Death Zones and Darling Spies

Death Zones and Darling Spies

Seven Years of Vietnam War Reporting

Beverly Deepe Keever

Studies in War, Society, and the Military Series

360 pages
30 photographs, 1 map, 2 appendixes

Paperback

May 2013

978-0-8032-2261-8

$26.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Chosen for 2015 One Book One Nebraska

In 1961, equipped with a master’s degree from famed Columbia Journalism School and letters of introduction to Associated Press bureau chiefs in Asia, twenty-six-year-old Beverly Deepe set off on a trip around the world. Allotting just two weeks to South Vietnam, she was still there seven years later, having then earned the distinction of being the longest-serving American correspondent covering the Vietnam War and garnering a Pulitzer Prize nomination.

In Death Zones and Darling Spies, Beverly Deepe Keever describes what it was like for a farm girl from Nebraska to find herself halfway around the world, trying to make sense of one of the nation’s bloodiest and bitterest wars. She arrived in Saigon as Vietnam’s war entered a new phase and American helicopter units and provincial advisers were unpacking. She tells of traveling from her Saigon apartment to jungles where Wild West–styled forts first dotted Vietnam’s borders and where, seven years later, they fell like dominoes from communist-led attacks. In 1965 she braved elephant grass with American combat units armed with unparalleled technology to observe their valor—and their inability to distinguish friendly farmers from hide-and-seek guerrillas.

Keever’s trove of tissue-thin memos to editors, along with published and unpublished dispatches for New York and London media, provide the reader with you-are-there descriptions of Buddhist demonstrations and turning-point coups as well as phony ones. Two Vietnamese interpreters, self-described as “darling spies,” helped her decode Vietnam’s shadow world and subterranean war. These memoirs, at once personal and panoramic, chronicle the horrors of war and a rise and decline of American power and prestige.

Author Bio

Beverly Deepe Keever is professor emerita at the University of Hawaii and the author of News Zero: The New York Times and the Bomb. She was inducted into the Marian Andersen Nebraska Women Journalists Hall of Fame in 2015.

Praise

"In this powerfully plainspoken account, one of the leading female journalists of the Vietnam War relays her personal experience of the bloody conflict that divided America and changed the global political landscape. . . . Whether reporting from the ditches of the siege of Khe Sanh, detailing the harried arrival of U.S. Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge, or fondly recalling her friendship with Pham Xuan An (one of the eponymous "darling spies"), Keever provides a ground-level look—by turns shrewd, lucid, and humane—of the war in Vietnam."—Publishers Weekly

"Beverly Deepe Keever is a brilliant journalist, and her book is both a personal journal and a journalist's personal perspective on a long war."—Foreword Reviews

"These memoirs, at once personal and panoramic, chronicle the horrors of war and a rise and decline of American power and prestige."—Bob Edmonds, McCormick Messenger

"Beverly Deepe Keever does an excellent job of recounting her unique Vietnam War experiences."—Marc Leepson, Books in Review II

"Keever is an excellent storyteller. . . . Death Zones & Darling Spies adds a woman's view to the many retrospectives on the Vietnam War—a war covered and perpetrated mostly by men."—Carolyn Johnsen, Lincoln Journal Star

"Crisp and well-documented."—James Boylan, Columbia Journalism Review

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Preface

Introduction: From Midwest Dustbowl to Mystical Vietnam

1. The People's War

2. Rice-Roots Reporting

3. "The World's First Helicopter War"

4. The Rise and Fall of Frontier Forts

5. Two Ill-Fated Presidents

6. "The United States Will Lose Southeast Asia"

7. Americanizing the War

8. Her Story as History Too

9. "Destroy the Town to Save It"

10. From Khe Sanh to the "Virtual Equivalent of Treason"

11. Two "Darling Spies" and I

Appendix 1: Author's Vietnam Articles in U.S. Publications

Appendix 2: Author's 1966 New York Herald Tribune Series (Inserted into the Congressional Record by Senator Mike Mansfield)

Notes

Source Acknowledgments

Index

Awards

2015 One Book One Nebraska selection

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