Once Upon a Distant War
William Prochnau. New York, NY: Times Books, 1995. 546 pp. Bib. Ind. Photos. $27.50 ($24.75).
Reviewed by Colonel Harry G. Summers, Jr., U.S. Army (Retired)
One of the many anomalies of the Vietnam War is that combat veterans of that conflict hated the media in general, while liking many in the particular. Among the best liked were those chronicled in William Prochnau’s Once Upon a Distant War, including Malcolm Browne, Neil Sheehan, David Halberstam, and Charles Mohr.
Prochnau’s account of the young band of war correspondents who covered the early days of America’s involvement in Vietnam begins with the November 1961 arrival of Associated Press war correspondent Malcolm Browne in Saigon. Some two years and 457 pages later, it concludes with the overthrow and assassination of South Vietnam President Ngo Dinh Diem in November 1963.