A Portrait of Its People at WarBook - 1996
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.'
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. 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
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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