Originally an idealistic province-level do-gooder in the war’s earliest days, a disillusioned Carl Robinson quit in protest after Tet ’68 and became a journalist for the remainder of the Vietnam War, including running for those US helicopters as Saigon fell in April 1975. His dramatic and personal account, including the defining romance of his life and his addiction to heroin, are captured in this hugely colourful, brilliant and evocative story. The Bite of the Lotus takes you on a wild ride, documenting the terrors and injustice of the war at a local, familial level, and the stark reality of America’s flawed involvement in South Vietnam. It is also an insider’s view of how photographers and journalists functioned and somehow survived in this incendiary environment. The book includes harrowing accounts of helicopter flights reminiscent of scenes from Apocalypse Now, the camaraderie Carl had with those who perished covering combat, and his drug-fuelled friendship with Sean Flynn, the estranged son of Errol Flynn, and their stoned adventures riding motorbikes around the potentially lethal, war-torn and pot-holed landscapes of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.
Born in Massachusetts, USA, in September 1943, long-time Australian resident Carl Robinson lived and worked in South Vietnam as a civilian for the entire Vietnam War between 1964 and 1975. Working for The Associated Press (AP), Carl spent two years at the wire services New York headquarters before being assigned to Sydney in mid-1977. Fired barely a year later, he stayed in Australia, determined to overcome his embittering Vietnam experience and start a new life for his wife Kim-Dung and their three children. Since 1995, Carl returns frequently to post-war Vietnam leading tours, lecturing on cruises, organising reunions of former journalists and personal exploration. He is the author of Australia and Mongolia: Nomad Empire of Eternal Blue Sky (Odyssey Publications).
* Reads like a Hollywood movie.
* Thrilling non fiction first-hand account of the Vietnam War for readers who experienced the era or those interested in historical war narratives.