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Vietnam Labyrinth: Allies, Enemies, and Why the U.S. Lost the War (Modern Southeast Asia Series) Hardcover – 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
It is an interesting read, especially when Tran Ngoc Chau recounts the few years starting in 1945 when he joined the ranks of the communist-led insurgency against the French. Chau left the communists to join the nationalist cause, rising as high as province chief in the Mekong delta and then becoming an elected representative in the National Assembly, before being arrested and accused of dealing with the enemy via his brother who was a high-ranking communist officer.
Throughout the rest of the book, Chau likes to remind us of his few years fighting on the side of the communists against the French, while denigrating others of his generation who joined the nationalist side and fought against communism. To him, they were French trained NCOs or low-ranking officers who rose to become generals and leaders of South Vietnam through favoritism and corruption. He mentions a few that were capable and incorruptible, but dismisses them as inconsequential.
All along, he likes to repeat that if only his own ideas of fighting communist insurgency had been more widely adopted, the Viet Cong would have long been subdued and brought over to the South's side. No mention is made of the fact that after the 1968 Tet offensive, the Viet Cong was practically eliminated from the battlefield and that all fighting was undertaken by North Vietnamese regiments and divisions.Read more ›
Chau, who escaped the DRV and now lives in California, has written a fascinating account of his adventures, first as a Viet Minh officer, then a GVN Province Chief, later as a member of the National Assembly, then as a prisoner of the Thieu regime, and finally as a prisoner of the DRV after the fall of Saigon. He points fingers, names names, and does not flinch at telling the truth about what we and our allies did - rightly and wrongly - in our conduct of the war.
A Buddhist from a distinguished Hue family, Chau's goal of entering the Buddhist monkhood was upended by the 1945 revolution. What followed were five years of valor and sacrifice fighting in the Viet Minh ranks, seeing the best and worst of the revolution. Though inclined to the Dai Viet Party, he was invited to join the Communists. His readings of what that Party stood, and was preparing, for opened his eyes. He defected to the newly created State of Vietnam, later serving under Ngo Dien Diem when the Republic was declared. To find the reasons why a former Viet Minh unit commander and political officer would defect is worth the read alone. But equally sharp are Chau's honestly expressed reservations of how the Americans were pursuing the war, and clear-eyed glimpses into the machinations of the various anti-Diem, anti-Ky, and anti-Thieu factions.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Truely a life story of a man of honour, extreme courage and conviction. An account of what US politicians should have learned from their involvement in Vietnam and people like Tran... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Max E Honegger
If you enjoyed "A Bright Shining Lie" this should be your next book Chau writes a history of the war from the Vietnamese point of view. Read morePublished 8 months ago by George H. Petrin
Memoirs by actual Vietnamese soldiers (on either side) are really rare. So this book is a real gem!Published 14 months ago by Jeffrey
This is one of the best books I've ever read about Vietnam War. Tran Ngoc Chau's view on the war is very objective since he is either an American or Viet Cong. Read morePublished on March 24, 2014 by HUYNH HUY HOANG
I am just past halfway through this book and decided to add my two cents. The above reviewers give the basic storyline so I won't expand on that much. Read morePublished on January 24, 2014 by W. C. HAKE
What a service both Tran Ngoc Chau and Ken Fermoyle, have done in telling this story. This volume is the personal story of the author, a devout Buddhist studying to be a monk, who... Read morePublished on November 15, 2013 by M. Driscoll
This is an excellent memoir that provides a unique historical narrative of the Vietnam war mixed with personal stories. Read morePublished on June 17, 2013 by Anonymous