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In Buddha's Company: Thai Soldiers in the Vietnam War (Southeast Asia: Politics, Meaning, and Memory) Paperback – October 20, 2010

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Product Details

  • Series: Southeast Asia: Politics, Meaning, and Memory
  • Paperback: 275 pages
  • Publisher: University of Hawaii Press (October 20, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0824834895
  • ISBN-13: 978-0824834890
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,366,508 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Richard A. Ruth teaches Southeast Asian history at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. He received a Ph.D. in history and an M.A. in Asian Studies from Cornell University. A former journalist and NGO field agent, he spent more than a decade working, researching, and writing in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and China.

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ian Baird on April 21, 2012
Format: Paperback
This is a great book, and it fills an important gap in the literature regarding the Second Indochina War (often referred to in the USA as the Vietnam War, and in Vietnam as the American War). This is the first book that attempts to tell the story of the war from the perspective of the Thai soldiers who fought there in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and the author does an excellent job doing it. His many detailed interviews with Thai volunteer soldiers who served in Vietnam provide rich material for this well written book. Ruth helps correct and expand on the historical record in various ways. For one, he clearly demonstrates that the Thai soldiers in Vietnam were far more than simply "mercenaries", as they have often been referred to. They volunteered to serve in Vietnam for various reasons, the most important of which was probably the belief that many held that fighting in Vietnam was important for ultimately defending Thailand from communism. Ruth rightfully returns agency to the Thai soldiers, and through covering a number of important topics associated with the Thai experience in Vietnam, from Thai adaptation to US military food rations to Thai soldier relations with American soldiers; and from Thai soldier relations and ideas about Vietnamese men and especially women to beliefs about bad fortune arising from killing wild animals when in Vietnam. The book will appeal to more than simply "ammo humpers". There are some descriptions of battles, but Ruth provides much more than that. This is a book for thinkers; a nuanced account of a complicated war, drawing largely on previously untapped oral histories as well as other newspaper sources and archival materials. This account will undoubtedly stand the test of time. I highly recommend it. I only hope that one day a similar book is written about Thai involvement in Laos during the late 1960s and 1970s. In Laos the Thais apparently experienced many more problems and casualties than they did in Vietnam.
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In Buddha's Company: Thai Soldiers in the Vietnam War (Southeast Asia: Politics, Meaning, and Memory)
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