Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Solemn Tribute to the Shots Seen Round the World A Camera's Viewfinder Becomes a Window into History, Travel, and Art in These Photography Books for Holiday Giving

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Solemn Tribute to the Shots Seen Round the World A Camera's Viewfinder Becomes a Window into History, Travel, and Art in These Photography Books for Holiday Giving

Article excerpt

Requiem: By the Photographers Who Died in Vietnam and Indochina

Random House

336 pp., $65 They were brave. And ambitious. They were often young. And idealistic. They were the combat photographers who hurled themselves into harm's way to cover the Vietnam War. Their courage and grit and skill brought vivid images of that terrible 30-year struggle into America's homes and hearts. Parachuting into battle, living and dying with the troops, the toll on photographers was high. On the allied side, 135 were killed, many famous, including Larry Burrows, Dickey Chapelle, and Bernard Fall. The Communists lost 72. This marvelous book, filled with their stirring photos, is a fitting and beautiful tribute. "Requiem: By the Photographers Who Died in Vietnam and Indochina" spans the struggle from 1945 when a Vietnamese guerrilla leader, Ho Chi Minh, declared independence from the French, to 1975 when Ho and the Communists triumphed. David Halberstam, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his Vietnam reporting, has a confession about his fellow combat photographers there. Unlike reporters, photographers could not arrive "a little late," get a few interviews, and put together a splendid "you-are-there story" about the action, "even though, in truth, we had missed it all," Halberstam says. Photographers could report only what their eyes and their lenses could see. That meant putting themselves right into the cannon's mouth. Yet this book isn't, as you might expect, all about war and suffering. It begins in the 1940s and 1950s when Vietnam was a gentler place, a land of rubber plantations and lush valleys. The early black-and-white photos of Everette Dixie Reese of the US and Pierre Jahan of France portray the misty hills of the Black River valley and the lush rice fields of the Mekong Delta. …

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