Covering their war are a handful of foreign reporters, including novelist Daniel Ford. Armed with a camera and a notebook, he wanders the country on foot and by military transport--helicopter, jeep, landing craft, junk, armored personnel carrier, and an Air Force flare ship--from the Mekong Delta to the Central Highlands. Once or twice a week, or whenever he is reunited with his Hermes portable, he types up an account of what he has seen and done. Here is that journal, 50-odd years after it was written. It is a freeze-frame picture of the Vietnam War before it became a quagmire. "How good-hearted we were!" Ford says of himself and the men he met in his travels. "And how badly it all turned out."
About the author
In the spring of 1964, Daniel Ford sold his first novel to Doubleday. With the advance against royalties, he bought a ticket to Saigon to have a look at the Viet Cong insurgency and how the South Vietnamese government and their American advisors were coping with it. Home again, as President Johnson was landing the US Marines at Danang, he abandoned the reporter's role and turned his experience into Incident at Muc Wa, a novel later filmed as Go Tell the Spartans, now remembered as the best of the Vietnam motion pictures.
Ford himself continued his dual career, writing fiction and non-fiction, including a prize-winning history of the "Flying Tigers" who defended Burma and China in the opening months of the Pacific War, 1941-1942. He lives and works in New Hampshire.