THE MARK

A War Correspondent's Memoir of Vietnam and Cambodia

“As soon as Nick mentioned the mark, I knew I had it, I knew we both did. Having the mark meant being addicted to Vietnam, being used to intrigue and pumping adrenaline and layer after layer of lie, truth, lie, truth, until the two were indistinguishable; the mark was the perverse and frightened expression of our love.”

 

                — from the Prologue

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— Named one of the top censored books of the year by Project Censored

 

 

"He's produced a nearly pure narrative of wide-eyed clarity purged of ostentatious soul-searching, geopolitical theorizing and apocalyptic special effects-- we've had all that before. What he has to offer is the texture of the search for truth in a landscape of lies. It reads almost like a coming-of-age novel, albeit a coming of age in hell. An American innocent abroad, suddenly forced to navigate murky and treacherous currents, paddling up shit creek to the heart of darkness.”

 

                — Ron Rosenbaum, The New York Observer

 

"Journalistic memoirs are often self-congratulatory attempts to fortify an author's fading reputation by rehashing large chunks of history through personal anecdotes. Jacques Leslie-- foreign correspondent in Vietnam and Cambodia for the Los Angeles Times -- makes no pompous claims in The Mark. Instead, he takes readers back into the mind of an adventurous young reporter in Saigon at the height of the Vietnam war and relives the confusion, fear, wonder, and excitement of it all with an engaging honesty. 

 

                — Digby Diehl, Playboy Magazine

 

"Jacques Leslie falls into an assignment that, in retrospect, was one of the most coveted posts in the pantheon of journalism: Indochina during the Vietnam War. His story is not that of what took place in the war, however: This is not a mishmash of reworked scrapbook memories. It is a thoughtful examination of his life changed, what the war stripped away from him and what it left behind.” 

 

                — Whit Andrews, WriterL

 

"Some of the astonishing passages here have never been reported before: Leslie's description of his historic, uncharted trip into Viet Cong territory ("'WE ARE FRIENDS,' VIET CONG TELLS VISITING U.S. NEWSMAN," ran the headline) reads like something out of "Brigadoon." And it's a pleasure to watch him compile a beautifully researched exposé on a high-level banking, smuggling, and salvaging operation-- even if that story eventually resulted in his expulsion from Vietnam."

 

                — Patricia Holt, San Francisco Chronicle

"Writing of his time in Vietnam and Cambodia after an absence of twenty years, Leslie transcends the established genres of journalism and war with intelligence, irony, and spiritual vision. He confesses the blood-voyeur thrill he felt at that time of watching others die.”

 

                — Robert Payne, The San Diego Review