Sunday, 18 November 2012
Books on Vietnam. Remembering Vietnam
"A piercing and unforgettable tale of the horror and spiritual weariness of war."
Novel without a name by Duong Thu Huong
I am quoting from the cover of the above book. First published in 1995 I am re-reading it yet again. For me it typifies the Vietnam war. This is from a viewpoint that I did not really see when I was there. If I were to choose one book on the war it would be this. There are a few points in the translation that I do not like but that takes nothing away from the book's message.
I cannot list here all the books that I have read but I will give a few of them.
When I first arrived in South Vietnam in July 1965 I set about learning all I could about the country. The first books I got hold of were:
The Smaller Dragon by Joseph Buttinger.
A relatively uncomplicated history of Vietnam. Easy to read. Very necessary reading.
A Village in Vietnam by Gerald Cannon Hickey
A description of village life. Much detail. A way of life sadly to disappear because of war, communists and nowadays doubtless through mass tourism and unrestricted capitalism.
Vietnam by Do Van Minh
A simple introduction to the country. I was to get to know his family very well.
I have recently been reading:
Vo Nguyen Giap by Cecil B. Currey
I am reading it in French. An essential book on Giap.
A nos vingt ans by Nguyen Huy Thiep
Translated from the Vietnamese into French by my son. A question of values. Where is Vietnam today?