6 search results for "Vietnam Zippos"

Vietnam Zippos in the NYTBR

December 6, 2007
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Vietnam Zippos in the NYTBR

The New York Times Book Review ran a piece about Sherry Buchanan’s new book Vietnam Zippos: American Soldiers’ Engravings and Stories in last Sunday’s holiday books wrap up. Placing Buchanan’s book on his list of new art and design books for the season, reviewer Steven Heller writes: For grunts fighting the Vietnam War, statements of patriotism and protest found an outlet… on metal Zippo lighters. Vietnam Zippos, illustrated with objects from the collection of the artist Bradford Edwards, documents what the author, Sherry Buchanan, calls “amulets and talismans bringing the keeper invulnerability, good luck and protection against evil.” Sadly, these personalized mementos also served as last testaments for many who were killed in action. An extensive published record exists for documents and relics from the Vietnam War, yet this book, well designed and photographed by Misha Anikst, offers a rare personal dimension. The mottoes on these lighters, like “When I die I will go to heaven because I spent my time in hell,” provide candid insight into what these soldiers thought of the war. Read the rest of the review on the NYTBR website. . . .

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Vietnam Zippos on the CBS Evening News

October 22, 2007
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Vietnam Zippos on the CBS Evening News

Sherry Buchanan’s Vietnam Zippos: American Soldiers’ Engravings and Stories received some prime time publicity Saturday on CBS’s Evening News. Buchanan’s book showcases a collection of Vietnam era Zippo lighters to tell the fascinating story of how the humble Zippo became a talisman and companion for American GIs during their tours of duty. CBS correspondent John Blackstone asks Vietnam vet Hap Desimone “if it seems strange to see the lighters depicted as art:” “No,” he says. “It doesn’t seem strange at all.” In Vietnam, every soldier, it seemed, had a Zippo. “I carried one,” Desimone says. “I had it engraved.” With the engravings Zippos became the one place soldiers could express themselves. “A lot of these sentiments I heard before, ‘We’re the unwilling led by the unqualified doing the unnecessary for the ungrateful’,” he says. “It rings a bell.…” The piece continues quoting artist Bradford Edwards whose collection is featured in Vietnam Zippos: “You had people who were discontent people who wanted to express heartfelt emotions,” he says. “And here was a small canvas.” “They look like a collection of tombstones,” Edwards says. “And they may be the last thing some of these guys had to say.” While some of the . . .

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The Things They Carried (and Painted)

January 29, 2009
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The Things They Carried (and Painted)

This weekend marks the 41st anniversary of the beginning of the Tet Offensive, a major assault launched during the tacit lunar New Year ceasefire by the Viet Cong against the South Vietnamese and American armies. Though American forces quickly turned back the onslaught, the campaign was a political and psychological victory for the Communists and further eroded US support for the war. Demonized by Americans as reds, gooks, and fanatical killers, the Viet Cong were said to have “committed the most unbelievable acts of terrorism the world has ever known,” as Hubert Humphrey once declared. But a new book offers an entirely new perspective on these enemy fighters. Mekong Diaries: Viet Cong Drawings and Stories, 1964-1975, by Sherry Buchanan, presents never-before-published drawings, poems, letters, and oral histories by ten of the most celebrated Viet Cong war artists. These guerrilla artists—some military officers and some civilians—lived clandestinely with the fighters, moving camp alongside them, going on reconnaissance missions, and carrying their sketchbooks, ink, and watercolors into combat. Trained by professors from the Hanoi Institute of Fine Arts who journeyed down the perilous Ho Chi Minh Trail to ensure a pictorial history of the war, they recorded battles and events from Operation . . .

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Not a “Zippohead”

January 15, 2008
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Not a “Zippohead”

Bradford Edwards, the artist whose astonishing collection of Vietnam-era Zippo lighters is featured in Vietnam Zippos: American Soldiers’ Engravings and Stories (1965-1973), was interviewed yesterday on All Things Considered by NPR’s senior Asian correspondent Michael Sullivan. In the interview, which took place on the streets of Ho Chi Minh City, Sullivan explored Edwards unique fascination with these relics of war: Edwards insists he’s not a “Vietnam Zippohead.” “I’m not a Zippo collector. I’m not somebody into the Zippo, per se,” he says.… “I’m not into it because, really, of the war or because of memorabilia or because of any real, I would say, direct historical aspect. I’m in it for the artistic sensibility and the direct emotional expression that you see via text or images,” he says. Edwards calls the Zippos left behind “pure art without ambition”—personal narratives that capture the mixed emotions of a confusing time and place. Navigate to the NPR website to view photographs of Edwards and displays of Zippos, plus the archived audio and transcript of the interview. . . .

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More favorites for 2007

January 3, 2008
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More favorites for 2007

Although most of the papers have already published their year-end favorites lists, there are a few that are still showing up here and there giving some Press books a little post holiday shout-out. It might have been a little more hopeful but in Newsday‘s recent list of their “favorites of ’07” reviewer Claire Dederer mentions Ashley Gilbertson’s photo chronicle of the conflict in the middle east, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot: A Photographer’s Chronicle of the Iraq War as she laments (among other things) the lack of closure 2007 saw on the Iraq war: It’s been a pretty lousy year. For starters, we’re not having a good war: Witness the whole, shocking truth in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, a book of photographs by The New York Times‘ Ashley Gilbertson, with an introduction by Dexter Filkins. You can read the rest of her recommendations on the Newsday website. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot also made it onto Amazon.com’s best 100 books of 2007 as did a similar title, Vietnam Zippos: American Soldiers’ Engravings and Stories (1965-1973)—a fascinating book filled with images of the Zippo lighters GI’s in Vietnam used not only to light their cigarettes, but as forms of artistic expression. View the complete Amazon top . . .

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The Zippo as protest art

November 12, 2007
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The Zippo as protest art

Sherry Buchanan’s new book Vietnam Zippos: American Soldiers’ Engravings and Stories has been receiving attention from some very different sources recently. This month both Playboy magazine and a magazine called The Armchair General are running reviews of the book. Yet despite the two magazine’s obvious disparities, both seem to agree that Vietnam Zippos offers a unique medium of expression for the often marginalized voices of the American GI’s that served in Vietnam. From Playboy magazine: For American soldiers in Vietnam, the Zippo lighter was an essential talisman; its chrome casing was also a convenient canvas on which fighters expressed their anger and frustration. In Vietnam Zippos, edited by Sherry Buchanan, these unique artifacts tell the story of a war gone sour. Lyndon Johnson’s observation that “ultimate victory will depend upon the hearts and minds of the people” inspired the gleeful savagery of “Give me your hearts and minds or I will wreck your f—ing huts.”… Later, as enthusiasm for the war ebbed, lighters feature such deep thoughts as “When the power of love is as strong as the love of power, then there will be peace.” Also be sure to check out the Armchair General article online here. . . .

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