For those who served their country honorably, the horrors of Vietnam are best left forgotten. But for Burbank freelance journalist Marc Phillip Yablonka, the Vietnam War served as the inspiration for his life’s work. Yablonka’s first book, “Distant War: Recollections of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia” is an expansive collection of Vietnam-related articles he wrote for various military magazines and newspapers, and quite an interesting read.
In the prologue, Yablonka admits that he came to the Vietnam War “eight months after it was over.” Yet the war was never more than an earshot away. Like most baby boomers, he grew up in an era when American body counts were broadcast live and in color via the evening news. It was a contentious time in American history, and one that Yablonka saw himself ill prepared for.
That is until a small film called “The Killing Fields,” based on the New York Times reporter Sydney Schanberg’s reportage of the Cambodian War, changed his life. As Yablonka notes of his initial reaction to the film, “it eventually became clear to me that if I had a true purpose in life, it was to be a chronicler of war.”