- Paperback: 450 pages
- Publisher: Howard S. Lewin (May 15, 2005)
- ISBN-10: 097646540X
- ISBN-13: 978-0976465409
- Package Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 1.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,465,487 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Sunsets, Bulldozers, And Elephants: Twelve Years in Laos, The Stories I Never Told Paperback – May 15, 2005
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Howard Lewin's book is quite an extraordinary piece of work. In a down-to-earth record of his 12 years in Laos, Lewin recaptures the Lao countryside, the people (both Lao and American), the complex political situation during that tumultuous time. Chock full of amazing anecdotes (all true, to that I can attest, having been there myself between 1962 and 1965), about unusual animals(a python about 26 feet long), various exotic food and drink; but most importantly the nature of village life, and people's attitudes toward development. In that respect, the book is a great guide about the roles which development workers should play in places like this. Whether the reader knew Laos in those days, or he/she wants to work in rural development anywhere, this should be required reading. Lewin's style is highly personal, but he ventures into the ironies of American policy in Southeast Asia during those days, with often-sophisticated insights. The whole things is a jolly good read.
Top customer reviews
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"From the eye-catching photograph that draws the reader's attention to the book cover, through his very personalized account of adventures that spanning twelve years in the unbelievable Land Of Nod, aka "The Royal Kingdom Of Laos", Howard Lewin has turned out a fine first effort.
Either deliberately, or by great good luck, he has chosen to give an intimate, day-by-day account, warts included, of his service, first with the American International Voluntary Service team and then as a member of the U.S. Agency for International Development. He has retained most of the details and the book often reads like a diary, as he frankly discusses his successes and problems.
He breaks new ground here, detailing the day by day life of an ordinary civilian trying to accomplish meaningful tasks in a war-ravaged country, The more popular route would have been the usual expose of CIA activities in Laos, the bombing campaign by the U.S. Air Force or the swash-buckling activities of Air America pilots. But the plentiful supply of good photographs that accompany his story of everyday life make even clearing a road through the jungle clear even to non-engineers.
The book will appeal most of all to the "Old Hands" who served in Laos, and undoubtedly raise the blood pressure among many....But, as Mr. Lewin writes in the dedication, his story- elephants, bulldozers and romantic interludes included- is something he wanted his children to know. They can be proud of their father..."
Several days ago I received your book and sent off a letter to you expressing my conviction that your memoirs are the best yet written about the period in which some of us served for varying lengths of time in Laos. Congratulations, Howie! Your revision of the original manuscript is a great success and the final, like the original, is fascinating, insightful, entertaining and wonderfully lively.