How do you build a monument to a war that was more tragic than triumphant? James Reston, Jr. discusses the controversy surrounding Maya Lin’s winning design for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and also describes how veterans’ views on the memorial have evolved over time. He chronicles these stories and more in his new book, A Rift in the Earth: Art, Memory, and the Fight for a Vietnam War Memorial, which provides the focus for this episode of Wilson Center NOW.

 

Guest

James Reston, Jr. is a Wilson Center Global Fellow who previously served as an assistant to Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall. He later served in the US Army from 1965 to 1968. He is the bestselling author of eighteen books—including The Conviction of Richard Nixon: The Untold Story of the Frost/Nixon Interviews, which helped inspire the film Frost/Nixon (2008)—three plays, and numerous articles in The New YorkerVanity Fair, and the New York Times Magazine. He won the Prix Italia and Dupont-Columbus Award for his NPR radio documentary, Father Cares: The Last of Jonestown. His latest book is titled, A Rift in the Earth: Art, Memory, and the Fight for a Vietnam War Memorial.

 

 

Host
John Milewski is the executive producer and managing editor of Wilson Center NOW and also serves as director of Wilson Center ON DEMAND digital programming. Previously he served as host and producer of Dialogue at the Wilson Center and Close Up on C-SPAN. He also teaches a course on politics and media for Penn State’s Washington Program.