Saturday, August 15, 2020

Book Review and GIVEAWAY - The Journalist: Life and Loss in America's Secret War, by Jerry A. Rose {ends 8/22}

Guest review by: Becki Bayley

The dirt roads are craggy and craterous, difficult for our aging bus. Despite an occasional seizure of sweaty palms, my companions show fine courage in sticking with me.

As we drive down a dirt road, we come to a point where a bamboo tree has been bent over the road. Vuong and Ba say a few words to each other in Vietnamese. Then Vuong says to me, “This doesn’t look good. This is a message from the Viet Cong - they are trying to tell us to go away, to warn us off.”

“What do you think we should do?” I ask both of them.

Vuong and Ba are silent for a moment; then they speak again with each other in Vietnamese. Finally, Vuong says, “What do you think, Jerry? It’s up to you.”

I take a deep breath and say, “I think we should go on.” But I feel a chill in my spine - I’m responsible for their lives too.

Vuong and I get out and cut the lashing on the tree. We keep going.

Jerry Rose’s sister Lucy spent years going over Jerry’s notes, photos, articles, and journals to recreate his career path and life in Vietnam from 1959 - 1965. His story from this time is finally a book that shares his passion for his life and work in several Asian countries.

Official synopsis:
Book Review and GIVEAWAY - The Journalist: Life and Loss in America's Secret War, by Jerry A. Rose {ends 8/22}
Jerry Rose, a young journalist and photographer in Vietnam, exposed the secret beginnings of America’s Vietnam War in the early 1960s. Putting his life in danger, he interviewed Vietnamese villagers in a countryside riddled by a war of terror and intimidation and embedded himself with soldiers on the ground, experiences that he distilled into the first major article to be written about American troops fighting in Vietnam. His writing was acclaimed as “war reporting that ranks with the best of Ernest Hemingway and Ernie Pyle,” and in the years to follow, Time, The New York Times, The Reporter, New Republic, and The Saturday Evening Post regularly published his stories and photographs.

In spring 1965, Jerry’s friend and former doctor, Phan Huy Quat, became the new Prime Minister of Vietnam, and he invited Jerry to become an advisor to his government. Jerry agreed, hoping to use his deep knowledge of the country to help Vietnam. In September 1965, while on a trip to investigate corruption in the provinces of Vietnam, he died in a plane crash in Vietnam, leaving behind a treasure trove of journals, letters, stories, and a partially completed novel. The Journalist is the result of his sister, Lucy Rose Fischer, taking those writings and crafting a memoir in “collaboration” with her late brother―giving the term “ghostwritten” a whole new meaning.

The beginning of the book has Jerry Rose deciding to move to Vietnam for just a couple years to teach English. It sounded like just a fun diversion at first—take a couple years to teach at the University of HuĂȘ, then return to finish his PhD program. What started as just a chance to take a break from the rigors of completing his formal education and focus on his writing and painting, became a trip that changed the rest of his life.

The stories from Jerry’s life from 1959-1965 were recreated from his sister’s research of his journals, notes and photographs, along with interviews with the people closest to him. The final product is a conversational and enjoyable retelling of events in Jerry’s life in Vietnam and the surrounding countries, as well as the impressions of Jerry and his friends regarding the constantly changing political culture in Vietnam in the early 1960s that most Americans were unaware of.

Overall, this was a great non-fiction book that read more as a novel than a biography. I’d give it 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for adults who enjoy history, non-fiction, memoirs, and politics.

{click here to purchase - only $8.99 for Kindle}

Becki Bayley learns most things in her life through reading. Knowledge is power - the more you know, the more you know. Check out more of what she’s reading at


One of my lucky readers will win a copy of The Journalist!

Enter via the widget below. Giveaway will end on Saturday, August 22nd, at 11:59pm EST, and winner will be notified via email the next day, and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

U.S. residents only, please.

Good luck!

The Journalist: Life and Loss in America's Secret War, by Jerry A. Rose


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