“Politically, Esquire showed the most guts, and earned the most glory, during the Hayes/Lois years, for its prescience regarding Vietnam. During those years, the Establishment Press was heralding certain victory, (how could peasants in pajamas match the armed might of the United States?). Lois’ covers sounded an early alarm about America’s relentless march into the mud, and he kept at it. But his earliest warning was one of the few ideas that Hayes vetoed – a spooky greeting from Vietnam he intended for a December 1962 cover bearing the season’s greetings “Merry Christmas. I’m the 100th GI killed in Vietnam.” Concerned that a peace deal might be brokered before the issue hit the stands, he convinced Lois that it was a risky cover. Hayes’ rejection didn’t reflect a failure of nerve. It was a prudent editorial decision that lacked the gift of prophecy.
JAMES WOLCOTT, VANITY FAIR