Publisher: Rigel Media
Pub. Date: April 28, 2011
In Cork Graham’s 2004 #1 NYT best-selling coming-of-age adventure memoir set against the background of US/Vietnam political intrigue of the 1980s, eighteen-year-old Cork Graham travels to Southeast Asia to try his hand at combat photojournalism. It doesn’t matter that he has no university degree, or training in photojournalism, other than the manuals that came with his cameras. He’s after adventure and adventure he will find.
At first drawn by the war of that time, the Kampuchea/Vietnam War and the major story of the generation, American servicemen possibly held captive in the mountains of Laos, Graham makes his way from boyhood to manhood, through the slums of Bangkok, and adventures covering the Hmong resistance in northern Thailand and Laos. He almost doesn’t make it back from a horrific ambush on the Mekong River.
Building a reputation as one willing to surmount his initially off-putting young age daunting profession, by taking on any danger to get a story, he’s invited on a treasure hunting expedition for Captain Kidd’s treasure, supposedly hidden on an island in an area of Vietnam forbidden to all but Soviet bloc advisors and loyal communist militia. Along with the captain of the pirate treasure hunt, Richard Knight, a British actor-turned treasure hunter, and a two Thai crew, Graham braves a voyage through rough seas festered with Thai pirates marauding Vietnamese boats laden with refugees escaping famine, poverty, and political and religious persecution.
Captured by the island militia, Graham is tortured and interrogated for months. In those same months, Hanoi doesn’t even acknowledge publicly their imprisonment of the Graham and the rest. Not until a group of Thai fisherman held at the same prison is released does report come back of two “Americans”. It would turn out to be the longest 11 months Graham ever experienced, yet the most rewarding!
In prose reminiscent of the exciting style of Jack London, the characterization and attention to detail of John Steinbeck that makes the reader feel as though they are there, and Graham Greene’s ability to reach deep and capture his inner conflict, Cork Graham’s voice delivers a personal telling of what was an international front-page story when it occurred.