Potomac, MD – Stanley Karnow, a long-serving reporter in the Vietnam War and a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and journalist, has died. He was 87.
According to son Michael Karnow, his father passed away in his sleep on Sunday at his home in Potomac. The cause was reportedly congestive heart failure.
Stanley Karnow was born in Brooklyn in 1925. During the Second World War, he served with the United States Army Air Forces in Asia. His career in journalism began in 1947 when he graduated from Harvard with a bachelor’s degree. From there, Karnow went on to attend the Sorbonne in Paris and, from 1948 to 1949, the Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris.
In 1950, he became a Paris-based correspondent for Time magazine, and, after a period spent covering Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, he headed for Asia, where he carved a distinguished and influential career in war journalism.
Karnow covered Asia from 1959 until 1974 for Time, Life, the Saturday Evening Post, the London Observer, the Washington Post, and NBC News. He was covering Vietnam in July 1959 when the first American deaths were reported and remained in the besieged country for the duration of the war. His constant presence in Vietnam would see Karnow added to the master list of Nixon political opponents.
In the years following the war, Karnow published Vietnam: A History (1983) and In Our Image: America’s Empire in the Philippines; the latter would go on to win the Pulitzer Prize for History. He also became chief correspondent for the PBS series Vietnam: A Television History, a production which scooped six Emmy Awards, a Peabody Award, a George Polk Award and a DuPont-Columbia Award.
In the clip below (posted to YouTube by his son, Michael), Karnow discusses his relationship with the CIA during the 1960s when the journalist was based in Vietnam.