My friend and fellow author Terry Irving has edited this remarkable book about a subject of great interest to me – TV coverage of the Vietnam War. The book is by legendary war cameraman Yasutsune “Tony” Hirashiki who (with the help of longtime ABC producer Irving) tells the story of his ten years on the frontlines in Vietnam. There are big on-air names you will recognize (Ted Koppel, Sam Donaldson) – but also many others who covered what became known as the first “television” war. Some of the stories are filled with drama and heroism; others are scary as they recount the constant danger that journalists were in covering this war; and there’s also plenty of light-hearted moments. Like how Yasutsune Hirashiki got the nickname “Tony” so the ABC reporter he was working with could warn him to get out of danger quickly (“Keep your head down, Tony!”) instead of taking time in a firefight to yell out his full name! As someone who was a military journalist in the Army back in the ‘60s (I wound up being an intelligence analyst instead when I got to Vietnam, but that’s a whole other story), I found “On the Frontlines of the Television War” particularly fascinating. And I recommend it as a great read for anyone about this tumultuous time in our history.
R.G. Belsky is an author of crime fiction and a journalist in New York City. His new suspense thriller, BLONDE ICE, was published by Atria in 2016. It follows THE KENNEDY CONNECTION in 2014 and SHOOTING FOR THE STARS in 2015. They are part of a series of books featuring Gil Malloy, a hard-driving newspaper reporter with a penchant for breaking big stories on the front page of the New York Daily News. Belsky himself is a former managing editor at the Daily News and writes about the media from an extensive background in newspapers, magazines and TV/digital news. At the Daily News, he also held the titles of metropolitan editor and deputy national editor. Before that, he was metropolitan editor of the New York Post and news editor at Star magazine. Belsky was most recently the managing editor for news at NBCNews.com – where he worked closely with Nightly News with Brian Williams, the Today show and oversaw all digital news content on the NBCNews website. His previous suspense novels include PLAYING DEAD and LOVERBOY.