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Philip Caputo: Author, Journalist, Vietnam Veteran

Philip Caputo: Author, Journalist, Vietnam Veteran

Introduction to Philip Caputo 1:56 min. Interview:  Raymond Elman.  Camera:  Lee Skye.  Videography & Production:  Rosy Ayala.  Recorded:  11/25/2019, Miami Book Fair.



PHILIP CAPUTO is an author, journalist, and Vietnam veteran. Caputo has published dozens of major magazine articles, reviews, and Op-Ed pieces in publications ranging from the New York Times, the Boston Globe, and the Washington Post to Esquire, National Geographic, and the Virginia Quarterly Review. Topics include profiles of novelist William Styron and actor Robert Redford, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and turmoil on the Mexican border. Caputo’s professional writing career began in 1968, when he joined the staff of the Chicago Tribune, serving as a general assignment and team investigative reporter until 1972.

Caputo has won 10 journalism and literary awards, including the Pulitzer Prize in 1972 (shared for team investigative reporting on voter fraud in Chicago), the Overseas Press Club Award in 1973, the Sidney Hillman Foundation award in 1977 (for A Rumor of War), the Connecticut Book Award in 2006, and the Literary Lights Award in 2007. His first novel, Horn of Africa, was a National Book Award finalist in 1980, and his 2007 essay on illegal immigration won the Blackford Prize for nonfiction from the University of Virginia.

He and his wife, Leslie Ware, a retired editor for Consumer Reports magazine, and now a painter and novelist, divide their time between Connecticut and Arizona.

The videos below are organized by topic and run between 30 seconds and 5 minutes. Click on any video. You must be connected to the Internet to view the videos.




Tell us about your latest book, “Hunter’s Moon.”


RESILIENCE:  3:35 min.

Your first book, “A Rumor of War,” was a landmark exposure of the Vietnam War for most people. What did it feel like to transition from being a gung ho marine to losing faith in the U.S. military command? And were you aware of the anti-war protest movement back home?


SELF-CONFIDENCE:   3:14 min.

Where did you grow up, and when did you first believe that you could be a writer?



I consider journalism to be an art form, but journalists I talk with insist that they aren’t making art. What are your thoughts?


SERENDIPITY:  3:10 min.

Is there anything you learned in school that helped shape your writing or gave you the confidence to start writing?



What were you thinking, and feeling when you started to write your first novel? Are you a person who has great confidence that they can do anything?



After “Rumor of War” became a runaway best seller, did you feel like you had a safety net for the rest of your life?


SERENDIPITY:  1:18 min.

What’s been the role of serendipity in your work?


EMPATHY: 2:35 min.

“Rumor of War” has so much authenticity. What was your reaction to the Vietnam War films “Platoon” and “Apocalypse Now”?



Do you still have dreams about Vietnam?



If we knew then what we know now, would we have done anything different regarding the Vietnam War?