Vietnam

Vietnam

A Portrait of Its People at War

Book - 1996
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The American experience during the Vietnam conflict is universally known: the brutalisation of the US fighting men, the drug abuse, and the trauma. Even today the very word 'Vietnam' is too often interpreted as referring to this conflict (and specifically the American perception of it) rather than to the country and its people.

The view from the other side-- the Vietcong and North Vietnamese-- has been virtually ignored. In this remarkable piece of twentieth-century oral history-- now available in paperback for the first time-- the story emerges of the ordinary people of both North and South Vietnam, of the Vietcong guerrilla fighters and terrorists, North Vietnamese soldiers and cadres, monks, opposition leaders, propaganda chiefs and village secretaries. Constructed as a series of interviews, this book provides an account of dedication and heroism at all levels, and also of the brutality and trauma faced by a people in the grip of revolution and a terrifying war.

Those featured in the book describe aspects of the war: the murderous trek down the Ho Chi Minh trail, the self-immolation of Buddhist monks, the methods of Vietcong assassination teams and life under attack from American bombs and napalm. Taken as a whole, the accounts provide a rare insight into the thinking of the 'other side.'
Publisher: London ; New York, I.B. Tauris, 1996.
ISBN: 9781860640766
1860640761
Branch Call Number: 959.704/CHANOFF
Characteristics: xxii, 215 p. ; 22 cm.
Additional Contributors: Doan, Van Toai 1946-

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z
zxm
May 16, 2014

. An interesting & informative read. These people tell of what they were doing, during the wars against French, then American occupations. Outside of this, they also give some insight to life in a self sufficient village, a communist regime (Socialist Sundays, problems getting products in a price controlled command economy).

. The authors explain they selected Vietnamese who had left Vietnam because they were concerned by the prospect of official interference, embellishment & self aggrandizement. This doesn't seem to have been a problem in the interviews I've seen on Youtube.

. The book is divided into 3 parts, CHOICE (how they came to be enlisted), STRUGGLE (their efforts in the war) & RESOLUTION (what happened to them after the war, how they came to be refugees, many settling in the US - their former ENEMY! Some of the interviewees have input to all 3 parts, some don't. Us readers are given the choice of just reading through, or following the individual story by going to the page number shown at the end of their section.

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z
zxm
May 10, 2017

. PART ONE: CHOICE
_____________________

. XUAN VU: War reporter, propaganda chief. 15yo when war independence from France. French held cities, Vietminh held outside. Vietnamese all keen French should leave! Slaves to China 1000 years, France 100. Feeling everywhere "Freedom"! Agitprop to villages, who kept him fed & housed. Battle of Blockhouse, home village. Told of Vietminh commander, sent Saigon as special agent. Became chief of Military Security for ARVN, involved in several coups! Vu sent to Vietminh School to further studies. Level of instruction poor, nothing like French HS.

. NGUYEN CONG HOAN: SVN Assemblyman. Coming of age in the South. A self sufficient village life & work, outside of French Colonial Control & so subjected to French raids! Dad killed in one. People flee to mountain, return to find livestock stolen, things smashed. Moved, to find new area shelled, bombed & strafed! Hoan Most promising student, sent to city school, studied sciences. WIFE: Hoan in Prison (spoke against Government) - months to find him.

. TRINH DUC: In the Underground. Anti Japanese resistance, China, WW2. Joined Communist because they were there. Had to flee. Joined brother in Vietnam, worked at his restaurant & for VC, recruiting & leaflets. "We hated capitalists & colonialists". Party ordered him north for '53 ceasefire.

. LE VAN TRA: Leave-taking. Was in War Zone D. Pinch weapons, messenger boy. Home to look after Ma & Pa.

. HUONG VAN BA: Going North. 12yo quit school to fight French. Agitprop. Taught happy lives in USSR. Hung around French posts, draw maps & guide attackers at night. Party Ordered him north, '53 Ceasefire.

. TRUONG NHU TANG: Meeting Uncle Ho. Americans replaced French. Vietnamese had never heard of Diem.

. TRAN VAN TRA, VC General: Uncle Ho Parting Words, as Tra detachment headed South.

. HOANG HUU QUYNH: Ten Years to Grow a Tree - 100 a man. Ho School of Engineering.

THE VENERABLE GIAC DUC: Buddhists and Catholics, the Beginning

_VOLUNTEERS AND CONSCRIPTS_

NGUYEN TAN THANH

PHAN THANH LONG

NGUYEN VAN HOANG

BUI VAN BINH

NGUYEN VAN HUNG

HOANG THIEN LOC: A Chinese in the north

LE THANH: Coming of Age in the north. & WIFE: Seamstress

. TRAN XUAN NIEM: Try to Keep Your Face Intact & NGUYEN TRUNG NGHI: Our Future Selves. They saw wounded coming back North, as they went south, on HCM Trail.

. PART Two: STRUGGLE
_______________________

XUAN VU: In the north

. NGUYEN CONG HOAN: In Opposition. Subjected to threats & offers of bribes & WIFE: Assemblyman WIFE

TRINH DUC: Village Chief & WIFE: Vietcong Nurse

NAM DUC MAO: Messenger 0f Death

HAN VI: A Single Will

HOANG HUU QUYNH: Blood Debt

HUYNH LIEM: Life in the north

_THE BOMBING_
NGUYEN VAN MO: Hanoi Under Attack

TRAN VAN TRUONG: Bombing in Haiphong

THE CAPTURE OF COMMANDER RICHARD STRATTON

NGUYEN VAN THANH: Antiaircraft Battery

VAN ANH: Capturing an American Pilot

THE VENERABLE GIAC DUC: Buddhist and Catholics, the Showdown

_ON THE HO CHI MINH TRAIL_

NGUYEN DANH: Opening the Ho Chi Minh Trail

SAU THUONG: The Road to the Motherland

HUONG VAN BA: Back Down the Trail

VU HUNG: The Battle of Dong Xoai

_THE MINE SAPPERS_

NGUYEN VAN MO

HOANG TAT HONG

VAN CONG VAN

CAPTAIN STUART HERRINGTON; The American Side

NGUYEN VAN THICH: VC Assassin

BUI VAN TAI: The B-52s

TRAN VAN TRA: Comradeship

. PART THREE: RESOLUTION
___________________________
XUAN VU: Back to the South

NGUYEN CONG HOAN: The Communist Assembly & WIFE: Death in Absentia

TRINH DUC: The Purge

AFTER WORD BY DAVID CHANOFF

IMPORTANT DATES AND EVENTS + A NOTE ON SOURCES

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