Join us for an Author talk with author and longtime reporter George Black along with Chuck Searcy, Georgia-born Vietnam War veteran and one of the people whose story is featured in Black’s new book The Long Reckoning: A Story of War, Peace, and Redemption in Vietnam.
The moving story of how a small group of people—including two Vietnam veterans—forced the U.S. government to take responsibility for the ongoing horrors—agent orange and unexploded munitions—inflicted on the Vietnamese.
"Fifty years after the last U.S. service member left Vietnam, the scars of that war remain...This [is the] remarkable story of a group of individuals determined to heal those enduring wounds.”
—Elliot Ackerman, author of The Fifth Act and 2034
The American war in Vietnam has left many long-lasting scars that have not yet been sufficiently examined. The worst of them were inflicted in a tiny area bounded by the demilitarized zone between North and South Vietnam and the Ho Chi Minh Trail in neighboring Laos. That small region saw the most intense aerial bombing campaign in history, the massive use of toxic chemicals, and the heaviest casualties on both sides.
In The Long Reckoning, George Black recounts the inspirational story of the small cast of characters—veterans, scientists, and Quaker-inspired pacifists, and their Vietnamese partners—who used their moral authority, scientific and political ingenuity, and sheer persistence to attempt to heal the horrors that were left in the wake of the military engagement in Southeast Asia. Their intersecting story is one of reconciliation and personal redemption, embedded in a vivid portrait of Vietnam today, with all its startling collisions between past and present, in which one-time mortal enemies, in the endless shape-shifting of geopolitics, have been transformed into close allies and partners.
The Long Reckoning is being published on the fiftieth anniversary of the day the last American combat soldier left Vietnam.
In The News.
About the Author
George Black is the author of seven previous books on subjects including India, China, and foreign policy. His writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, and many other publications. He lives in New York City.
About our Featured Guest
Chuck Searcy is International Advisor for Project RENEW, a partnership between Quang Tri Province and international NGOs. Project RENEW’s mission is to make Vietnam safe from the threat of explosive ordnance (EO) through Risk Education, EOD Quick Response teams, survey and data collection. Since Project RENEW began in the year 2001 the accident rate in Quang Tri Province has dropped from an average of some 80 casualties a year a decade ago to zero accidents in 2018, and only two accidents since then.
Searcy has represented three American veteran organizations in Viet Nam since 1995, including Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation (VVAF), Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF), and Veterans For Peace (VFP) which is today the only American veterans organization licensed and based in Vietnam. Searcy is a Lifetime Member of VFP, and President of Chapter 160 of Vets For Peace in Vietnam. He is a Life Member of Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA).
A graduate of the University of Georgia with a BA in political science, in 1974 Searcy co-founded and managed a weekly newspaper, the Athens (Georgia) Observer, and for 12 years was editor and publisher. In 1979 and 1980 he was Assistant Administrator for Public Communications for the U.S. Small Business Administration in the Carter Administration, and from 1986 to 1989 was Press Secretary for U.S. Senator Wyche Fowler of Georgia. From 1989 to 1994 Searcy was Executive Director of the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, a professional membership organization of some 3,000 attorneys. Searcy helped redirect the association’s mission to focus on consumer rights, public safety, and health issues.
A veteran of the Vietnam War, Searcy enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1966. He was trained as an intelligence analyst and served in the 519th Military Intelligence Battalion in Saigon from June, 1967 to June,1968. Assigned to the Combined Intelligence Center, Vietnam (CICV), Searcy worked on classified intelligence assessments and reports. His last year in the Army was spent at U.S. Army Europe headquarters in Heidelberg, Germany where he worked in the European intelligence collection unit.
In Hanoi Searcy was elected to eight terms as a member of the Board of Governors of the American Chamber of Commerce until voluntarily stepping aside. Searcy is an active member of the NGO Resource Center where he co-founded the Landmines Working Group. He was co-chairman of the Agent Orange Working Group.
In 2004, the National Friendship Medal of the State of Vietnam was awarded to Searcy with a citation signed by the President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Hon. Tran Duc Luong. The medal, which was presented at a ceremony by the nation’s Vice President, Mme. Truong My Hoa, is Vietnam’s highest honor for foreigners who have served the country.
Promotional language provided by publisher.