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Hardcover Lost Over Laos: A True Story of Tragedy, Mystery, and Friendship Book

ISBN: 0306811960

ISBN13: 9780306811968

Lost Over Laos: A True Story of Tragedy, Mystery, and Friendship

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Format: Hardcover

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

From two Vietnam War journalists comes the richly illustrated story of four combat photographers who died in a fiery helicopter over Laos in 1971, and the search 27 years later for the crash site. of... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

A Fascinating, Different Look at the Vienam War

"Lost Over Laos" offers a rare glimpse and so a compelling read into the world of the OTHER heroes of Vietnam -- the truly intrepid reporters and photographers who sent the news home to us. The story is straightforward, as one might expect from wire service veterans, but it is also poignant. Along the way, it gives us a detailed account of the intersection of the military effort, which we all feel we know, and the wire service get-it-right-and-get-right-now camaraderie that few know and that we all wish we could share if we only had the opportunity and the courage to be there. Richard Pyle and Horst Faas aren't well-known, but they should be, and their outstanding effort then, and now, shows why.

Lost Over Loas: A True Story of Tragedy, Mystery, and Friend

I throughly enjoyed this book. I love history and this book gave a good insight into the press of Saigon including their risks and misfortunes. I enjoyed reading about the relationships developed at a personal level between the press core and the military. I would highly recommend this book.

Explores and explains the psyche of the war photojournalist

For those of us born too late to be part of the generation that was, in the words of Richard Pyle, "educated, molded, and aged by the Vietnam experience," our second-hand knowledge of this war has been limited largely to the negative: the horrors of the battlefield, the mental anguish of the young soldiers being asked to sacrifice their lives for goals that were far from clear, and the deeply divisive debates over the agony of continued warfare vs. the humiliation of abandoning the cause. Yet this book is about journalists who VOLUNTEERED to go into the jungle. What would make an otherwise sane person want to do this? As Pyle explores the lives and deaths of the four killed photojournalists, various answers to this question surface, making the journalist's motives comprehensible even to outsiders such as myself--the lure of the exotic setting, the sense of regret that one might have felt if excluded from the most important event of the decade, and the sense of obligation to "compel the world to see Vietnam," to see it "through a camera lens that illuminated, explained, told truths of what the war looked like and how it felt to be there." As for coping with the drawbacks of death and dismemberment, there was always denial. As Richard writes: "It was part of the war correspondent psyche to recognize the possibility of the worst, but to worry or even think much about that was to invite oneself to look for work in another field"; and "there was a sense among members of the Saigon media that journalists who reached celebrity status through repeated stellar performance could become exempt from ordinary danger, passing into a realm of immunity where the worst simply could not happen to them--as if North Vietnamese gunners tracking a helicopter would receive a last-second order: 'Don't shoot. That's Larry Burrows up there.'"As summarized in the reviews of others, the primary focus of this book is on (1) the lives of Larry Burrows, Henri Huet, Kent Potter, and Keisaburo Shimamoto; and (2) the difficult search for the details of a crash that took place behind enemy lines (details which, for almost thirty years, were limited to little more than "helicopter shot down over the Ho Chi Minh Trail, apparently killing all aboard"). Yet it's the tangent themes that I found the most affecting, perhaps none more than Pyle's search for meaning in the tragic loss of his colleagues and friends. These four civilian photographers went to Vietnam to share the images of war with the rest of the world, and it seems to double the tragedy "that the only monument to their commitment, their skill, and their courage should be a few bone shards and bits of metal, left out in the rain on a nameless, forgotten hillside." Five stars.

An excellent, evocative book

This book describes the world of photojournalists in the Vietnam work and focuses on the death of four photojournalists in a battle over the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos during a the US government's semi-covert war against the North Vietnamese in that country (the pilots of their aircraft were South Vietnamese and their death occurred during a South Vietnamese attack against NVA supply lines). The book also describes the effort to find their remains and the authors' attempt to give meaning to their loss. The photojournalists who died included two of the most celebrated of the war and two younger men of great skill. In a relatively short text, the book manages to tell their stories and the story of Vietnam War photojournalism in a manner that is reverent without being professionally aggrandizing. By coincidence, I visited the village where the search for remains took place a few months before the authors and their time in that place was particularly evocative for me. The authors offer a perspective on the war that is complex and, in some ways, more hawkish than other first-hand retrospective war accounts, although too skeptical to really fit the conceptualizations of hawk and dove that characterized the times. Given the many parallels that some have drawn between Vietnam and our own era, this is a book that thoughtful critics and partisans of the Iraqi conflict should read. My only complaint is that book does not include enough of the award winning pictures of Larry Burrows and his fallen colleagues.

Especially recommended reading for students of journalism

Collaboratively written by foreign correspondent Richard Pyle and Associated Press photographer and photo editor Horst Faas, Lost Over Laos: A True Story Of Tragedy, Mystery, And Friendship is an historical and memorial testimony showcasing four combat photographers who died in Indochina: Larry Burrows of "Life" magazine; Henri Huet of the Associated Press; Kent Potter of United Press International; and Keisaburo Shimamoto of "Newsweek". Twenty seven years later, a recovery team was able to visit the site of the helicopter crash that took the lives of these remarkable men, recover evidence, and bring closure to the tragedy. Lost Over Laos is a powerful and poignant narration, and especially recommended reading for students of journalism.
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