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The Bamboo Chest: An Adventure in Healing the Trauma of War Paperback – June, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Dragon Press Publishing, Inc.; 1st edition (June 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0970358016
  • ISBN-13: 978-0970358011
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,557,573 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"--a wise and intelligent writer whose story is sure to please any reader interested in memoir and adventure." -- Maxine Chernoff, author of A Boy In Winter

"I'll look for it on the best seller list." -- Charlton Heston

"Make way Indiana Jones, here comes Freddie Graham Jr." -- The Mercury News

About the Author

Frederick "Cork" Graham has lived and traveled extensively throughout Asia, and Latin America, first as a Third Culture Kid (TCK), and then as an awardwinning journalist. A negotiation specialist and guest speaker on Vietnam, interrogation techniques, political prisons, guerrilla warfare, post-traumatic stress, and conservation issues,on NBC, CBS, ABC, PBS, BBC and Good Morning America, he is also the second American trained by the US Navy SEALs at the Salvadoran Naval Special Forces School.

Customer Reviews

The author put me into to the story immediately and I read it in one sitting!
Frank Devine
I have a dear friend soon returning from Iraq and will be sure to buy this book for him and his wife.
Susanne
Mr. Graham's style of writing is wonderful, not to the mention he has quite a story to tell!
Thorpe

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 52 people found the following review helpful By T_Chang on February 17, 2005
Format: Paperback
I had ordered this book after hearing the author interviewed last month on the KFOG "Morning Show" with Dave Morey here in the SF Bay Area, hearing him talk deeply and thoughtfully about his childhood living in Vietnam and post-traumatic stress that he was only able to heal through a year of solitary confinement in a Vietnamese reeducation camp. When I read the book, I felt as as though he were telling me his story in his own voice: he delivers an excellent narration and does write as he talks.

From a very self-effacing point of view, the author is remarkable in how he is at once delivering his personal life experience from the very naive, and immature attitude of a teenager making the break from home in 1983, who as it would happen has a number of lucky events occur meeting a journalism mentor and invited on the treasure hunt, much in the spirit of what Joseph Campbell called "following your bliss". At the same time speaking from the point of view of the adult author he is now, looking back at the young and impetuous person he was. A rich mix!

The author's manner in which he delivers the historical background of each place (part one is Thailand, and part two is Vietnam) as the young teenager he was grows from naive idealist to mature and responsible adult is in no way intrusive and makes "The Bamboo Chest" a solid piece of work.

I would recommend this book to anyone who has wondered "what if?": "What if I took that life path, and not this one?" If you are interested in the history and culture of Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam from a very non-politically correct, honest, and accurate depiction of Southeast Asia, then this book and "Shadows and Wind" by Rober Templar are for you.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By D.Tran on February 17, 2005
Format: Paperback
"The Bamboo Chest" is a worthwhile read from the point of a American. For another great read, get "Catfish and Mandala" by a Viet-American, the story of a young man who went back to Vietnam, while on cycling trip around the world and has an opportunity to see his history in a new, more modern light.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By enthusiastic reader on February 25, 2005
Format: Paperback
I wish they had 1/2 stars, because this is more than a 3 and I can be very critical in my reading. This is a very deep book! I have read it three times since I received it for Christmas. There are so may layers of information: conscious, subconscious, political, socialogical, historical. The author has put a great deal of thought into his words and how they affect the reader in an inspiring tale of overcoming challenges that has made me look only at how I approach the dilemmas that have littered my world, but also the simple little things in this world that in contrast have that much more an impact, like our everday interactions with family, friends, and employees. As said, I received The Bamboo Chest as a gift. It has become my 'go to' book to buy for friends and family who love to read dramatic books/memoirs that leave the heart uplifted.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Viet-Kieu#1 on February 17, 2005
Format: Paperback
It is finally good to read a book by someone who has spent more than a few months in Vietnam, five years should teach anyone much about a people, especially if they were fluent in Vietnamese at one time. As a Vietnamese-American with an American father and Vietnamese mother I enjoyed this book by an author with parents from two different cultures. Travelling often to visit my relatives in Ho Chi Minh City, I consider myself a good judge of books and found this book along with "Catfish and Mandala: A Two-Wheeled Voyage through the Landscape and Memory of Vietnam" by Andrew X. Pham to be worth adding to any library on South East Asia and Vietnam. I see by reading the reviews below that "The Bamboo Chest" has controvery I guess any book that can command that deserves to once again be an Amazon bestseller, LOL!
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By PAUL_STAFFORD on October 15, 2004
Format: Paperback
I HAD HEARD CORK GRAHAM INTERVIEWED ON THE DR. PEPPERS SHOW AND WAS IMPRESSED BY HIS SPEAKING ABILITY TO CAPTURE MY ATTENTION. I GOT THE BOOK BECAUSE I THOUGHT IT WOULD A GOOD READ ABOUT A KID WHO WENT ON A TREASURE HUNT IN A DANGEROUS PLACE. WHAT MORE I GOT WAS A STORY ABOUT A BOY WHO BECAME A MAN, ONE WHO CONFRONTED HIS MANY FEARS AND PAST TROUBLES AND TAUGHT ME MUCH ABOUT MYSELF AND HOW I THOUGHT ABOUT THINGS. GET THIS BOOK IF YOU WANT TO BREAK THROUGH PAST WALLS THAT HAVE KEPT YOU FROM ACHIEVING WHAT YOU'VE ALWAYS DREAMED OF BUT WERE AFRAID TO TAKE THAT STEP. CORK GRAHAM IS VERY CRAFTY IN HOW HE SEEMS TO BE JUST TELLING A STORY BUT LIKE THE STORY TELLERS OF OLD HE'S REALLY TEACHING THE TRIBE.

