Associated Press (AP) have published a new book called Vietnam: The Real War, containing over 300 powerful images to mark the 50th anniversary of the conflict.
Published today, the book contains images of candid moments from the war chosen from over 200,000 AP photos, from front-line combat to Buddhist Monks committing self-immolation in protest.
The images changed public perception of the war. Photos, rather than video footage, were key in conveying to audiences around the world the brutality of the war in Vietnam. Video cameras were being used by journalists in Vietnam but lacked the impact of the small 35-millimetre camera, the tool of choice for photojournalists.
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Vietnam: The Real War carries an introduction from Pete Hamill, who reported from Vietnam in 1965: “Across the years of the war in Vietnam, the AP photographers saw more combat than any general.
“This book shows how good they were. As a young reporter, I had learned much from photographers about how to see, not merely look.
"From Vietnam, photographers taught the world how to see the war. Say the word ‘Vietnam’ today to most people of a certain age; the image that rises is usually a photograph.”
The book includes AP journalist Malcolm Browne’s shocking photo of a Buddhist monk taking his own life in petrol-fueled flames on a Saigon street in 1963, protesting the policies of the United States-backed South Vietnamese regime.
When President John F. Kennedy saw the photo of the burning monk, he reportedly remarked, “We’ve got to do something about that regime.”
Also included is the traumatic depiction of napalm attacks and the impact that chemical-based weapons had on civilians, including AP’s Nick Ut photo showing a scorched, naked girl fleeing a napalm attack.
Ut said of the girl in his famous picture "I cried when I saw her running, if I don't help her - if something happened and she died - I think I'd kill myself after that."
The photographer's older brother was reportedly killed on assignment with the AP in the southern Mekong Delta.
Nine years later, President Richard M. Nixon and an aide speculated about whether the “napalm girl” photo was somehow faked.
AP won six Pulitzer Prizes during its years of Vietnam War coverage, including four Pulitzers for photography. Last year, AP won the Pulitzer for Breaking News Photography for similar scenes of hostilities and casualties of civilians in harm’s way, this time in the Syrian civil war.
Vietnam: The Real War is available to buy from Amazon.
Flick through more images from Vietnam: The Real War: