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Vietnam In Pictures

June 2024
1min read

Tim Page’s Nam

introduction by William
Shawcross, Thames and Hudson, 120 pages

The English photographer Tim Page got to Vietnam while the American buildup was still gathering momentum, settled into the life of a war corespondent, and liked it—liked the raffishness and the easy drugs and the danger. He got very close to the fighting; this is what happened when U.S. aircraft attacked the U.S. Coast Guard vessel he was aboard: “Here’s two [P]hantoms and a B-57 strafing us with twin Vulcans blazing, giving us a stem-to-stern strafing. They hit some gas drums, which started cooking off, and I watched a guy get his hand blown off. The skipper went up to the bridge to try and signal to the jets that we were friendlies and they blew him away. They made nine passes, and blasted the living hell out of the ship. Everybody on board was killed or wounded, I had pieces of commo wire coming out of my head like porcupine quills, a bone sticking out of my arm and countless shrapnel punctures.” Page left, came back, took a piece of shrapnel in his brain in 1969, then left for good, bringing away with him a literature of photographs that are perhaps the very best to come out of the Vietnam War. This fine collection is back in print after more than a decade, and its images are as urgent, immediate, and unsettling as they were when they first began to be published a generation ago. Page shows us the full spectrum of the war: fire, machinery, tired men,
cheerful men goofing around with Playboy magazines and beer, a child weeping over his mother, dead on a truck bed, and tanks grinding off through the haze down a straight, dusty road past the shrill white curl of a human spine.

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