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Fourth Uncle in the Mountain: The Remarkable Legacy of a Buddhist Itinerant Doctor in Vietnam Paperback – October 3, 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 1st edition (October 3, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312314310
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312314316
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #226,320 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"[A] charming book . . . the volume contains a wealth of information about Vietnamese history and culture … an adventure book strung through with passages on selflessness and mindfulness, this volume is an excellent choice for readers interested in Vietnam and Buddhism."--Publishers Weekly
 
"This is a magical, mesmerizing story; a complicated tale of Vietnam's anguished history, of healing and faith, and of a young boy's miraculous coming of age."--Ken Burns, director of Jazz and The Civil War
 
"When I had read the first few chapters of this engrossing biography, I had stopped a dozen times to recall my times in the Delta and the towns and villages that are mentioned in the book.  By the time I had finished - I wanted to go back…. A thoroughly enjoyable read."--Captain E.G. Adams, The Air America Log
 
"Fourth Uncle in the Mountain is a great story about two simply good men. It is told simply, but simplicity should never be mistaken for a lack of emotional complexity, intellectual refinement, or overwhelming humanity. It is all that."--The Asian Reporter
"…an unputdownable tale, told in an intimate, oral style with an unassuming wisdom, a thrilling, Castaneda-like search for knowledge as well as a moving tribute to the most profound love between a father and son."-- Nick DeMartino, University Bookstore, Seattle (selected as University Bookstore's 2004 Book of the Year) 

About the Author

Quang Van Nguyen is the son of one of South Vietnam's most beloved spiritual masters, Thau Van Nguyen.  Quang became a Buddhist abbot before fleeing Vietnam in 1987.  He now lives in the United States.
 
Marjorie Pivar has worked for the past twenty years as a Shiatsu therapist in the field of alternative medicine.  She lives in Vermont.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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This book was truly one of the top non-fiction stories I have ever read.
Jampa Mackenzie Stewart
I dont know how you could keep from liking this book if you do tcm. cant say enough good things about the book.
Randall Sevier
What is most remarkable is the humble and honest tone conveyed throughout the book.
Matthew P. Sieradski

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Acu Ty on April 18, 2007
Format: Paperback
This breathtaking autobiography has resonated really with me. Coming from a Vietnamese background as well as having a lineage of traditional healers, Quang's story has the same tones within the realm of traditional medicine that were told to me as a child.

As an acupuncture student, Quang's journey had a lot similarities to that in which I'm encountering. It was amazing reading this book because every step of the way, you felt as if you were with him.

With mysticism/magic, acupuncture, herbs, ghosts, spirits, and myriad of characters, Fourth Uncle... is truly one of the greatest qutobiographies that I've read in a long time.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Michael Wilson on June 26, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In buddhist legend, meditation adepts attain a "samadhi fantastic beyond description". This is Fourth Uncle. The magic, sorcery, and martial art stories give way to the natural magic of one pointed concentration - in the cave of the primoridal, original, and pristine mind. I enjoyed this book so much, in spite of the tragic backdrop of pre and post Vietnamese war history. There is a great human truth here, that goes beyond religions, in the narration that radiates out through the eyes of a child coming into adulthood. There is also a lot of what is called by aboriginal peoples, "indigenous knowledge" about Viet Nam, which sadly may be disappearing because of enviromental desecration. This book is also a hommage to the folk doctor tradition. This tradition, so vital to the revitalization of the human spirit, is also in danger of being marginalized by institutionalized medicine. Better that it be accommodated for what it is - natural wisdom.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Julie Strothman on October 11, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book had me quickly transported to another world--the descriptions were rich and entrancing, the story fascinating--and the telling as if you're listening to Quang. I read this in hardcover over a year ago and many of the images are still vividly with me (not a common experience for me!).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Carlos Chapa on May 31, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Reading this book, took me to a place far away...

One easily forgets that this book was NOT written hundreds of years ago. With all the details, explanations and stories... you feel like your watching a movie... and hoping it will never "end"..

As an herbalist and acupuncturist, I felt some connections with the Author, however I cannot even relate to his level of education and knowledge, due to his extensive training... and my 4 years of schooling...

This is simply the best book I have ever read. It has moved me, changed my views in many ways and has made me want to be a better healer.... thank you my friend... whom I've never met...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By The Aeolian Kid on May 27, 2011
Format: Paperback
Sincere. Authoritative. Genuine. Fascinating. Inspiring. Humbling. Enlightening.

These are only just a few of the words I would use to describe this very remarkable and educational book. ... Remember: this is not a book of fiction. It is Autobiography. Supposedly, everything in it is true and really happened to a real person in real life in our lifetime. If this is true, then the world we live in is a much stranger, more interesting, and weirder world than you may think!

Remember when you first read any of the Carlos Castaneda books about Don Juan, and you may have thought to yourself: "He has got to be making this stuff all up. It just can't be true!" ... Well, it's hard to prove if there ever really was a Don Juan or not. Now that Carlos has passed away, there are even people who doubt that he really lived. Nevertheless, whether you believe his stories to be true or not, they are fascinating and mesmerizing to read. The same goes for this book. You will be reading a passage, and you will think: "This can't be for real! ... How can this kind of activity be true?" ... And I'm not talking about the whole history of the events of the southeast asian wars in Vietnam and Cambodia. I'm talking about the personal experiences of Quang Van Nguyen, the author and subject of this book. If what he is saying is really true, then life is stranger than fiction, indeed!

Also, if you are at all interested in the consequences of the destruction of war and the hazard in wreaks in the lives of ordinary people in general, or interested in the Vietnam War in particular, there is a lot to learn from this book. It reminded me of ELENI by Nicholas Gage.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Matthew P. Sieradski on May 28, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I loved this book. While growing up in a war-torn country on the brink of modernity, the author is nurtured and tutored by an eclectic bunch of teachers, some selected for him by his famous Buddhist monk and traditional doctor father, and some surreptitiously sought out by himself. He immerses himself in the fields of acupuncture and classical Vietnamese and Chinese herbal medicine, martial arts, sorcery, Buddhist meditation, and most interestingly, mountain Taoist cultivation. What is most remarkable is the humble and honest tone conveyed throughout the book. It could be expected that someone who had experienced such a remarkable and unusual upbringing would have a hard time not acting the part of the expert, but the author avoids the extreme of hubris convincingly.
Highly recommended for those involved in spirituality, traditional medicine, or Asian studies.
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