I feel like I know Jack Heslin, even though we’ve only been e-mail buddies over the past 15 years. He has run a website, The Battle of Kontum, on the North Vietnamese 1972 “Easter Offensive,” and I finally got my Vietnam memoir “Heroes to the End” written in 2015. It’s based on my Stars and Stripes stories, and many of those were datelined from Pleiku and Kontum in the Central Highlands. Now Heslin finally has published “Thunder” (Outskirts Press), on…..
I was pleased to have been interviewed on Aug. 8, 2018 on Linda Frank’s half-hour cable show on LTV in East Hampton called “The Writer’s Dream” (//www.facebook.com/The-Writers-Dream-144688198966801/). I discussed how I came to write and self-publish my Vietnam memoir “Heroes to the End” (www.heroestotheend.com). Linda and I are members of the Long Island Authors Group. Because Linda is an experienced interviewer and an author herself, she posed two questions that I rarely had faced in about 110 previous speaking engagements…..
June 5: “Heroes to the End” and my bio. are now posted on the website of the Long Island Authors Group (//longislandauthorsgroup.org), which I recently joined in order to network and perhaps get some ideas on how to publicize my memoir. I also joined the Military Writers Society of America and am awaiting a review of “Heroes” by a three-person panel, so I can nominate it for an award.
April 24: I am working with agent Jan Kardys of Unicorn for Writers in West Redding, CT. to submit a screenplay to Netflix for a multi-episode series based on “Heroes to the End.” She recently sent me a 10-page draft proposal that has four scenes, co-written by Warren Hayden, Barbara Seper and Nathan Joseph. I liked what they did with only some minor quibbles that we can work out. Kardys is sending me a contract for a screenplay for a…..
April 16: I was pleased to be accepted for membership in the Long Island Authors Group and the Military Writers Society of America. I joined both to seek advice on how to publicize “Heroes to the End” and suggestions on how to turn it into a screenplay for a Netflix series. The Long Island group consists of local book authors who have joined together to promote the Island’s writing community. It conducts seminars, holds writing workshops, discusses marketing techniques and…..
“Heroes to the End is a book of vignettes strung around the service of its author during the most turbulent times of the Vietnam War. There have been great books on Vietnam: some have skillfully chronicled the “big picture; others have told the story of the war from the small unit or “grunt’s eye” view. Heroes is different, and refreshingly so. With this book, you get stories from the rice paddies all the way up the chain of command. Smith’s…..
Imagine a Vietnam War fought as a counterinsurgency by small units of South Vietnamese Army soldiers accompanied by a few American advisers, beating the Vietcong at their own game. Imagine that the ARVNs, with U.S. help, conducted civic action projects to win their country’s hearts and minds in support of the central government. Imagine that religious tolerance and democratic elections were a given. Imagine that air strikes and helicopter assaults were never conducted if there was a chance of any…..
If you are curious about the frantic last few days and hours in late April 1975 as the North Vietnamese Army encircled Saigon and there was a frenzied effort to evacuate our troops, civilians and Vietnamese allies, read “Last Men Out” by Bob Drury and Tom Clavin. At the U.S. embassy, marine guards were throwing bundles of crisp, new $100 bills into a furnace along with classified cables, CIA memos and lists of Vietnamese who had worked for Americans. Major…..
Peter Arnett was one of a select group of great reporters who arrived in Vietnam in the early 1960s as the U.S. was ramping up its involvement, but unlike Neil Sheehan, David Halberstam, Malcolm Browne and Stanley Karnower, only Arnett, AP Saigon bureau chief George Esper and stringer Matt Franjola remained until the North Vietnamese took over the country on April 29, 1975. In “Saigon Has Fallen,” Arnett has distilled in a 198-page personal account of his reporting on most…..
There is no mention of atrocities in my memoir “Heroes to the End” on my 1971-72 tour as a Stars and Stripes reporter because I never heard of any such incidents from the enlisted men and officers I interviewed. That’s why Nick Turse’s book “Kill Anything That Moves” was so disturbing. I feel like maybe I had blinders on or was purposely steered away from any news of massacres, civilian deaths and soldiers’ misconduct. Turse’s premise is that the Americal…..