BOOKS: A DISASTER IN THE MAKING

HOW THE FIRST REPORTERS WHO COVERED VIETNAM LOST THE FAITH

MEMORIES OF THE VIETNAM War, for those who did not serve in it, tend to be drawn from the image bank of television footage: a U.S. soldier applying a Zippo lighter to a peasant hut; a Saigon official shooting, on camera, a suspected Viet Cong terrorist through the head. But before the war escalated into a staple item on the nightly news, a much smaller conflict had played itself out in South Vietnam. This one pitted U.S. military brass and members of the Kennedy Administration against a small group of young print reporters assigned to cover a communist guerrilla insurrection in...

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