In This Review

Public Affairs: The Military and the Media, 1968-1973
Public Affairs: The Military and the Media, 1968-1973
By William M. Hammond
Center of Military History, 1996, 659 pp

The heroes of this book are neither the press in Vietnam nor those they covered, but the American people, who displayed independence of judgment and a substantial measure of contempt for all those who sought to manipulate them. The author, who in a previous volume discussed the media in the early phases of the conflict, does a magnificent job of describing the painful relationship between the military and the press in Vietnam. His work will thereby discourage those who would see the Vietnam-era press either as a pack of scurrilous antimilitary subversives or, conversely, as paladins of truth at odds with a corrupt and compulsively dishonest military establishment. This is a tale of complexity, a solidly wrought, painstakingly honest, and disinterested history of the kind that represents the work of the Army Center of Military History at its outstanding best and amply justifies the existence of such an institution. Officers and civilian government officials alike would do well to read it with the utmost care, for the problems described herein cut to the heart of a modern democracy at war.