Focus on Vietnam

Mostly peaceful snapshots of a war in progress in the 1960s.

A Vietnam veteran shares his store of images.

Burchik’s (Compass and Camera, 2014) new photography book is a sort of lush appendix to his debut work. In that volume, the author told the stories of his tour of war-ravaged Vietnam as a member of the 18th Infantry Brigade of the Army’s 1st Division. In this new book, he expands on that original story with a thick sheaf of photographs, all of them his own, all snapped during his own tour as a forward observer in 1968-69. There are many pages of village life in the south, with farmers “trying to survive in a dangerous environment.” The poses are often deceptively pacific: a peasant woman grazes her goats on a trail along a river; a small girl carries water buckets dangling from a bindle. “They seemed to make it a game,” he writes of local children rummaging through Army refuse, “as they scavenged to rescue valuable items among the things we discarded.” The section called “Weapons” features catalog-quality snaps of M-1s, M-29s, M-60s, and noncombat explosions. The section on air transport is extensive but by its nature limited: photos of airborne vehicles taken from the ground will inevitably include no contextualizing scenery. Among the most absorbing of the book’s 16 sections (they’re about six pages each) is the one devoted to servicemen fording one of the “four or five rivers each day” that many patrols were required to cross. No matter how long the reader looks, photos of Army troops conducting the everyday business of warfare—transporting arms, making phone calls, smoking on break—never quite seem less than absurd when those soldiers are simultaneously submerged up to their shoulders in muddy sluice. These are good quality snaps— several of professional grade, and well-reproduced—but their account of Burchik’s war is necessarily partial. He is not a professional journalist, and while it would have been derelict of him to photograph exchanges of gunfire or masses of casualties, without such incidents the details of the war readers are provided reflect a limited scope. America lost more than 58,000 young men and the Vietnamese lost more than 200,000. The handful of leg wounds in this collection fails to do that number justice. That said, readers already familiar with the war’s history, controversies, and body count will find much to interest and beguile them in this collection.

Mostly peaceful snapshots of a war in progress in the 1960s.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-692-78292-7

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Sharlin-K Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016



This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996




An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

Close Quickview