War Torn: Stories of war from the women reporters who covered Vietnam

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Vietnam War is known as one of the darkest times in American history and has the longest US combat force participation. Started from 1955, this costly war took 20 years to make America realise that they were unable to move forward. It ended in 1975 when Saigon fell, leaving the country and its people broken.

People outside Vietnam got to know everything that had happened inside the war zone. However, the process of getting those news items was not as trouble-free as reading and watching it on the paper and television.

“War Torn” is a collection of first-person essays written by ten female journalists who served as foreign correspondents during the Vietnam War. Some of these women fought their way for chances to cover the war; wrested that once in a lifetime opportunity from their hesitant editors who were afraid of sending women to war zones. Other journalists ended up in Vietnam by accident.

These remembrance of their memories, struggles, successes and experiences have become parts of the war. Each narrative recalls what they individually went through, a real reflection of the image of the devastating war.

In the book, journalists shared how they went into the war zone, risking their lives in between gun fires and bombs just to get the best stories. They covered the war in a unique and different way compared to their male counterparts, eventually making them reliable and sympathetic storytellers of a war that has affected millions. Female journalists turned their notebooks, pens and cameras into the most detailed and heart-wrenching stories of the devastating events. They were more than onlookers or witnesses of the war; they were the voice of the desperate people in the battlefield.

As time went by, they started getting fascinated by the beauty of the country; the beauty that was being destroyed.

Heartbrokenly, they had to leave Vietnam when Saigon fell in 1975. They tried to get their Vietnamese friends out with them. Some of them went back to Vietnam to visit friends who became family during a troubled time.

“War Torn” is a compilation of stories extracted not from the minds of the journalists, but from their hearts that felt what every Vietnamese felt.

As I read through the pages of the book, it brought me back to a time when my neighbouring country (and my very own nation as well) was in ruins. Each essay in the book made me visualise the war scenes. It made me feel like I was experiencing the war myself. I was inspired and fascinated by journalists’ strength and courage in the war zone, and how they risked their own lives in the name of their profession.

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