Letters

Readers Respond to the March Issue

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The comparison of George Washington's Delaware River crossing ("Revolutionary Road") to the building and traversing of the Ho Chi Minh Trail during the Vietnam War is journalistic bombast of the highest order. Portraying only the brilliance and heroics of the North Vietnamese Army denies the brutal violence they committed in the name of liberation.
Thomas W. Rash Jr.,
Charleston, South Carolina

Off the Trail
The article about the new Ho Chi Minh Highway is incomplete. Most opinions are from the communist viewpoint. The author turned off at Khe Sanh, missing hundreds of miles of the "trail" and a host of warm and wonderful people by not traveling through the south. If he had, he might have heard very different views about whether anyone today cares which side one fought for during the war.
Dean C. Nelson
St. Paul, Minnesota

In an otherwise excellent article, author David Lamb echoes the argument that the war began when Vietnam's Communist leadership conducted an insurgency against the South. The country was divided temporarily by the 1954 Geneva Accords pending nationwide elections that were to lead to reunification. These elections were never held, in part because the U.S.-installed Diem regime did not permit them, knowing that Ho Chi Minh would win. Had the elections taken place, Vietnam may have been reunited peacefully, sparing millions of lives. Earlier, had the Truman administration accepted Ho's pleas for U.S. support of Vietnam's independence from France, the first Indochina war might have been avoided. Going back further, had President Wilson and the Allies at the Paris Peace Conference heeded the call by a young Nguyen Ai Quac (later known as Ho Chi Minh) to support Indochina's independence, how very different the 20th century might have been.
Jeffrey D. Sokolow
Atlanta, Georgia

Before Q
I enjoyed your article on Quincy Jones ("The Arranger"), a major figure in American music. But my pleasure was marred by the failure to credit Jones' forerunners. Contrary to what the historian Henry Louis Gates Jr. claims, Jones was not the first African- American to combine musical success and entrepreneurship. That honor goes to W. C. Handy, composer of "St. Louis Blues" and other standards, who co-founded a music-publishing firm in the early 1900s. Similarly, Jones was not the first African-American Hollywood composer. The real pioneer was Benny Carter, who worked for filmmakers such as Busby Berkeley and arranged for and appeared in all-black films, including Stormy Weather. He arranged for everyone from Louis Armstrong to Mel Torme and helped score such classics as An American in Paris and The Guns of Navarone.
Elliott S. Hurwitt
New york , New York

Voices From the Past
Michael Walsh's article about long-lost recordings found at the Paris Opera ("A Record Find") brings to mind a similar experience at the Thomas Edison Historical Site in New Jersey. A colleague and I were searching for materials to use during the centennial celebration of the 1889 collaboration between Edison and George Eastman. We prodded our guide to unlock an upstairs room and found a large piano covered by a sheet and a cabinet stuffed with vertically stored paper sleeves—phonograph discs. A list of early 20th-century musicians (who may have recorded in that room) were cross-indexed to the sleeves. To date, 48,000 Edison sound recordings have been cataloged at the site.
Edward T. Howell Jr.
Indian Rocks Beach, Florida

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