WAR NEWS: A Young Reporter in Indochina by Robert Sam Anson
Kirkus Star

WAR NEWS: A Young Reporter in Indochina

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A gripping account of the Indochina war, written with immense power and disarming candor by a former correspondent for Time. Anson (Best Intentions: The Education and Killing of Edmund Perry; Exile: The Unquiet Oblivion of Richard M. Nixon) captures not only the sights and sounds of Vietnamese and Cambodian battles, but also the surreal atmosphere that prevailed in Saigon and Phnom Penh during the conflict. He is equally adept at delineating the rivalries and mutual support, the high jinks and heroism that characterized the press corps assigned to the area. During the time he spent in Indochina, Anson's antiwar stance was viewed with suspicion by his hawkish superiors at Time. Many of his reports failed to appear in the pages of the magazine, a source of anger and frustration for a young reporter with a driving ambition to make a name for himself. Here, as elsewhere, the author neatly balances objective reporting with subjective reactions; the result is a work that is multilayered and resonant. The most engrossing pages recount Anson's experiences when he was captured by members of the Viet Cong and held for several weeks. Ironically, it was his antiwar stance, a source of irritation for his New York editors, that eventually resulted in his release. The text is dotted with memorable scenes: inspecting the site of the My Lai massacre; evacuating the survivors of yet another bloodbath at Takeo; an interview years after the war in which Anson's Vietnamese friend and coworker reveals himself to have been an agent of North Vietnam. Written with great style and suspense, deserving to be read by anyone interested in the behind-the-scenes events of America's most controversial war.

Pub Date: Aug. 21st, 1989
Publisher: Simon & Schuster