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The Real War: The Classic Reporting On The Vietnam War Paperback – January 7, 2000


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The Real War: The Classic Reporting On The Vietnam War + Patriots: The Vietnam War Remembered from All Sides + The Quiet American (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press (January 7, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306809265
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306809262
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #243,443 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Journalist Schell's personal experience has made him a trusted voice on the Vietnam War. This combo volume brings together the title piece along with The Village of Ben Suc and The Military Half. A solid title for public and academic libraries.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Jonathan Schell was born in 1943 in New York City, where he still lives. Among his previous books is the best-selling The Fate of the Earth. His writing on Vietnam has been included in the Library of America’s recent two-volume Reporting Vietnam.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on May 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
The Real War: The Classic Reporting On The Vietnam War is a Jonathan Schell's outstanding commentaries on the American military operations in Vietnam and his post-war reflections a decade later. In the first part, "The Village of Ben Suc", Schell takes the reader in the action and terror that was the Vietnam war with his descriptions of the frustration and desperation of American soldiers caught up in the brutalities of bloody conflict. In the second part, "The Military Half", Schell describes the destruction of two entire provinces in South Vietnam by American bombing and ground operations, with first-hand accounts of these extensive operations and their horrific results. Rarely has a writer been so able and capable of recreating and conveying the sights, sounds, paranoia, and rage of modern frontline warfare.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan BeVillle on December 14, 2003
Format: Paperback
Schell's The Real War is a valuable recollection of the Viet-Nam War as experienced by the author in 1966 and 67. Schell who travelled to Viet Nam as a journalist with The New Yorker in those years paints a vivid picture of not only the war and its operation, but of the lives of the men of the allied forces and people of Viet-Nam who lived it.
The first section of the book, which shares the book's title, makes Schell's book a particularly apt book to read in this day and age, as many of the statements written there pretaining to Viet-Nam, can theoretically pretain to the current situation in Iraq.
This book came highly recommended to me, and I in turn pass on that recommendation to anyone interested in the subject. I wish I had got my hands on this book years ago.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By brazos49 VINE VOICE on June 4, 2001
Format: Paperback
I probably have quite a minority view on this book, even though I found it to be clearly worth reading. To me, the best part of this book is the first essay "The Real War", which, even though it's the title of the book, is presented as more of an introduction to the other two stories. This essay contains writing which is so good (even though I disagree with some of his left leaning political conclusions) it had me saying out loud 'this guy can really write'. It also had some very thought provoking material which any serious student of the Vietnam War should read and consider.
I also enjoyed his presentation of "The Military Half" and his experience flying with the Forward Air Controllers. It gave me an idea of just how these pilots worked with the air arsenal and the ground commanders to wreak havoc on the ground. However, I found this story and "The Village of Ben Suc" to be somewhat repetive in theme and content and maybe not organized as well as it could have been to make the author's points. As a result, the enthusiasm I had for reading this book and its first essay didn't survive to the end of the book. In other words, I relished reading the first essay and didn't have nearly as much enthusiasm by the time I finished the book.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By winterfell on January 15, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Yes this book is a good one-sided perspective of the Vietnam War by a reporter, but it does get a little boring at times. Ben Suc was interesting, but not sure if it really needed all 100 pages to explain it. Since Schell was not a soldier, he got a slight more different perspective on the Japanese villagers, but since he was a white American man, he wasn't really able to gain the trust or have insightful convos with the Vietnamese people. The way he describes the military happenings is pretty good, and probably the best someone can get from an American in the War.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bob Hoskins VINE VOICE on July 29, 2014
Format: Paperback
Vietnam era media and history itself. Mr. Schell writes in a straight-forward manner and relays his observations for us. The book is broken out into three parts:

The Real War.
The Village of Ben Suc
The Military Half.

The Real War is a short narrative by Mr. Schell outlining his thoughts and opinion on Vietnam and how the U.S. became involved. Very well written. He brings up history concerning Vietnam and how we got to 1965 when the Marines splashed ashore.

The Village of Ben Suc was the target of a huge military operation into and around the Iron Triangle. Mr. Schell details the operation that involved moving thousands of refugees into temporary camps and how they were treated and processed. Again, he reports what he sees and details his conversations with those in charge. He tends to ask the questions we would all ask were we there at the time witnessing the proceedings. During this portion of the book the hopelessness of the situation starts to creep into his narrative and seems to stick around.

The military half somewhat confirms his feelings as he describes how the military is basically destroying Vietnam in order to save Vietnam. He outlines the unwinnable position the USA is in fighting with an apathetic ally, ARVN, against a gritty and determined opponent.

Overall, a wonderful historical document from a correspondent who was on the ground. The Vietnam war gave the press unrestrained access and allowed them to wander. Wander they did and out of that comes wonderful works such as this.

Another great work is The Cat from Hue: A Vietnam War Story

(Not sure why the "Verified Purchase" tag isn't there.)
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