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The Twenty-Five Year Century: A South Vietnamese General Remembers the Indochina War to the Fall of Saigon Hardcover – February 13, 2002
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“Readers will find in this book a new perspective on the War in Vietnam from one who helped to create and shape the history. His story—the story of the Republic of Vietnam from the eyes of those in the Republic—has been long neglected by historians of the period.”--Ron Frankum, The Vietnam Archive, Texas Tech University
“The Twenty-five Year Century is extremely interesting and most professionally written. It provides a rare and most valuable insight into the war from the perspective of a senior field commander fighting it. It is a major contribution to the literature of the Vietnam conflict, and fills a void in the war’s recorded history that can only be filled by the experiences of someone of Thi’s rank and stature.”--Col. Edward P. Metzner, U.S. Army (ret.), author of More Than a Soldier's War
“General Thi fought for twenty-five years in Vietnam until Saigon fell in 1975, serving with the Vietnamese National Army and commanding the Army Corps Task Force along the Demilitarized Zone. Here he provides a rare and valuable insight into the Vietnam War. Thi strongly counters the prevailing ‘American’ view that the Republic of Vietnam’s government and military were hopelessly corrupt and ineffective. Not everyone will agree with General Thi’s viewpoint, but everyone will have to factor it into his own analysis of the Vietnam War.”--John Carroll, Regents Professor of History, Lamar University
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Top Customer Reviews
We see through Lam's eyes the French Occupation of Vietnam, the reasons for the Viet Minh, the Fall of the French, the coming of the Americans, Lam's Army Career and how he so skillfully plays the hand Life has given him, making the best of what he has, leading all the way to making ARVN Lt. General (Three Star General) at such an early age through his sheer abilities and hard work.
The book also allows the Reader to see and experience Vietnamese Culture, from Tet (Chinese New Year), the tasty foods (I still can smell the Cha Gio) cooked in celebration of their various Holidays and Occations, to Confucian Extended Family Values of Respect for Elders and a High Premium on Education as the way to get ahead in Life, and how even later on in their lives when he outranks his Older Brother (who was "only" a Two Star General) that Older Brother still made the Final Decision and was obeyed when it came to Family Matters.
For those of you who did not know, Vietnamese Wives and Mothers, while seemingly docile and obedient, were actually Very Powerful when it came to Family Matters of Finance and Children. Vietnamese Family Values were demonstrated as we watch Lam and his Family when they get to visit with Emperor Bao Dai's Mother, and her demonstrated tenderness towards Children.
An excellent example of what one Vietnamese Life was like from 1950 to 1975, and HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Throughout the book, Thi regularly takes issue with the corruption and incompetence of many of his fellow officers, and recounts the political situation in the South, where coup after coup after coup left the country of South Vietnam basically a rudderless ship. He tells of how many of his fellow officers attained high ranks, up to and including senior generals, not because of superior soldiering prowess, but because of having the right political connections. Even he (the author) benefitted a little from the political machinations of some of his superiors. In this regard, the book is an excellent source on the socio-political scene in Saigon in the 1960's.
However, as a war memoir, I found the book a little light in descriptions of battle and how he and the men under his command coped with the strain of combat. This is why I give the book only four stars. I suppose that as a general, his viewpoints of battle tend to be more detached and "big picture" oriented, which is reflected in his writing. Most descriptions of battles his units fought were mostly like, "We swept the area with the 1st regiment, while the 2nd was held in reserve. After heavy contact, we suffered 25 dead while the VC suffered 100 dead." None of the harrowing descriptions which can be found in many other terrific war memoirs are present here.Read more ›
Sadly, the book, while full of extraordinary detail at a personal level, is extremely tedious. It *felt* like it took a century to read, and my eyes just glazed over with page after page of names of relatives, classmates, town, etcetera.
The author's first book, Autopsy: The Death of South Viet Nam is probably a much better book for anyone other than a student of the genealogical details.
The photos were disappointing, and while the strategic maps were helpful there was little to enliven the thirteen chapters.
Over-all I formed three impressions:
1) The author was an extraordinary mix of Chinese and Vietnamese, French-educated, and Cao Dai/Catholic in family heritage. He acquired the viewpoints inherent in the French and the Catholic, and strongly perceives Ho Chi Minh to have been a communist puppet of Moscow, and not at all a nationalist. Th
2) The author considers the US to have betrayed South Viet-Nam, leading to the loss of a one million man Army and the abandonment of five billion dollars in equipment, all in part because the US media decided the war was lost, and the US public forced the politicians to give up.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
While the Vietnam War has been overwritten, there are too few accounts written by Vietnamese veterans. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Robert Sander
Neutrality Soldier and true South Vietnamese patriot. Lam Quang Thi just wanted a normal life like a normal civilian, until war erupts in Vietnam. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Chris
The writer goes too many times to boring details about the South Vietnamese Army and blames everything on the " Liberal Press" without admitting that there was plenty of... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Carlos Ferrero
Excellent book. Tells the story from the south Vietnamese perspective. Well written. Very educational of all events that took place on the Vietnamese side throughout the war and... Read morePublished 7 months ago by ED Anthony
Well before you get to the end of the first chapter you will understand why the American strategy in Vietnam was doomed from the beginning. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Tay Ruong
Lam Quang Thi’s book, “The Twenty-Five Year Century”, is awash in names and dates that challenge even the most astute reader to retain and regurgitate, if one were required to... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Kev Minh Allen
This was a factually fascinating book. It provided a wonderful view into a particular Southern perspective of the war. Read morePublished on December 16, 2013 by Aud
I found it very interesting to see the Indochina War and the Vietnamese War from the perspective of an individual from the South that fought to save his country from a northern... Read morePublished on July 16, 2013 by TM95