Peter Arnett, one of the 20th Century’s most
distinguished war correspondents and winner of the 1966 Pulitzer Prize
for his reporting from Vietnam, returns to Saigon May 6-10, as the
celebrates the 50th Anniversary of its opening.
Arnett, who filed more than 3,000 dispatches
from Vietnam as an Associated Press correspondent, will keynote an
anniversary celebration at the hotel May 8.
“More than any
other member of the foreign press corps, Peter Arnett opened the
door to an honest appreciation of what was happening on the ground
in Vietnam during the war,” said John Gardner, general manager of
the Caravelle Hotel. “From the rumblings of wider war in 1962 to
the Fall of Saigon in 1975, Arnett worked tirelessly to make sure
there was clear flow of information issuing from the quagmire of
that conflict. That so much of this information emanated from the
Caravelle is part of what we’re celebrating this spring.”
Fellow war correspondent and historian David Halberstam hailed
Arnett as “the best reporter of the war,” in his landmark book,
“The Best and the Brightest.” Arnett won later fame as a CNN
reporter, covering conflict from Latin America, the Middle East,
Central Asia and Africa. He interviewed Osama Bin Laden in Bora
Bora in March 1997, and is perhaps best known for his Emmy-award
winning coverage from Baghdad during the first Gulf War in 1991.
A native New Zealander, Arnett first arrived in Saigon June
26, 1962, to begin work on a story that would last 13 years. On
his first night in the country, he checked into the Caravelle
Hotel, then open less than two years and already making a name for
itself as a preferred watering hole of the foreign press corps.
“Because the Caravelle is so closely associated with the
foreign press corps, and because Mr. Arnett’s relationship to this
city nearly as long as the hotel’s itself, we were really keen to
have him come back after all these years,” said Martyn Davies,
general director of the Caravelle.
In 1998, the landmark
Caravelle Hotel was completely refurbished and complemented by a
new 24-story tower. Today, the Caravelle ranks as one of the
country’s most prestigious hotels. Its rooftop bar is one of
Saigon’s most popular, as it was during the war.
reporters, Arnett frequently visited the
Caravelle, whether to
meet with colleagues who worked out of news bureaus within the
hotel, or for drinks on the hotel’s rooftop terrace.
later wrote a memoir that detailed his experiences in Vietnam.
That book, “Live from the Battlefield,” was selected as one of the
New York Times’ ‘Notable Books’ of 1994. Today, Arnett teaches
journalism at Shantou University north of Hong Kong.
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