GRIFFITHS, Philip Jones. Vietnam Inc. New York and London: The Macmillan Company and Collier-Macmillan Ltd, 1971.

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GRIFFITHS, Philip Jones.
Vietnam Inc.
New York and London: The Macmillan Company, 1971.

4to (278 × 203 mm), pp.224. 268 black-and-white photographs. Plain endpapers; light handling marks, short closed tear to bottom of one page, shelfmark in pencil to verso of title-page, small tape marks to endpapers, small stain to rear pastedown at foot of spine, light toning to page edges. Black cloth-covered boards, spine and rear lettered in silver; rubbing to bottom edge at extremities. Black-and-white photo-illustrated dust-jacket, white, text in black; light wear to edges, shallow surface scratches and light creasing to front and rear panels, laminate lifting slightly at bottom of front spine-fold, light stain to verso of rear flap-fold, light toning to flap extremities. A very good copy.

First edition, the scarce hardcover issue. Unconfirmed reports suggest that only around 200 copies of this cloth issue were produced for distribution to libraries, as is the case with this copy, and to members of congress. When asked, Jones Griffiths suggested that it was also a way for the publisher to pay less in royalties as the percentage for the simultaneous issue in wrappers would have been less. He also told me that the only reason Vietnam Inc. was published in the first place was because an editor at Macmillan had lost his son during the war, and had fought for its publication.

Griffiths photographed the conflict in Vietnam over a period of three years, emphasising the unequal relationship between humanity and technology and contrasting the lives of the Vietnamese civilians with the increasingly mechanised American war-effort. As he explained, ‘This book is not intended to be a list of the tactics which failed, compiled for the purpose of overcoming the deficiencies and ensuring success next time. The American miscalculations made in Vietnam are overshadowed by and stem from the folly of the original view that deemed it possible for a society like America’s to impose itself on that of the Vietnamese. This view was based on an ignorance that later frustrated progress and prompted recourse to the asset America has in abundance – the tools of destruction.’

Roth, A., The Open Book: A History of the Photographic Book from 1878 to the Present pp.274-5; Parr, M. and Badger, G., The Photobook: A History vol.II pp.250-1 (Both of which only mention the Collier issue in wrappers).


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