War correspondent returns to Vietnam after thirty years. If you've time for only one book, this should be it. Astute insight into Vietnamese culture, history, the American conflict. Extensive writing on Hanoi.
An extraordinary rich portrait of post-war Vietnam, a country just emerging from years of political and economic isolation, by a journalist who covered the war and returned thirty years later to cover the peace. Vietnam is run by one of the world's last communist governments but great changes are sweeping the country. It is moving, if with caution and fear, toward a free-market economy. It is slowly lifting many of the civil restrictions that burden its 80 million inhabitants. It is divorcing itself from the isolation that followed the end of the Vietnam War and in return is being rewarded with an influx of Western tourists, foreign investors, and international aid workers who often ask: "What is Vietnam and who are the Vietnamese?" David Lamb answers that question.
For four years he explored the "new" Vietnam, wandering from the Chinese border to the depths of the Mekong Delta. He encountered many of the personalities from America's distant, dark days-the legendary general, Vo Nguyen Giap; Hanoi Hannah, once the propaganda voice of North Vietnam; a trusted Vietnamese journalist for Time magazine who turned out to be a Viet Cong agent. But more importantly, he brings us into the lives of scores of uncelebrated Vietnamese-students, former soldiers, shopkeepers, Communist Party members and unabashed capitalists-who share their memories of the wartime past and their hopes for the peacetime future. What emerges is a moving portrait of a remarkable country and a resolute people. This is a personal journey that will change the way we think of Vietnam, and perhaps the war as well.
Indochina Travel Comments: "This is an excellent choice for the airplane, just before you arrive in Hanoi (if you've followed our advice). Lamb's love story with Vietnam, and primarily Hanoi, delves deep into the local culture few Western writers have." ~ Patrick Morris
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