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Vietnam: The Real War (2013)

by The Associated Press(Favorite Author)
4.55 of 5 Votes: 1
1419708643 (ISBN13: 9781419708640)
Harry N. Abrams Books
review 1: Excellent look at the Vietnam war through the eyes of numerous photographers who, under great danger, took pictures that are the images we remember today from that wasteful, useless war, which did so much harm to our country, and especially to Vietnam and Southeast Asia. However it's clear that the honest, unedited reporting and photography we got from the Vietnam War, due to censorship that threatens our democracy, is no longer available from current or more recent wars. The Vietnam War stopped when it did largely because of opposition to it in the United States, and it was still a very difficult war to get stopped. The history of the Vietnam War is a grim reminder that it's much easier to start or get involved in a war than it is to stop a war. We've been reminded of t... morehe same thing more recently with Iraq and Afghanistan. Unfortunately for our democracy, news censorship and "embedded' reporting which by definition is inaccurate reporting, promises to make future wars even more difficult to prevent and stop. This book is a grim reminder that even though our constitution promises freedom and democracy to all Americans, our leader don't hesitate to use military violence to destroy the freedom and democracy of the citizens of other countries.
review 2: First I'd like to thank GoodReads, The Associated Press and Pete Hamill for the first-reads copy of "Vietnam:The Real War" that I received from the GoodReads giveaway. I really, really wanted this book, as my uncle, who "served" as my Dad in the absence of my birth father, also served as a Marine in the Vietnam War for 6 years. I spent the past weekend riveted to this book, a brutally raw, honest and moving portrait of the reality of the Vietnam War. I've read many books and watched many documentaries about Vietnam over the years, always trying to understand more of the hows and whys of how my uncle's soul was forever scarred from his experiences. "Vietnam: The Real War" hit me like a ton of bricks - and helped me understand even more about my uncle. Pete Hamill's introduction is truly informative as well as deeply moving. When I reached the following 2 excerpts from his introduction, the floodgates opened and I sobbed like a baby - devastatingly for me, it is so very true. My uncle experienced this for years til his death at age 46. Massive heart attack. A result of a severely damaged heart due to heroin and alcohol use in Vietnam and for years to come. A severely damaged heart he knew about; yet still a deeply loving heart in spite of all he had seen and done. He knew he was living on borrowed time; yet never told a single living soul. I found his medical records after his death. This book tells and shows me why."All those who survived the Vietnam War would carry it, of course, throughout their lives. Most moved on. But all were marked by the experience, its horrors, its anguish, its unacceptable losses.""We all know someone who got over 'Nam, to watch children graduate from college, or the arrival of grandchildren, or an anniversary waltz after decades. And then something triggers memory. Aretha Franklin singing "Respect"; the sound of a helicopter in the sky; a TV commercial for a war film; or a photograph in a magazine in a dentist's office. And then the war suddenly returns in a rush. Full of fear. Screaming, Pain. Loss."This was before I even got to the heart of the book itself. Chapters full of the details of the history of the Vietnam War in words and most poignantly in the photographs that are all footnoted with names, dates and places. Photographs that are deeply moving, some award winning photos that we all have seen and know, and many others that complete a most gripping and accurate history of the war. Of all the books and documentaries I've read and watched, "Vietnam: The Real War" is one of the best. An extremely well balanced narrative told in words and pictures, it holds true to what my uncle shared with my Grandmother (his Mother), my Mom (his big sister) and I his first night back home, all night and into the next day - never to speak so long and raw about the war again. I know what shattered him most were the horrors inflicted on the children, as in one photograph in the book we all know, by Nick Ut, of the children running, severely injured by a napalm attack. Originally a printer by trade, eventually a professional photographer; my uncle took many stark pictures in Vietnam that I have. Add to that a large box of letters he wrote home; the most haunting of which were written over several weeks when he and his unit were trapped in foxholes surrounded by the Viet Cong; not knowing every second whether they were going to live or die. Heavy stuff, and this book captures the true story as it was told and shown to me most excellently. I've always felt that I could only imagine the tip of the iceberg of the reality of the Vietnam War, or any war for that matter. I am pretty much a pacifist by nature and don't condone war; but then again there is no black and white, yes or no decision to go to war. Do we stand by and watch human suffering or step in to help defend those who are defenseless? Do 2 wrongs make a right? Who am I to say? I will say that while I do not support the concept of war, I 100% respect and support all the men and women who choose to go for all the well meaning reasons, as my uncle did in Vietnam. Proud to serve our country, proud to try to defend those in dire need, proud to be a Marine. Those who quickly have their naive but well intentioned vision of war shattered. Then living with the ghosts and reality of war until death. I am also very grateful to all the photographers and journalists who risked their lives(some to lose them as the book tells of) to write the stories and take the pictures of the reality of Vietnam for this book.Another aspect that impresses me is how this book depicts respectfully the devastating losses to all sides, not just "our side". You can feel the loss of humanity on all sides in the photographs. You see a battleground with no "front line" as the book states: the jungles, mud, heat,napalm, rain, atrocity. Also, it includes information on the "true story" that didn't reach the public as it was happening; and the impact the lack of facts had on the opinions and feelings of Americans at home. I could write so much more in this review, but instead I highly recommend that readers interested in and/or touched by the Vietnam War obtain a copy of "Vietnam: The Real War" to add to their collection. It is definitely a book that I will read and peruse over and over. I plan on buying several more copies for family members who dearly loved my uncle, unconditionally; scars and all; as a tribute to his memory. Semper Fi; Raymond Robert Saksa, Jr.; Semper Fi. less
Reviews (see all)
Great history... The AP did a great job jamming the horror of war into these pages.
Fantastic pictures. Helped me see a window into my father's life he doesn't share.
A very interesting pictorial history of the Vietnam War.
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