Flashbacks: On Returning to Vietnam

Morley Safer, Author
Morley Safer, Author Random House (NY) $18.95 (206p) ISBN 978-0-394-58374-7
Reviewed on: 03/01/1990
Release date: 03/01/1990
Newsman Safer, who returned to Vietnam in 1989 to film a report for 60 Minutes , describes meetings with several Vietnamese, including a woman who won a ``Hero American Killer'' medal during the war, a former Time correspondent who turned out to be a North Vietnamese spy and General Vo Nguyen Giap, conquerer of the French, American and South Vietnamese armies. Safer made his name in 1965 for his television coverage of the destruction of Cam Ne hamlet, an account that caused a furor in the U.S. with its indelible image of the Marine with the Zippo lighter. Here he tells the ``story behind the story'' and its equally sobering aftermath: the Marines charged him with betraying their trust, President Johnson accused him of having ``Communist ties'' and Secretary of State Rusk argued that the report was staged. Readers will find much sympathy for the Vietnamese people in these pages, much admiration for Safer's wartime colleagues and much residual contempt for American and military leaders who ``ran'' the war. Photos. First serial to New York Times Magazine; author tour. (Apr.)
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