in the most protected space in Vietnam and still know that your safety
Birthplace; Syracuse, New York
"Dispatches puts the rest of us in the shade."
"Nothing else so far has even come close to conveying how different
this war was from any we fought —
different were the methods and the men who fought for us."
"With uncanny precision [Dispatches] summons up the very essence of
[the Vietnam War]
space diction, its surreal psychology, its bitter humor —
dope, the dexedrine, the body bags, the rot, all of it ... I believe it
may be the best personal journal about war, any war, that any writer has
"He seems to have brought to this book the ear of a musician and
the eye of a painter . . . the premier war correspondence of
best book I have ever read on men and war in our time."
There was a map of Vietnam on the wall of my apartment in Saigon and some
nights, coming back late to the city, I'd lie out on my bed and look at
it, too tired to do anything more than just get my boots off. That map was
a marvel, especially now that it wasn't real
anymore. For one thing, it was very old. It had been left there years
before by another tenant, probably a Frenchman, since the map had been
made in Paris. The paper
had buckled in its frame after years in the wet Saigon heat, laying a kind
of veil over the countries it depicted. Vietnam was divided into its older
territories of Tonkin, Annam and Cochin China, and to the west past Laos
and Cambodge sat Siam, a kingdom. That's old, I'd tell visitors, that's a
really old map.
If dead ground could come back and haunt you the
way dead people do, they'd have been able to mark my map current and burn
the ones they'd been using since '64, but count on it, nothing like that
was going to happen. It was late '67 now, even the most detailed maps
didn't reveal much anymore; reading them was like trying to read the faces
of the Vietnamese, and that was like trying to read the wind. We knew that
the uses of most information were flexible, different pieces of ground
told different stories to different people. We also knew that for years
now there had been no country here but the war.
in Dispatches happened for me, even if it didn't necessarily happen
The Big Room
Walter Winchell: A Novel
"Year after year, season after
season, wet and
dry, using up options faster than rounds on a machine-gun belt, we
called it right and righteous, viable and even almost won, and it still
only went on the way it went on. When all the projections of intent and
strategy twist and turn back on you, tracking team blood, 'sorry' just
won't cover it. There's nothing so embarrassing as when things go wrong
in a war."
The 'Old' New Journalists