A fabulous, fast-paced and stirring memoir of the Vietnam War from an American civilian who bitterly self-exiled himself to Australia afterwards to start life over again.
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.
Written with candour and dark humour, Carl’s astonishing story set against the backdrop of unremitting war embraces the enduring hope and indomitable spirit of the Vietnamese people.