Archive for the 'Journalism' Category

A. J. Langguth, 1933-2014

A. J. “Jack”  Langguth, who covered the Vietnam War for The New York Times and who went on to have a long career as an author and journalism professor at the University of Southern California, died on September 1 in Los Angeles. The author of—among many other books—the award-winning Our Vietnam: The War, 1954-1975, was 81 years old.

“Unable to set Vietnam aside, Langguth spent seven years researching and writing Our Vietnam: The War 1954-1975 (2000), which won acclaim for telling the Vietnamese side of the story as well as it did the American side, through solid analysis, mastery of detail and deft portraits of pivotal figures, including Defense Secretary Robert McNamara and South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem,” his Los Angeles Times obituary noted.

“The book does not develop new arguments or explicitly address the many war issues that still divide Americans,” historian George C. Herring wrote in his 2000 review . “Its strengths, rather, are in its skillful retelling of a well-known story, and in the way it captures the many dimensions of the war.”

Here’s our review of the book, from the October/November 2000 issue of The VVA Veteran:

Making History Come Alive: Jack Langguth’s Readable Our Vietnam

There have been readable narrative histories of the American war in Vietnam. There have been exhaustively researched histories of that war, combining material from original interviews, archival sources, and the best secondary sources. Now comes A.J. “Jack” Langguth’s Our Vietnam: The War, 1954-1975 (Simon & Schuster, 794 pp., $35), a history of the Vietnam War that is both compulsively readable and thoroughly researched.

Langguth, the former New York Times correspondent who teaches journalism at the University of Southern California, focuses on American policy-making in Washington, particularly during the Johnson administration. But he also includes fascinating material on concurrent planning by our Vietnamese allies and by the Vietnamese communists.

Langguth tells his story chronologically; he offers no surprises. But Langguth does bring something new to the table: insights into some of the war’s most pivotal events gleaned from interviews with lesser known but consequential American and Vietnamese eyewitnesses. That group includes William Kohlmann of the CIA; Viet Cong Lt. Ta Minh Kham; Foreign Service Officer Paul Kattenburg; North Vietnamese Army Col. Ta Minh Kham; Nguyen Dinh Tu, a one-time South Vietnamese newspaper reporter; and Jack Smith, the veteran ABC-TV News reporter who fought with the U.S. First Cavalry Division at the 1965 Battle of the Ia Drang.

Langguth also interviewed well-known pivotal players and mined the best primary and secondary accounts. With an eye for the telling anecdote, Langguth uses dozens of individual stories to create this personality-driven saga. The result is a long, compelling narrative. The book is short on analysis, but sets out the politically charged policy-making story of the Vietnam War in a complete and seamless manner.

Posted on September 2nd 2014 in Book News, History, In the Classroom, Journalism, Obituaries

Jay Maeder, 1947-2014

Jay Edward Maeder, Jr., the newspaper columnist and editor and comic strip writer, died of cancer July 29 at age 67. He wrote the “Jay Maeder’s People” column for The Miami Herald and later was city desk editor and columnist for The New York Daily News.

Maeder, who served in the U.S. Army, including a tour of duty in the Vietnam War, also was the last writer for the comic strip (Little Orphan) “Annie,” from 2000-2010. He was the author of Dick Tracy: The Official Biography.

“Mr. Maeder and the artist Andrew Pepoy updated Annie’s red dress and curly hair and added the pilot and former C.I.A. agent Amelia Santiago, but kept the catchphrase ‘Leapin’ Lizards!’” Daniel Slotnick wrote in The New York Times obituary. ”‘I tell people it’s ‘Indiana Jones’ with chicks,’he told The News.”

Posted on July 31st 2014 in Comic Books, Journalism, Obituaries

Malcolm Browne, 1931-2012

Malcolm W. Browne, the former Associated Press and New York Times Vietnam War correspondent best known for taking a much-reproduced 1963 photograph of a Buddhist monk immolating himself  on the streets of Saigon, died August 27 at age 81 of complications of Parkinson’s disease.

