Almost half a century ago, a young reporter from Germany arrived in still-glamorous Saigon to cover the Vietnam War over a period of five years. In this memoir he now tells the story of how he fell in love with the Vietnamese people. He praises the beauty, elegance and feistiness of their women. He describes blood-curdling Communist atrocities and fierce combat scenes he had witnessed. He introduces a striking array of characters: heroes, villains, statesmen and spooks, hilarious eccentrics, street urchins and orphans herding water buffalos. He shows how professional malpractice by U.S. media stars such as Walter Cronkite turned the military victory of American and South Vietnamese forces during the 1968 Tet Offensive into a political defeat. He mourns the countless innocent victims of the Communist conquest of South Vietnam, which was the grim consequence of its abandonment by the United States. Thus, he argues, the wrong side won. Finally, with the eyes on Afghanistan, he poses a harrowing question: Are democratic societies with their proclivity for self-indulgence politically and psychologically equipped to win a protracted war against a totalitarian foe?
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For 57 years, Uwe Siemon-Netto, an international journalist from Germany, has reported about major world events including the construction and the fall of the Berlin Wall and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. He covered the Vietnam War over a period of five years, from 1965 until 1969 and then again in 1972. He has also written extensively about topics ranging from wine, food, classical music and modern art to religion. At age 50 he interrupted his career to earn an M.A. at a Lutheran seminary in Chicago and a doctorate in theology and sociology of religion at Boston University. His doctoral dissertation titled, The Fabricated Luther: Refuting Nazi Connections and Other Modern Myths, has been widely acclaimed as a resounding argument against the charge that the 16th-century German reformer could have been Hitler's progenitor. As part of his theological studies Siemon-Netto served as a chaplain to Vietnam veterans in Minnesota and wrote a significant book on pastoral care titled, The Acquittal of God: A Theology for Vietnam Veterans. Dr. Siemon-Netto now lives in southern California as a writer, educator and founding director emeritus of the Center for Lutheran Theology and Public Life in Capistrano Beach. Part of the year he and his British-born wife, Gillian, spend their time at their home in the Charente region of southwestern France. Find out more at: triumphoftheabsurd.comReview:
"As would be expected from a longtime professional journalist, Siemon-Netto's prose is clean and direct; it evokes the physical and cultural atmospheres of 1960's Vietnam without straining for effect. He introduces a large cast of characters-some fleeting, others persistent - and economically sketches their essential traits with admirable precision." - Kirkus Reviews
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