3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 23 October 2005
A book that has been lovely developed as a project, finding NVA and Viet Cong photographers, printing their pictures (often for the first time in large format) and allowing them to document their story as a war photographer. As a book for photographers discovering how photographers can work with almost nothing, as a lover of incredibly powerful pictures, as a history of the war from the viewpoint of the photographers, this is an excellent and lovely book.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Blaise Pascal, the French philosopher, rhetorically asked: What right do I have to kill someone just because he lives on the other side of the river? For Americans, this particular river was as wide as possible, the entire Pacific Ocean. Page returned again to work with the Vietnamese photographers who photographed from the other side - and developed a remarkable collection of photographs, all too many never seen in the West before. The book performs the most revolutionary anti-war function, one that the most strenuous efforts are made by the pro-war faction to suppress: it humanizes the "enemy."
Some of the photographs are clearly from the "socialist-realism" mold of propaganda. Others have the authentic stamp of being taken in the heat of battle. The first pictures show a youthful Ho Chi Minh, and the French soldiers in defeat. The book concludes with the detritus of the American defeat. Certain areas and events are highlighted, no doubt reflecting the assignment of the particular photographer: the Cu Mau peninsula; Operation Lam Son 719 (the ARVN invasion of southern Laos in 1971); the battle for Quang Tri, in 1972; and the collapse of the defenders of Saigon in 1975.
Particularly haunting photos are as follows: the devastation created by Agent Orange in the Ca Mau peninsula (p104-105); NVA soldiers marching on the "Ho Chi Minh" trail, with sun rays filtered by that famous triple canopy jungle (p115) and again marching on the same trail, above the clouds (p124-125); even though a propaganda picture, the character of a female fighter is most evident (p159); and most telling, for anyone who was ever involved in "training" native forces, hundreds upon hundreds of abandoned boots of the ARVN, during the final collapse of Saigon (p230-231).
Vietnam is finally at peace - trying to play economic "catch-up." This collection of photographs is a haunting testament to lessons unlearned, for all Americans.
(Note: Review first published at Amazon, USA, on June 30, 2008)
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 5 January 2003
This is a great book. The pictures are stunning and it offers an interesting perspective. The war seen from the Vietcong's perspective. After reading this book it's clear why the USA couldn't win this war. A must read if you're into war journalism and - photography.