“Readers will never again be able to delude themselves that men who go to war can walk away from it unscarred, even if those scars take years to surface.”Robert Timberg, author of Blue-Eyed Boy and The Nightingale’s Song, a NY Times Notable Book of the Year
“As a veteran of that era, I felt every word of every page. Putzel has delivered a gripping and touching work of art.”W. Craig Reed, New York Times bestselling author of Cold War III: How the U.S. Navy can Defeat Putin and Halt Climate Change
"A great story...that needs to be told"Bob Schieffer, CBS News
"An 'All Quiet on the Western Front' of the war in Vietnam"Bill Kovach, former New York Times and Atlanta Journal-Constitution editor, co-author of 'Blur: How to Know What's True in the Age of Information Overload'
"This book is a triumph of both dogged, fair, accurate journalism and a singularly brilliant immersion into a world most readers will find literally incredible."Randolph C. Harrison, combat veteran, journalist, author
"Superb, one of the finest books of the Vietnam War era"'Avid Reader,'

The Price They Paid is the stunning and dramatic true story of a legendary air cavalry commander in Vietnam and the soldiers who followed him into the most intensive helicopter warfare ever—and how that brutal experience has changed their lives in the forty years since the war ended.

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Michael's Blog

A fateful day

Posted by Michael Putzel • February 10, 2016

Forty-five years ago today, February 10, 1971, I lost a dear friend and mentor. Our journalism profession lost not only my friend, Henri Huet of The Associated Press, but three other esteemed comrades when their helicopter was shot down over Laos.

By the time he died at 43, Henri had already shot some of the most remarkable and memorable war photographs of his time. Among those killed with him, Larry Burrows of LIFE magazine had similarly captured images that spoke volumes about the agony and devastation of war. Two younger, but also gifted photographers, Keisaburo Shimamoto of Newsweek and Kent Potter of UPI, went down with them. Hardly noticed was another young photographer, a gentle South Vietnamese army sergeant named Tu Vu, who sold some of his best work to […] READ MORE

A documentary portrays the pain of PTSD

Posted by Michael Putzel • February 05, 2016

A young woman who grew up with her father’s PTSD has tracked down some of his fellow soldiers for a short documentary that captures the agony of wartime injuries that won’t go away.



Kara Frame, a multimedia intern at National Public Radio (NPR), produced and directed I Will Go Back Tonight, a 20-minute video that combines images of young infantrymen whose company was overwhelmed by an enemy force in Vietnam with present-day interviews of some of the survivors and their families.


The 90 men of Charlie Company, 1st Mechanized Battalion, 5th Infantry, accompanied by armored personnel carriers, their “tracks,” entered the Ben Cui rubber plantation the morning of August 21, 1968, knowing they were in for a fight. They didn’t know the force awaiting them about 40 miles north of Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam, was perhaps […] READ MORE