THE DATE OF THE INTERVIEW WAS THE AFTERNOON OF THE BUSH/KERRY DEBATE IN ST. LOUIS, MO. IT WAS REVEALED IN THE INTERVIEW THAT PRESIDENT BUSH AND THE FIRST LADY EACH HAVE RECEIVED A COPY. I HOPE THEY READ IT!

320 PAGE AND I FINISHED IT 2 SITTING BECAUSE I COULDN'T PUT IT DOWN. DON'T WAIT UNTIL THE MOVIE! GET THIS BOOK NOW!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Sally T on October 23, 2004
Format: Paperback
I love everything about Asia and the Middle East so I'm so happy to have the opportunity to read the three most important books to come out on the subjects in the last 10 years, every one of them 5 stars: "The Kite Runner", "Reading Lolita in Tehran", and "The Bamboo Chest", one novel and two memoirs!

In "The Bamboo Chest", Frederick Graham writes about being his experiences as the first American political prisoner held by the Socialist Republic of Vietnam: his crime was that he sneaked into the country to report on American MIAs and Captain Kidd's treasure. A bizarre tale that shows the effects of the Vietnam War, and how far reaching they have been, as if we didn't know that from the emotions during this year's political campaign. Graham is a fresh new read with a style all his own--I felt as though I was right there with him as he was put through the beatings, mock execution, mock trial, the $10,000 ransom and finally his release 11 months later in 1984. Oh, and this all happened when he was 18 years old, fresh out of high school. His 19th birthday was the mock trial, something that smacks of the old Gang of Four trials they had in China. Amazing! Is a memoir, but read like a novel.

In the Kite Runner, the only fiction novel in the bunch, we are in Afghanistan, a place that during the 1970s was a must visit on the trekker's trail from Europe to Australia. A novel, but reads like a memoir. Some of the plot twists might seem unbelievable, but after reading "The Bamboo Chest", which is a memoir, but unbelievable, I think those plot twists are wonderful.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews


More About the Author

Cork Graham is a Alaska-based former paramilitary officer, and combat photojournalist, who has appeared as a guest on Good Morning America, CBS Morning Show, NBC News, ABC News, BBC, and many others. He has reported, edited and photographed for the Associated Press, Reuters, CNN, ABC News, The Times, Paris Match and Vogue. Graham is the second American to complete the Naval Special Forces course created at La Union, El Salvador by the US Navy SEALs. He served in the Latin America theater of the Cold War. His Vietnam prison/treasure hunting memoir, THE BAMBOO CHEST, became a #1 NYT and Amazon bestseller, staying for 3 weeks at #2 on Amazon.com. To learn more, please visit www.corkgraham.com. Or Facebook and Twitter @corkgraham