Browne was drafted into the Army in 1956 and served in Korea where—among other things—he wrote for Stars and Stripes. After his discharge, the young Army veteran went to work for the Associated Press. He landed in Vietnam in 1961 as the A.P.’s bureau chief in Saigon.

In Saigon in 1963, as his New York Times obituary puts it, “When a Buddhist monk set himself on fire in public that year in protest of the government of South Vietnam, Mr. Browne was the only reporter there, and he captured the stunning moment in a photograph. Several papers, including The Times, chose not to run the disturbing image, but [U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Henry Cabot] Lodge told him he had seen a copy of it on President John F. Kennedy’s desk.”

In 1964, Brown, still working for the Associated Press, received the Pulitzer Prize for his Vietnam War reporting; he shared that award that  year with another young Vietnam War correspondent, David Halberstam, who was writing for The New York Times.

After moving to The Times himself, Browne went back to Vietnam for a second tour as a war correspondent. His autobiography, Muddy Boots and Red Socks, concentrates on his military service in Korea and his reporting in Vietnam.

Posted on August 29th 2012 in Journalism, Obituaries

Iver Peterson, 1942-2012

Iver Peterson, a retired New York Times reporter and former Vietnam War correspondent,  died August 1 following treatment for acute myelogenic leukemia. He was 70 years old.

After graduating from Harvard in 1964, Peterson went to work for The Times as a clerk for the famed correspondent James B. “Scotty” Reston in the Washington, D.C., bureau. Peterson then left journalism to work for U.S. AID in Vietnam. He returned to The Times in the war zone to cover the fighting.

He “was one of a generation of young reporters who earned distinction as war correspondents in Vietnam,” Daniel E. Slotnik wrote in his NYT obituary. “Besides his dispatches from combat zones, Mr. Peterson wrote of an American dump scavenged by two Vietnamese villages near Danang; drug use by American soldiers; and the practice by Cambodian soldiers of wearing amulets to ward off bullets.”

 

Posted on August 16th 2012 in Journalism, Obituaries

Bill Granger, 1941-2012

 

The acclaimed journalist and novelist Bill Granger died April 22 at the Manteno Veterans Home in Illinois. Granger, 70, who served in the U.S. Army from 1963-65, died of heart failure.

Granger  was born in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisc., and grew up on Chicago’s South Side. He graduated from DePaul University with a BA in English in 1963, and then spent two years in the U.S. Army. During his military service in Washington, D.C., Granger worked part time as a copy boy at The Washington Post. After his honorable discharge, Granger was a reporter for the Chicago Tribune and later a columnist and editor at the Chicago Sun-Times.

Granger’s first novel, November Man, a thriller, was published in 1979. He went on to write a total of twenty-five mysteries and thrillers, most set in Chicago, under his own name and the pseudonyms Joe Gash and Bill Griffith. Granger and his wife Lori also co-wrote three nonfiction books.

Posted on May 7th 2012 in Book News, Journalism, Obituaries

‘The Best and the Brightest’ Makes a Top Five List

 

In a wide-ranging interview on the website The Browser, Martin Bell (above), the long-time BBC war correspondent who has covered more than a dozen conflicts, including the American war in Vietnam, discusses five of the most important books dealing with modern wars.

Bell’s list:  Trusted Mole by Milos Stankovik, which deals with a British Army officer in the Bosnian War; Evelyn Waugh’s novel Scoop, a satirical look at newspapers and war correspondents; Joseph Conrad’s iconic novel, Heart of Darkness; Wilfred Owen’s Collected Poems, which include verses dealing with the poet’s experiences in World War I; and David Halberstam’s celebrated look at Vietnam War policymaking, The Best and the Brightest.

The Best and the Brightest, Bell says, “is an account of how the Americans got into this war. How brilliant people devised schemes that went against all common sense. One of them, of course, was [Secretary of Defense Robert] McNamara, who had been president of the Ford Motor Company. They thought that simply by the application of force and intelligence they could make things happen on the ground. But they didn’t understand.”

