A Reader on Stanley Karnow

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A reader with experience in Asia writes, in a note with the subject line "Karnow in the Harvard journalism pantheon":

I don't believe you can understand the period [Vietnam and the Sixties] without reading Karnow, Halberstam, and Teddy White basically at same time.

Adding Robert Caro is probably needed as well.*

Any university course on the early 60's, LBJ, and Vietnam is really quite vacuous without these 4 writers.
He is referring of course to Stanley Karnow, who died over the weekend at age 87 (Library of Congress photo). Here is my favorite part of the NYT obituary:
Early in his career he lived in Paris for a decade, and in 1997 he published a memoir, "Paris in the Fifties." A nostalgic reporter's notebook of life among the cafe philosophers, berated [??]** musicians and pseudo-revolutionary artistes, it danced with digressions about taxes, restaurants, the guillotine, Hemingway, Charles de Gaulle and the Devil's Island penal colony.

In its range, learning and appetite for fun, Bernard Kalb, the former CBS reporter and Mr. Karnow's friend since Vietnam, told The Associated Press in 2009, the memoir was vintage Karnow. "Stanley has a great line about how being a journalist is like being an adolescent all your life," he said.
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* For the record, Theodore White (born 1915), Stanley Karnow (b 1925), and David Halberstam (b 1934) all went to Harvard, though obviously not at the same time. Robert Caro, Halberstam's contemporary, went to Princeton.

** Thanks to reader VM who pointed out that this is probably supposed to be "bereted," as in "wearing a beret."
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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.
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