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A Photographic History of the War in Vietnam

Monday, November 04, 2013

Pete Hamill, reported from Vietnam in 1965, and Hal Buell and Santiago Lyon of the Associated Press discuss how photography tells the story of the war in Vietnam and talk about the new book Vietnam: The Real War, A Photographic History by the Associated Press, and the accompanying exhibition at the Steven Kasher Gallery in New York.

AP Photo/Horst Faas
Exhausted South Vietnamese soldiers sleep on a U.S. Navy troop carrier taking them back to the provincial capital of Ca Mau, August 1962.

The infantry unit had been on a four-day operation against the Viet Cong in swamplands at the southern tip of the country.

From Vietnam: The Real War (Abrams 2013)

AP Photo/Malcolm Browne
In the first of a series of fiery suicides by Buddhist monks, Thich Quang Duc burns himself to death on a Saigon street

In the first of a series of fiery suicides by Buddhist monks, Thich Quang Duc burns himself to death on a Saigon street to protest persecution of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese government, June 11, 1963. The photograph aroused worldwide outrage and hastened the end of the Diem government. With the photo on his Oval Office desk, President Kennedy reportedly remarked to his ambassador, “We’re going to have to do something about that regime.”

From Vietnam: The Real War (Abrams 2013)

AP Photo/Horst Faas
Vietnam, 1965.

Sunlight breaks through dense foliage around the town of Binh Gia as South Vietnamese troops, joined by U.S. advisers, rest after a cold, damp, and tense night of waiting in an ambush position for a Viet Cong attack that did not come, January 1965. One hour later, the troops would move out for another long, hot day hunting the guerrillas in the jungles forty miles southeast of Saigon.

From Vietnam: The Real War (Abrams 2013)

AP Photo/Horst Faas
An unidentified American soldier wears a hand-lettered slogan on his helmet, June 1965. The soldier was serving with the 173rd Airborne Brigade on defense duty at the Phuoc Vinh airfield.
AP Photo/Horst Faas
Women and children crouch in a muddy canal as they take cover from intense Viet Cong fire, January 1, 1966.

Paratroopers of the 173rd Airborne Brigade (background) escorted the civilians through a series of firefights during the U.S. assault on a Viet Cong stronghold at Bao Trai, about twenty miles west of Saigon.

From Vietnam: The Real War (Abrams 2013)

AP Photo/Horst Faas
Caught in a sudden monsoon rain, part of a company of about 130 South Vietnamese soldiers moves downriver in sampans during a dawn attack on a Viet Cong camp, January 10, 1966.

Several guerrillas were reported killed or wounded in the action thirteen miles northeast of Can Tho, in the flooded Mekong Delta.

From Vietnam: The Real War (Abrams 2013)

AP Photo/Henri Huet
Medic Thomas Cole of Richmond, Virginia, looks up with his one unbandaged eye as he continues to treat wounded S.Sgt. Harrison Pell of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, during a firefight, January 30, 1966.

The men belonged to the 1st Cavalry Division, which was engaged in a battle at An Thi, in the Central Highlands, against combined Viet Cong and North Vietnamese forces. This photo appeared on the cover of Life magazine, February 11, 1966, and photographer Henri Huet’s coverage of An Thi received the Robert Capa Gold Medal from the Overseas Press Club.

From Vietnam: The Real War (Abrams 2013)

AP Photo/Henri Huet
The body of a U.S. paratrooper killed in action in the jungle near the Cambodian border is lifted up to an evacuation helicopter in War Zone C, May 14, 1966.

The zone, encompassing the city of Tay Ninh and the surrounding area north of Saigon, was the site of the Viet Cong’s headquarters in South Vietnam.

From Vietnam: The Real War (Abrams 2013)

AP Photo/Eddie Adams
1969 Pulitzer Prize winner for Spot News Photography

Gen. Nguyen Ngoc Loan, South Vietnamese chief of the national police, fires his pistol into the head of suspected Viet Cong official Nguyen Van Lem on a Saigon street early in the Tet Offensive, February 1, 1968.Photographer Eddie Adams reported that after the shooting, Loan approached him and said, “They killed many of my people, and yours too,” then walked away. 

From Vietnam: The Real War (Abrams 2013)

AP Photo/Horst Faas
A woman mourns over the body of her husband after identifying him by his teeth, and covering his head with her conical hat.

The man’s body was found with forty-seven others in a mass grave near Hue, April 11, 1969. The victims were believed killed during the insurgent occupation of Hue as part of the Tet Offensive.

From Vietnam: The Real War (Abrams 2013)

AP Photo/Hugh Van Es
A U.S. paratrooper wounded in the battle for Hamburger Hill grimaces in pain as he awaits medical evacuation at base camp near the Laotian border, May 19, 1969.
AP Photo/Nick Ut
1973 Pulitzer Prize winner for Spot News Photography

Severely burned in an aerial napalm attack, children run screaming for help down Route 1 near Trang Bang, followed by soldiers of the South Vietnamese army’s 25th Division, June 8, 1972. A South Vietnamese plane seeking Viet Cong hiding places accidentally dropped its flaming napalm on civilians and government troops instead. Nine-year-old Kim Phuc (center) had ripped off her burning clothes while fleeing. The other children (from left) are her brothers Phan Thanh Tam, who lost an eye, and Phan Thanh Phouc, and her cousins Ho Van Bon and Ho Thi Ting.

From Vietnam: The Real War (Abrams 2013)

AP Photo
Marines move through a landing zone, December 1969.

Guests:

Hal Buell,, Pete Hamill and Santiago Lyon
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Comments [1]

Caesar Romaine

Gee Leonard. The picture of the prisoner at Abu Ghraib was the iconic photograph for you? For me it was the American soldier's bodies being hanged from a bridge and/or dragged around the streets. Then again, it might have been some of the videos and still photos of Americans (and others) being BE-HEADED! Of course, those were atrocities being committed mostly against Americans, so they probably don't count so much in your book.

Nov. 04 2013 01:59 PM

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