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Tears before the Rain: An Oral History of the Fall of South Vietnam Hardcover – August 30, 1990

ISBN-13: 978-0195053869 ISBN-10: 0195053869 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Harrowing, heartrending and bitter by turns, these recollections by 75 eyewitnesses form a tragic epic of a country in the throes of violent death. Soldiers and civilians, both American and South Vietnamese, tell what it was like in the spring of 1975 as Hanoi carried out its final, successful offensive against the Republic of Vietnam. Generals, ambassadors, CIA officials, pilots, Marines, politicians, doctors, seamen, flight attendants, journalists and ordinary citizens describe the growing chaos, demoralization and panic as the collapse gained momentum. Survivors recall the chilling helicopter airlift from the U.S. embassy roof in Saigon with raw emotions, the Americans still brooding painfully over the abandonment of their South Vietnamese allies. In an Aftermath section, several former boat people relate in hair-raising detail their encounters with Thai pirates. A moving collection of painful memories, assembled by a professor of history at San Jose (Calif.) State.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

YA-- On April 29, 1975, the evacuation from South Vietnam of American and Vietnamese civilians and military personnel began. Engelmann interviewed Americans and Vietnamese for this book, and they describe their experiences during that fateful time. The interviewees range from a former American POW in Hanoi to Colonel Bui Tin, the North Vietnamese military officer who accepted the surrender of South Vietnam from General Duong Van Minh. Although some of the interviews are repetitive, they give readers a sense of the events of the time. The most poignant section of the book deals with the aftermath of the war: interviews with the Bui Doi (children of American servicemen who were left behind in Vietnam) and with Vietnamese refugees to the United States. Their stories go to the heart of what happens to the innocent in a conflict. Because of its organization, this book can be read from start to finish or in sections according to readers' particular interest. --Roberta Lisker, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (August 30, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195053869
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195053869
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,334,446 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
5 star
67%
4 star
17%
3 star
17%
2 star
0%
1 star
0%
See all 12 customer reviews
Recommend this to anyone who has interest in or participated in the conflict.
Ernest H
I actually bought this book just to have a copy in my Vietnam Book collection after reading it on Kindle.
Buckeye46
The language in some of the stories is very vulgar, and all of the stories are very raw.
Jason Branson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Andy in Washington TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 4, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I wasn't sure what to expect when I bought this book, but I was happy I bought it. The book is entirely made up of oral histories of people who were in Vietnam during the last few weeks/days of the US presence. There is no overview, no texts, no summations, no commentary. The book includes stories from military, diplomatic, US civilian contractors, Vietnamese soldiers and civilians and reporters.

---THE GOOD STUFF---

* I am too young for more than a casual first-hand experience of Vietnam. But the people who tell their stories have kept the raw edge and passion. You can feel the frustration and anger in their tales.

* I have no idea how accurate each of these tales is, but they certainly ring true...although there is a good mix of opinion delivered with the facts. Some of those opinions can be very biting and harsh, but it wasn't a fun place to begin with.

* What I found most amazing was having the same incident related from multiple viewpoints. In one story, a US Civilian contractor takes credit for organizing a last minute flight to rescue American and Vietnamese personnel. He relates the challenges and danger faced by his crew and pilots to perform the rescue. In the very next story, a military source complains about what a showboat and grandstanding a**h*** the contractor is for getting in the way. These conflicting viewpoints are a theme throughout the book, and probably say more about the US war effort than any text I have read.

* There is a good range of material chosen, giving a very multidimensional to what was going on.

---THE NOT SO GOOD STUFF---

* The book doesn't really stand on its own.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jason Branson on February 18, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
From time to time, I'll read a book that I do not necessarily enjoy, because of any of a number of things, but I know that I'm better for having read it. This is one of those books. The writer of this book interviewed over 300 people about the final fall of South Vietnam, directly resulting from the U.S. evacuation on April 29,1975. He used many of these stories, told in the people's own words, to show the lead-up, carry-out, and fall-out of the decision to remove the U.S. presence from South Vietnam, virtually handing the nation over to the Communists. The language in some of the stories is very vulgar, and all of the stories are very raw. I spent much of this book in disbelief, anger, and shame at the way our nation conducted itself, still managing to hang on to some pride at how individuals acted honorably, even in a dishonorable situation. This book is well written, edited, and organized...but I still cannot determine if I recommend it. It is very inexpensive for the Kindle, so you just might need to buy it, and see for yourself.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By zsazsa on December 19, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
so many voices and opinions give a multidimensional feel to the frantic and sad days in april 1975. clearly remembered and wishfully remembered combine.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Walsh on July 11, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
For those interested in the VN war or just interested in people living through an event where events overtake the prior planning, this is a great read. By gettting interviews from so many different participants of this history-changing event, the book is a terrific addition to the literature.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on July 9, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
this is an accurate story of what happened in vietnam by the people that lived the downfall and you can see why we lost.
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Format: Hardcover
as you start to read this book, it takes you right back to what really happened. the people trying to leave and their getting shot, the orphan plane crashing and the children dying. the servicemen that were fighting had to remove their uniforms before they got home because no one wanted to see them for the disgrace of all that went on. the country just wanted to forget it happened, the truth was it was one of the worst wars their was. the memorial wall explains it all, too many young boys lost their lives for something that was impossible to win.
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