Bell says that when he was in Vietnam he “saw in 1967 and 1972 this massive application of fire power. But you don’t change people’s minds with fire power. You can, in fact, just alienate them. What Halberstam delivers is an account of how this happened.”

One of the reasons he chose Halberstam’s opus, Bell says, “is because I think it applies today to what the western powers are trying to do in Afghanistan. There are so many parallel structures – the massive application of fire power and not much understanding of the people. To the Afghans, we tend to be just another foreign invader, however well-intentioned. Which is why, like Vietnam, I think it’s an unwinnable war.”

A version of the interview was republished on Salon.com

Posted on March 14th 2012 in Book News, Journalism

Wallace Terry to Receive Journalism Honor

The journalist, author, and Vietnam War correspondent Wallace Terry, who received the VVA Excellence in the Arts Award in 1989, will be inducted into the National Association of Black Journalists’ Hall of Fame in January.  In addition to Terry, who died in 2003,  Gwen Ifill, Johnathan Rodgers, Ruth Allen Ollison, and Pat Harvey will be inducted during the ceremonies, which will take place January 26 at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. During the last 19 years, NABJ has inducted more than 45 journalists into its Hall of Fame.

 

“In 1967, Wallace Terry became deputy bureau chief for Time magazine in Saigon. His two years of Vietnam War reporting included coverage of the Tet Offensive and scores of combat missions with American and South Vietnamese pilots,” the NABJ said in announcing Terry’s selection. “In addition to writing for USA TODAY and Parade magazine, Terry was an award-winning author, producer and public speaker.”

Terry’s book, Bloods, an oral history of African-Americans who served in Vietnam, is a classic of Vietnam War nonfiction. He was a good friend of Vietnam Veterans of America, having organized VVA’s big Rendezvous With War academic conference on the Vietnam War in 2000 at the College of William and Mary, and was a regular contributor to The VVA Veteran.

Posted on October 22nd 2011 in Journalism

Galloway Retires


Joe Galloway, the former Vietnam War correspondent, co-author (with Gen. Hal Moore) of the classic Vietnam War memoir/battle history, We Were Soldiers Once and Young , and long-time military correspondent and columnist, recently announced that he will end his weekly column, which for the last seven years was carried by the McClatchy Newspapers, and retire from the newspaper business after fifty years in the trenches.

Galloway, who received a VVA President’s Award for Excellence in the Arts at the 1999 VVA National Convention, says he will continue to write the occasional op. ed piece. That is good news because Joe Galloway (above in combat correspondent’s uniform in Vietnam), has for many years been one of the nation’s top journalists and has been one of the strongest, most supportive journalistic voices for American veterans and those in uniform.

Posted on February 4th 2010 in Journalism

War Correspondent William Tuohy, 1926-2010

William Tuohy, the well-respected former Newsweek and Los Angeles Times Vietnam War correspondent, died Dec. 31 following open heart surgery in Santa Monica, California. He was 83, and had received the Pulitzer Prize in 1969 for international reporting for his Vietnam War coverage for The Times.

“Few correspondents have seen have seen and written more about the war in Vietnam than William Tuohy,” the Pulitzer judges noted.

Tuohy moved to The Times in 1966 after serving as Newsweek‘s bureau chief in Saigon. He wound up working for The Times for 29 years. Tuohy served in the U.S. Navy in the Pacific in 1945-46, according to his LA Times obit.

Posted on January 3rd 2010 in Journalism, Obituaries

1968 at AARP

The current (May/June) issue of AARP Magazine has a long feature on the year of 1968 that includes a section about events that took place during that pivotal year in the Vietnam War. The reader-friendly article contains an interview with noted Vietnam veteran film director Oliver Stone, who was an infantryman with the Americal that year. There also are words from Lawrence Colburn, who was a machine gunner on the helicopter piloted by Hugh Thompson that saw what was happening at My Lai and swooped down to save a dozen women and children. You can read it on line at AARP’s website.

admin on May 6th 2008 in Journalism