernstein and Woodward, the two Washington Post journalists who broke the Big Story, tell how they did it by old fashioned seat-of-the-pants reporting — in other words, lots of intuition and a thick stack of phone numbers. They've saved a few scoops for the occasion, the biggest being the name of their early inside source, the "sacrificial lamb" H**h Sl**n. But Washingtonians who talked will be most surprised by the admission that their rumored contacts in the FBI and elsewhere never existed; many who were telephoned for "confirmation" were revealing more than they realized. The real drama, and there's plenty of it, lies in the private-eye tactics employed by Bernstein and Woodward (they refer to themselves in the third person, strictly on a last name basis). The centerpiece of their own covert operation was an unnamed high government source they call Deep Throat, with whom Woodward arranged secret meetings by positioning the potted palm on his balcony and through codes scribbled in his morning newspaper. Woodward's wee hours meetings with Deep Throat in an underground parking garage are sheer cinema: we can just see Robert Redford (it has to be Robert Redford) watching warily for muggers and stubbing out endless cigarettes while Deep Throat spills the inside dope about the plumbers. Then too, they amass enough seamy detail to fascinate even the most avid Watergate wallower — what a drunken and abusive Mitchell threatened to do to Post publisher Katherine Graham's tit, and more on the Segretti connection — including the activities of a USC campus political group known as the Ratfuckers whose former members served as a recruiting pool for the Nixon White House. As the scandal goes public and out of their hands Bernstein and Woodward seem as stunned as the rest of us at where their search for the "head ratfucker" has led. You have to agree with what their City Editor Barry Sussman realized way back in the beginning — "We've never had a story like this. Just never."

Pub Date: June 18, 1974

ISBN: 0671894412

Page Count: 372

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1974

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