Michael Maclear was a foreign correspondent for CBC-TV in the 1960s and early 1970s. His weekly CTV documentary series Maclearearned him an ACTRA Award as Best Broadcaster. In the early 1980s he wrote the television series and book Vietnam: The Ten Thousand Day War. In 2013 he was presented with the Canadian Journalism Foundation's lifetime achievement award. Maclear lives in Toronto.
A celebrated journalist finds himself reporting on the savage war in Vietnam while in combat with his own network.
In September 1969, Michael Maclear, the first Western television journalist allowed inside North Vietnam, was in Hanoi for major Canadian and U.S. networks. He recounted in gripping detail how an entire population had been trained for generations in guerrilla combat. His reporting that the North was motivated more by nationalism than Marxism was highly controversial.
Later Maclear was taken blindfolded to a Hanoi prison for captive U.S. pilots, some of whom condemned the war. Nixon’s White House said the Canadian reporter was duped, and Maclear’s own network questioned him in those terms on air. Later, the network found reason to dismiss Maclear as a foreign correspondent.
Recently, Maclear returned to Vietnam and interviewed surviving key figures from the war. In this book he includes startling new information on guerrilla tactics and delivers an impassioned argument for the necessity of journalistic impartiality and integrity.
Michael did not bring about the end of the conflict. But there is little doubt his work had global consequences, bringing the enemy into the living rooms of the American public, which experienced the war largely in government-imposed ignorance. Maclear's memory of the characters he encountered is surprisingly clear four decades later. He was a central figure in coverage of the conflict, and at long last, we have his behind-the-scenes account of a unique adventure, which made history.
Guerrilla Nation: My Wars in and Out of Vietnam gives a strong sense of the persistence of the experience of war and how it might take more than a lifetime to process, particularly from the perspective of a war correspondent.