The Cat From Hue

The Cat From Hue

A Vietnam War Story

Book - 2002
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Blackwell North Amer
This is the true story of a young American reporter who went to Vietnam with an open mind and an innocent heart and was plunged into a world of cruel beauty and savage violence. His experiences in the war forced him to question all his assumptions about his country, the nation's leaders and his own sanity.
John Laurence covered Vietnam for CBS News from 1965 to 1970. He was judged by his colleagues to be the best television reporter of the war. He and his camera team lived with a squad of U.S. troops in the jungles of War Zone C to film The World of Charlie Company, a documentary that received every major award for broadcast journalism. Despite the professional acclaim, the traumatic stories Laurence covered became a personal burden that he carried long after the war was over. He struggled with memories of the Tet Offensive and the Battle of Hue, incoming artillery at Khe Sanh and Con Thien, the wounding of those around him, the deaths of his friends, the killing of civilians, a colonel who smoked opium during the siege of his camp, American troops who fell in love with their dead comrades. Mostly, his conscience haunted him about a close encounter with a North Vietnamese soldier that forced him to make a decision of life and death.
After years of reckoning with his memories, Laurence has made sense of them in this memoir by weaving them into a compelling story. It is laced with humor, anger, love, and the unforgettable tale of a very idiosyncratic cat who was determined to play his part in the Vietnam revolution. In reconstructing his experiences, he has relied not only on his notes and memory, but also on hundreds of hours of film footage shot at the time. This gives the book an uncanny vividness and fidelity to facts.

Publisher: New York : PublicAffairs, c2002
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9781891620317
1891620312
Characteristics: 850 p. : map ; 25 cm

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Blinkyfrog
Aug 28, 2017

Possibly the best book I've ever read on the war in Vietnam. It's not an exhaustive historical account but rather an up close, personal one. If you watched TV in the 60's and 70's, you will recognize Laurence. He reported for two major TV broadcasters and stayed in country a long time. He was present for several major engagements, notably Hue during and after the Tet Offensive.
I can't adequately describe this book, it's very personal, it doesn't fit a genre. It gives an unusual perspective of the war, one that's well worth knowing.

And the cat that Laurence writes about? ....It's VC.

r
Rock_Shadow
Mar 07, 2015

Outstanding book! Every chapter was dense with narrative so captivating that I wasn't able to skip at all, even though the book is very long. I wished it was published in 2 volumes to make it easier to carry around. Some people found The Cat from Hue too detailed, but I would have kept reading it even if the book was twice as long. I also did find the cat fitting fine into the book - both to the beginning and the ending (don't want to use spoilers).

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