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The River of Time Mass Market Paperback – January 1, 1987
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About the Author
David Brin is the acclaimed Hugo and Nebula award-winning author of ten novels and two collections of short stories. He has a doctorate in astrophysics, and has been a consultant to NASA and a graduate-level physics professor. He lives in California. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
The author writes well, and his style changes right along with the subject matter. He begins arrogantly enough, but as he encounters the Khmer Rouge takeover -- the fierce hatred in their faces while they shove hospital patients, with their bandages and IV lines, into the streets -- the author transitions into a strange kind of detachment, which doubtlessly helped him survive some intense psychological trauma. It seems unbelievable that humans could do all he describes, but other authors and sources back up the events, so I am left believing him.
At the end of the book, the author returns to postwar Vietnam and looks for a trace of its former identity amidst the destitution and depression. He finds his girlfriend's old cat near their former apartment, and it seems only the cat's combination of emotional aloofness, wariness around people, and ability to take advantage of Luck have allowed it to survive while so many humans perished, either mentally or physically.
I bought this book to help prepare for a medical trip to Cambodia, and it helped understand what the people endured. Perhaps this book shows, no matter how optimistic we may be about the potential of the human spirit, we must also be cautious.
During this time in VN and Cambodia he develops a romance which he cannot sustain due to his obsession with war reporting. Going back to Europe is just too dull. He interjects into this book an episode wherein he is captured while reporting in Ethiopia which seemed a little out of place and added-on as it does not fit with the premise of the book "a memoir of Vietnam and Cambodia" (right there on the front of the book) but is an important part of his overall experience as a journalist. Swain has a strong distaste for Americans and the role of America in the war. (la meme histoire). A little America bashing. Similar to what Americans often meet from Europeans (we are simply too crude "gauche" and self-centered). Interestingly twice in the book he points out the heroism (his word) of two Americans who are supremely brave in helping Cambodians in danger.
It would help me to have known more about developments leading to the war (including Dien Bien Phu, etc) as this book does not offer many details/facts about the war in VN and Cambodia. Not that this detracts from his story at all but I think it could have helped me put his stories more in context. Tales about particular people such as foreign mercenaries and boat people added much to a personal account of the war. A nice addition are the poems included at junctiures in the book which were written by a serviceman (killed at war).
En fin, c'est un livre que j'aime mais, quel dommage, avec quelques problemes. (Swain made me do it).
Most recent customer reviews
The book was a gift and I have to thank the relative who passed it on.Read more