Larry Burrows: Vietnam
by Larry Burrows
In the heat of battle, in the devastated countryside, among troops and civilians equally hurt by the
savagery of war, Larry Burrows photographed the conflict in Vietnam from 1962, the earliest days of American involvement, until 1971, when he died in a helicopter shot down on the Vietnam-Laos border. His images, published in Life magazine, brought the war home, scorching the consciousness of the public and inspiring much of the anti-war sentiment that convulsed American society in the 1960s.
To see these photo essays today, gathered in one volume and augmented by unpublished images from the Burrows archive, is to experience (or to relive), with extraordinary immediacy, both the war itself and the effect and range of Larry Burrows's gifts-his courage: to shoot "The Air War," he strapped himself and his camera to the open doorway of a plane . . . his reporter's instinct: accompanying the mission of the helicopter Yankee Papa 13, he captured the transformation of a young marine crew chief experiencing the death of fellow marines . . . and his compassion: in "Operation Prairie" and "A Degree of Disillusion" he published profoundly affecting images of exhausted, bloodied troops and maimed Vietnamese children, both wounded, physically and psychologically, by the ever-escalating war.
The photographs Larry Burrows took in Vietnam, magnificently reproduced in this volume, are brutal, poignant, and utterly truthful, a stunning example of photojournalism that recorded history and achieved the level of great art. Indeed, in retrospect, says David Halberstam in his moving introduction, "Larry Burrows was as much historian as photographer and artist. Because of his work, generations born long after he died will be able to witness and understand and feel the terrible events he recorded. This book is his last testament."
With 150 illustrations, 100 in full color