Mark Bowden Returns To Battle

Soaring up the Amazon sales charts prior to its release on Tuesday is Mark Bowden’s Hue 1968: A Turning Point of the American War in Vietnam (Atlantic Monthly Press; OverDrive Sample), hailed by a strong review in the Wall Street Journal, which says it makes “brilliant use of contemporary records and of previously untapped archives.”

Bowden’s first battle book since the 1999 award-winning Black Hawk Down details the bloodiest engagement of the Vietnam War, one that lasted nearly a month and which was the centerpiece of the Tet Offensive.

The BBC writes that Bowden not only follows the military units, but “gives voice to dozens, including … President Lyndon Johnson and General William Westmoreland … and reporters David Halberstam, Michael Herr, Gene Roberts, Walter Cronkite and others who changed the way Americans perceived the war.”

Screen rights have already been sold for an 8-10 hour miniseries to be produced by Michael Mann (Heat; The Last of the Mohicans) reports Deadline Hollywood. Mann, who recently established his own imprint with HarperCollins, calls the book:

“a masterpiece of intensely dramatic non-fiction. Bowden’s achievement is in making “them” into us … There are no background people; people abstracted into statistics, body counts. There is the sense that everybody is somebody, as each is in the actuality of their own lives. The brilliance of Bowden’s narrative, the achievement of interviewing hundreds of people on all sides and making their human stories his foundation, is why Huế 1968 rises to the emotional power and universality of For Whom The Bell Tolls and All Quiet On The Western Front.”

Booklist and Kirkus star it, with Kirkus writing “One of the best books on a single action in Vietnam, written by a tough, seasoned journalist who brings the events of a half-century past into sharp relief.” It is excerpted in Vanity Fair.

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