Brendan Leary, assigned to an Air Force photo squadron an hour from L.A., thinks he has it made. But when the U.S. invades Cambodia and he joins his buddies who march in protest, he is shipped off to an obscure air base in upcountry Thailand. There, he finds himself flying at night over the Ho Chi Minh Trail in a secret war that turns the mountains of Laos into a napalm-scorched moonscape.
During his 20 years as a columnist for Việt Nam News, Huu Ngoc both charmed and educated an international readership with his simple but elegant glimpses into Vietnamese culture. These selections from his column are perfectly suited to students of Vietnamese history and culture and travelers seeking an introduction to the country and its people.
In the decades since the Vietnam War, veteran memoirs have influenced Americans’ understanding of the conflict. Yet few historians or literary scholars have scrutinized how the genre has shaped the nation’s collective memory of the war and its aftermath.
When North Vietnamese troops occupied Saigon at the end of April 1975, their leaders in Hanoi faced the future with pride and confidence. Almost fifteen years later, the euphoria has given way to sober realism. Since the end of the war, the Communist regime has faced an almost uninterrupted series of difficulties including sluggish economic growth at home and a costly occupation of neighboring Cambodia.
Dr. Nguyen Anh Tuan, former Minister of Finance of the Republic of South Vietnam, addresses a common perception of Vietnam: that South Vietnam was a fragmented society which did not deserve to succeed because of its internal weaknesses. According to Tuan, however, South Vietnam in the last decade of its life developed considerable governmental cohesion and internal social strength.
The Lê Code: Law in Traditional Vietnam is the first English translation of the penal code produced by Vietnam’s Lê Dynasty (1428-1788). The code itself was the culmination of a long process of political, social and legal development that extended into the period of the succeeding Nguyen Dynasty and, in many respects, into the twentieth century. As is the case with cultures of other countries in East Asia, Vietnam has been widely influenced by China.
Phu Rieng was one of many French rubber plantations in colonial Vietnam; Tran Tu Binh was one of 17,606 laborers brought to work there in 1927, and his memoir is a straightforward, emotionally searing account of how one Vietnamese youth became involved in revolutionary politics. The connection between this early experience and later activities of the author becomes clear as we learn that Tran Tu Binh survived imprisonment on Con Son island to help engineer the general uprising in Hanoi in 1945.