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Once Upon a Distant War: David Halberstam, Neil Sheehan, Peter Arnett--Young War Correspondents and Their Early Vietnam Battles

4.24  ·  Rating Details  ·  148 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
Once Upon a Distance War tells the stories of such young Vietnam war correspondents as Neil Sheehan, Peter Arnett, and David Halberstam, providing a riveting chronicle of high adventure and brutal slapstick, gallantry and cynicism, as well as a vital addition to the history they shaped. "Prochnau . . . tells a Vietnam story we haven't heard before. . . . Complex, witty, an ...more
Paperback, 576 pages
Published August 27th 1996 by Vintage (first published November 1995)
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We Were Soldiers Once... and Young by Harold G. MooreA Bright Shining Lie by Neil SheehanA Rumor Of War by Philip CaputoDispatches by Michael HerrChickenhawk by Robert Mason
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Timothy Hallinan
May 27, 2011 Timothy Hallinan rated it it was amazing
Why hasn't anyone filmed this book?

A crew of young correspondents is sent to cover an obscure war in an obscure country and then feel the earth shift as their own country becomes increasingly engaged in the war -- and find themselves uncomfortably in the middle of one of the greatest stories of the 20th century when it becomes inescapable that the government is steadily, implacably, lying to the American peoplw.

It's Vietnam, of course, and the reporters grew up to be David Halberstam, Neil Sheeh
Susan Dixon
Sep 03, 2015 Susan Dixon rated it it was amazing
This book had me hooked from the beginning and kept me hooked to the end. I had heard of all these names, of course, but had no idea what they had gone through during those two years. I had bought the accepted wisdom that the government and the military had had a policy of free access during the Vietnam War that was changed later because of all the trouble it caused. I had no conception of how deeply the lying permeated the policy from the beginning. Prochnau's writing style, although certainly ...more
Jun 28, 2015 Bill rated it really liked it
Shelves: american-history
I pretty much read this in one sitting - which took the better part of a weekend. Good history/journalism grips me and it doesn't matter a whit that I know the outcome at the outset. Lots of details on characters I had little familiarity with. Of particular note was JFK's nixonian response to the work of a small group of intrepid youngsters working under very difficult conditions. I didn't think the lies began until LBJ. Vietnam was a war doomed from the start and it is remarkable how similar th ...more
Jul 29, 2007 Patrick rated it liked it
Shelves: americanhistory
If you liked David Halberstam's The Best and The Brightest or if you want to know more about what happended to the US in Viet Nam, this is worth reading. It is the history of the American press correspondents who reported from south Viet Nam in 1961. In addition to Halberstam, you meet a young Peter Arnett, Neil Sheehan, and many others. Bottom line: they all supported the idea of what the Americans were trying to accomplish in Veit Nam, but they accurately foresaw that the military, embassy, an ...more
One of the few books I've ever abandoned due to boredom. I still gave it two stars as it starts well and is very interesting for about the first half. Paints exoticism of VietNam vividly in early chapters during build up to war. Folly of US policies is evident and the fact that they are repeating many of the same mistakes over and over in Iraq and elsewhere is depressing. Prochnau descends into hero worship of the journalists as the book progresses and it starts to read like a fanzine. You've go ...more
Feb 01, 2014 Wendy added it
Shelves: on-my-shelves
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Andrew Pinney
May 13, 2011 Andrew Pinney rated it really liked it
a really fascinating topic. Viewing the years leading up to the war through the leans of the young war reporters was a interesting & fascinating study. It did feel unfinished.. but it was not intended to be about reporters throughout the entire war.
May 20, 2008 J rated it really liked it
Another comprehensive look at what it was like in Viet Nam from the people covering the war. A lot of history in this tome. Definitely worth a read.
Randy Johnson
Sep 19, 2012 Randy Johnson rated it it was amazing
An absolute fave of nonfiction, it's essentially Neil Sheehan's Bright Shining Lie reduced to a manageable size and accelerated to a much brisker pace.
Toby Decker
Mr. Halberstam's books are thoroughly researched, and his penetrating insights are invaluable to every human regardless of one's age, and politics.
Nov 15, 2013 Linda rated it liked it
I would have given four stars but the redundancy stopped me. A story of Vietnam I barely knew kept me reading, a little mired in detail.
Ellen Brenna
May 07, 2007 Ellen Brenna rated it liked it
Shelves: history, biography
The attempt at hard boiled writing in this book just did not work for me, I found it distracting. The subject was fascinating though.
Theasa Tuohy
Aug 11, 2012 Theasa Tuohy rated it it was amazing
Fabulous. My favorite book about the Vietnam War. And I've read plenty in researching my own book, "The Five O'Clock Follies."
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