One Crowded Hourby Published 17 May 2019
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This is the story of Neil Davis, the celebrated combat cameraman in Vietnam.
"One Crowded Hour" Reviews
My first "meeting" with Neil Davis was watching, on television, his death on the streets of Bangkok during one of those pathetic little coups that occasionally happened in that land of smiles, the camera rolling, rolling on a story that even at the last he couldn't abandon. I then met him again in Tim Bowden's excellent book. Davis did indeed live a "crowded life" and I can never hear the words of that poem without thinking of him, a person whose friend I would wish to have been.
one of the best biographies i've read.
This is an excellent biography of an Australian combat cameraman. Davis worked in Southeast Asia during the Indonesian Confrontation, Vietnam War and Cambodian civil war periods. He often experienced front line action, getting the pictures of soldiers in combat up close. He paid for this with his life in 1985. The high point of Davis’s career was capturing the image of North Vietnamese tanks entering the US embassy in April 1975. His experiences in Vietnam and Cambodia during 1974-75 make for compulsive reading. I would give this a 4.5.
Read it in a day so I suppose that warrants the five stars! Fascinating bio and a history lesson as well - all without glorifying war or the subject.
Picked this up at an op shop and started reading it on a whim. Its a really interesting biography of an Australian war correspondent from the 1960s to 1980s. The book describes in simple prose how Neil Davis dealt with the extreme trauma of covering the Vietnam and Cambodian wars in such a good humored, even-handed and empathetic way. Although, after dodging many a bullet, Davis died in violent circumstances, it is not a sad ending because he lived his life with a Samurai-like acceptance of risk and death, and their is little doubt, despite the misery he saw and the friends he lost, that he lived a happy and colorful life. Throughout the book, I kept asking myself: how I would have responded to such horrors and extreme stress?
The book also provides an entertaining insight into the correspondent lifestyle during this period, from Davis' many romantic dalliances (some of the stories might strike a modern reader as a little chauvinistic, although being an honest portrayal of the times) to his friendships with many of South East Asia's political elite. And while its not a history of the Indo-China war, as such, it provides a remarkably succinct description of the main political and military dynamics in Vietnam and Cambodia (although probably nothing new for those more on top of their history).
There are some less interesting chapters, mainly to do with his assignments outside of Asia, but the book never gets bogged down.
Overall its a really easy, interesting read. I plan to track down the documentary on Davis to learn more about him.