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Cameras, Combat and Courage (Hardback)

The Vietnam War by the Military’s Own Photographers

Colour Books Military > Post-WWII Warfare > Vietnam P&S History > By Century > 20th Century Photographic Books

By Dan Brookes
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 232
Illustrations: 360 colour & black and white
ISBN: 9781526750235
Published: 25th March 2020



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What was it like to be a military combat photographer in the most photographed war in history — the Vietnam War? “Cameras, Combat, and Courage”, a companion volume to "Shooting Vietnam", takes you there as you read the firsthand accounts and view the hundreds of photographs by men who lived the war through the lens of a camera. They documented everything from the horror of combat to the people and culture of a land they suddenly found themselves immersed in. Some even juggled cameras with rifles and grenade launchers as they fought to survive while carrying out their assignments to record the war. “Cameras, Combat, and Courage” also finally brings recognition to these unheralded military combat photographers in Vietnam that documented the brutal, unpopular, and futile war.

Firsthand accounts and photographs by military photographers in Vietnam from the mid-1960s to the early 1970s, “Cameras, Combat, and Courage” puts the reader right alongside these men as they struggle to document the war and stay alive while doing it — although some didn’t survive. The cameras around their necks often shared space with a rifle or grenade launcher that enabled them to stay alive while performing their assigned military duties, killing, if necessary, to survive.

Often, during a brief respite from trudging through swamps and rice paddies or jumping from a chopper into a hot landing zone, they would wander the streets of villages or even downtown Saigon, curiously photographing a people and a culture so strange and different to them. It is these photographs, of a kinder, more personal nature, removed from the horror and death of war that they also share with the reader.

The accounts in this book come from young men thrust into a conflict half way around the world, and all who had their own unique perspective on the war. Some were seasoned photographers before the military, others had only recently held a camera for the first time.

The book is therefore a fitting tribute to these men who challenged their greatest fears to document that conflict. William Muchler, Roy McClellan, Curtis D. Hicks (Rose), William Mondjack, Tom Wong, Christoher Jensen, James Saller, Marvin J. Wolf lived a Vietnam War behind photo lens and not fighting. But often they too, and perhaps more than the ordinary "Grunt" have seen their dose of horror. But at the same time the book is also a rediscovery of Vietnam, a country that undoubtedly exercised at the time and for the rest of their lives, an enormous fascination that we can meet in their "private" shots that testify to everyday life of the Vietnamese people. This adds a touch of extreme humanity that joins that contained in the stories. A book that cannot fail to move anyone who reads it.

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On The Old Barbed Wire

A work of undoubted documentary and sentimental value. A portrait of a moment in history that it should not have been and that was in spite of the sorrows.

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Miniaturas JM

Since cameras went into combat during the American Civil War enormous amounts of film have been consigned to archives but remarkably little thought has gone into how that film was shot. The author provides a warts and all picture of life and experiences as a combat cameraman and also provides later review of those who survived into civilian life – Most Highly Recommended

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The assortment of personal accounts make for interesting reading, and one, many years after the war was over, talks about his feelings now finally admitting to having personally shot enemy soldiers during his time in Vietnam, after only having admitted to one before. Drugs, violent death, fear, horror and boredom, plus the chance to experience the colours and culture of a country so different to their own homes. Accompanied by photos not published before which illustrate the men, the equipment, combat as well as the colourful communities and countryside they were in. For anyone interested in the history of the Vietnam War, this makes for a really good read and an insight to how it felt to be involved. A book I very much enjoyed reading.

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Military Model Scene, Robin Buckland

As you might expect, Cameras, Combat and Courage is seeded with dozens of photographs covering all aspects of the Vietnam War. Some of them are incredibly poignant like the GI with the classic thousand-yard stare who will die in combat, others seem mundane, pictures of everyday life, but all tell a little part of the remarkable story that casts a long shadow over American history. The pictures, stories, and the men make this a remarkable book worth reading. 8/10

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Beating Tsundoku

Cameras, Combat, and Courage is a fitting follow-up to Shooting Vietnam. Both merit a center shelf position in your library because they are books you will pick up time and time again.

Vietnam Veteran Association

An accompanying book to the authors other work about combat reporters in Vietnam.

This is just as well presented and gives an expanded view of what these combat cameramen went through on the front lines in Vietnam.

Really well written with previously unseen photos makes this a must have 5 star book.

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Richard Domoney-Saunders

Pick Of The Month

Soldier magazine, April 2020

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I cannot imagine being sent to a war zone to photograph what is going on. The photographers that were charged with photographing the Vietnam War were brave for not only going to do this, but for making it the most photographed war. They risked their lives to show those of us that weren't there and future generations what it was like in the battlefield, but also what it was like in the strange place they were sent to. The photographs of the local people and places show the contrast between the war and the everyday life that continued during it.

NetGalley, Cristie Underwood

This was such a wonderful glimpse into a conflict not often talked about in a unique and powerful way.

This book was a powerful book and the story were like those I've never read about. The stories were heartbreaking, brave and very eye opening. This is definitely a book I would recommend to history fan and those who enjoy learning about the conflict.

NetGalley, Breezy Corbin

About Dan Brookes

Dan Brookes is a writer, photographer, and graphic artist. His tour in Vietnam gave him the travel bug and he still takes to the road, ocean, and air the world over adding to his collection of stories and pictures for his next books and photo exhibits. In addition to many other things, has been the production manager of a Hollywood-based gambling magazine, piloted a riverboat through the Amazon where he helped establish schools in tribal rainforest areas, ran a catering business that fed some of the most famous rock stars on tour, co-founded a UFO research group, and recently retired from Apple where he was a computer solutions consultant. He lives in Connecticut.

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