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Shooting Vietnam (Hardback)

The War By Its Military Photographers

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

By Dan Brookes, Bob Hillerby, Foreword by Joe Galloway
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 235
Illustrations: 360
ISBN: 9781526744005
Published: 7th October 2019



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What was it like to be a military combat photographer in the most photographed war in history — the Vietnam War? “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. “Shooting Vietnam” 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, “Shooting Vietnam” 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.

"An engaging book that exposes the work of these ‘shooters’."

Despatches, the magazine of the International Guild of Battlefield Guides - Spring/Summer 2021 issue

A war that to me is very much in colour, on film and photographed more than any other to that point. Searing images are embedded in our minds as we think of the “napalm girl” and the Vietnamese Officer shooting the VC prisoner in the head in Saigon.
Shooting Vietnam tells the story of Combat Photographers and both the authors served in Vietnam giving this book a truly authentic feel. Included are first hand accounts from landing zone firefights and trudging through rice paddies to life in the “firebase hooch” and the work behind the scenes of the “Lab Rats” who developed film and documented the works both on and off the battlefields. As historians and Battlefield Guides we rely on sources for our research and photographs of battlefields (the first recorded of which, is 1847 in the Mexican-American War) are one of those most vital sources and here we can read about just what it takes to capture some of those images and in some cases the cost in lives.
An engaging book that exposes the work of these “shooters”.

Julian Whippy, Guild of Battlefield Guides

If you have an interest in the Vietnam War, were perhaps a war correspondent in a former life, or just have a general fascination as to why these men risked their lives to take photos, then this is definitely a book worth looking at.

Windscreen, The Military Vehicle Trust - December 2020

Well researched, precisely written, and illustrated with hundreds of color and black and white photos, Shooting Vietnam belongs on the bookshelf of every military history buff next to Dan Brookes’ Cameras, Combat and Courage and is a near-necessity for the Vietnam veteran.

Jerry Cleveland, History in Motion, September issue

An ever-burning theme whose importance makes it never out of fashion.

Read the full Spanish review here

Miniaturas JM

The story of the protagonists of the book is supported by the splendid photos taken in action, but above all by photos of the Vietnamese society, which resilient, continued to live and go on despite the fratricidal war. Looking at those photos, photos of women, old people and above all smiling children, one recovers the profound humanity of those who passed through that hell and managed to maintain a positive attitude towards life and the human race.

Read the full Italian review here

On The Old Barbed Wire

A unique and impressively informative contribution to the growing body of Vietnam War histories, "Shooting Vietnam: The War By Its Military Photographers" is an extraordinary, profusely illustrated, and inherently fascinating read from first page to last.

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Midwest Book Review

Well illustrated throughout, this is another interesting aspect of military service in Vietnam during the 1960s and well worth a read.

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Military Model Scene, Robin Buckland

ranked #1 on Book Authority’s “20 Vietnam War Books to Read in 2020” list

Book Authority

The authors have produced a personal view of the Vietnam war as seen through the camera lens. This is a novel approach to military history where few books are created by those who photographed the action – Highly Recommended.

Read the full review here


This book does what it says on the cover . A no nonsense look at the un glamorous world of the Millitary photographer. Lavishly illustrated as you'd expect with biographies and war stories from those who served.

A great book for dipping into as well as reading from cover to cover. I should say that if you have a VIET NAM War library at home this book it a definite must have, well written professionally produced on a subject which hasn't been worn out yet. In fact this is a ground breaker. Could you imagine joining the Army doing your basic training then being given a camera 12v rolls of film and told not to come back until you have useful images of warfare in your battle zone ?

Wow. Well worth four mushroom heads troops .

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Army Rumour Service (ARRSE)

This is an extraordinary book that delves I to the overlooked role of the combat photographer in Vietnam.
Detailed text goes alongside the writing describing what these people went through to document the war in Vietnam and it raised some surprises because of the often overlooked role.
Any scholar of the Vietnam war should have this amazing book in their collection.

Amazon Customer, Richard Domoney-Saunders

This book has possibly drawn me more into the Vietnam War than any other coverage the war received; I even remember as a young child seeing stories on the news about the Vietnam War and these by far surpass them. The way this is presented drew me in to the lives of the men covering the war in their own way and viewing things in some cases that the military would rather have not occurred and certainly not documented. I cannot recommend this book highly enough to anyone who wishes to see the Vietnam War from so many viewpoints that it will make you question what you thought you knew.

Read the full review here


This is an at times difficult book to read, but it is essential stuff. It is a book by war photographers who were also soldiers and it offers a different vibe as a consequence. I am really pleased to have read it and have no hesitation in recommending it.

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War History Online, Mark Barnes

Article: 'Images from a war zone: military photographers and the Vietnam War' as featured by

InsideOver, 10th October 2019 – words by Linda Roland Danil

The combat photographers whose stories are told in this book occupy a unique place in the history of the war, both chronicling and participating in some of the major actions of the war while trying to capture the essence of life for the average GI.

New York Journal of Books

Shooting Vietnam‘s importance lies in its examination and explanations of duties about which I had limited knowledge. I suspect many readers will feel the same.

The book is enlightening.

Read the full review here

The VVA Veteran

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A must read. This is not just a great read, it is a journey and I cannot recommend it enough! As the daughter of a Vietnam Vet, it touched me in many ways.

NetGalley, January Gray

This is a well told story about before, during and after the time spent in Vietnam. I got to know a new side of the troops involved and got to see some great pictures. For fans of military history I really recommend this work.

NetGalley, Mikael Sandeberg

Shooting Vietnam is a interesting and informative book. It is well written and emotional. The author really takes us into the story and we get the since of the emotional impact.

NetGalley, Heather Bennett

Brutal photographs that helped to end the Vietnam war: The gruesome images captured by military photographers that pressured politicians to end the campaign

Mail Online 9/7/19

Graphic pictures snapped of atrocious war crimes by US soldiers and demoralising images depicting the grim reality of the battlefield provoked the end of the conflict, say tormented US forces photographers who captured them.

The Sun 9/7/19

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.

About Bob Hillerby

Bob Hillerby was a journalism major at Amarillo College before entering the Army and training as a photographer, He spent his one-year tour in Vietnam with some of the most battle-hardened units, mostly with the 1st Cavalry Division out of An Khe. He most recently ran a family printing business in Sherman, Texas, before his untimely and accidental death in 2013. Bob was active in helping fellow veterans with PTSD through his work with the local chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America.

About Joe Galloway

Author of New York Times bestseller, We Were Soldiers Once... And Young

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