St. Louis native Mark Bowden discusses his new book about the turning point of the Vietnam War | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis native Mark Bowden discusses his new book about the turning point of the Vietnam War

Oct 20, 2017

The premiere of Ken Burns and Lynn Novik’s PBS documentary about the Vietnam War garnered nearly 12 million viewers.

“It was fortuitous for me in a number of ways,” said Mark Bowden, a St. Louis native and author of a new book about the Vietnam War, “Huế 1968: A Turning Point of the American War in Vietnam.”

“The series has obviously piqued a lot of interest in Vietnam,” he said.

“Huế 1968” focuses on the Tet Offensive, part of which was the Battle of Huế, the bloodiest of the entire war – a 24 day event in which about 10,000 people died.

Prior to 1945, Huế was Vietnam’s capital.

“Huế was the capital so it had tremendous symbolic and cultural importance,” Bowden said.

In the book, Bowden captured many perspectives. He spoke with American soldiers, former generals and Vietnamese people who experienced the war.

“I built these stories from the ground up. I’m more a journalist than a historian,” he said. “I rely on firsthand accounts.

“Stories like this ought to underline how war should be an absolutely last resort,” Bowden said.

Bowden is also the author of “Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War,” which was adapted into a film of the same name.

 

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