Ghosts of War

Chasing My Father’s Legend Through Vietnam

Reviewed by M.C. Reid

Posted September 16, 2022

Many sons, at some point in their lives, wonder if they will ever fill their father’s shoes. So imagine the burden that comes with choosing the same occupation as your father — especially when your dad is widely considered to be among the best in his chosen field.

In Ghosts of War, Eric Reguly writes of his efforts to learn about and to live up to the towering achievements of his dashing and roguish war-correspondent father, Robert Reguly.

Eric Reguly is no slouch when it comes to journalism; he’s currently the European bureau chief of the Globe and Mail and has won multiple awards for his writing. But he’s not his father — an adventurous man’s man whose ambition, talent, and charisma helped him gain access to and rub shoulders with the power-brokers and politicians who ruled the Mad Men-esque world of the 1960s.

Posted to Washington in 1966, Robert Reguly soon volunteered to cover the war in Vietnam, where he risked his life countless times to bring the truth of the conflict home to his readers. He loved his family, yes — but his true passion was journalism. And, as Eric Reguly writes, there is little room in a war correspondent’s life for sentimentality or distraction on the home front.

In Ghosts of War, Eric Reguly retraces his father’s steps in Vietnam and writes of his mother Ada’s valiant struggle to keep the family together while her husband was away.

As a former reporter, I was fascinated by Ghosts of War. But, as my father’s son, I greatly appreciated and even envied Eric Reguly’s courage and honesty in trying to reconcile his and his father’s complicated relationship. This book will especially resonate with anyone who has ever sized up their father and wondered, am I a disappointment? Will I ever measure up?

Buy this book at Chapters-Indigo

This article originally appeared in the October-November 2022 issue of Canada’s History.

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