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Surviving Twice: Amerasian Children of the Vietnam War Paperback – September 1, 2006
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
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About the Author
Trin Yarborough has been communications director and editor for the Institute for Policy Studies and communications director for Oxfam America, and most recently worked on the news desk of The Daily Journal, which serves the California legal community. She lives in Los Angeles, California.
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The writing itself was at times repetitive but in the end I see the whole story that was written. I read it in 2 days, I did not read every word but I did get the seance of it. I gave only 4 star because of repeated ness but I was enthrall end by the story telling and can say I enjoined learning about this time period of life for these people.
Trin Yarborough has written a deeply engaging book that mixes anecdotal evidence, historical fact and oral histories to impart to the reader the overwhelming injustice experienced by these individuals born to Vietnamese mothers and American service personnel.
The reader gets to know Amerasians Alan "Tiger" Hoa, Sara Phuong, Son Chau, Louis Nguyen and Nan Bui, who all have experienced enormous loss and various amounts of success in the U.S.
The book includes some information that alludes to the systemization of prostitution in South Vietnam for the enjoyment of American military and, especially, civilian personnel, thus possibly leading to a bulk of the births between Vietnamese women and their American partners. The caveat is, however, always put forward that marriages and quite intimate relationships developed between these two groups.
Growing up in a deprived and desperate environment, and experiencing very little love or affection from immediate family members, these Amerasians understandably were led by fantasies they created of someday reuniting with their fathers in the U.S. who, in the very Vietnamese mindset, would have no choice but to embrace them and provide for their welfare. They had dreams of arriving in a country full of riches and that would welcome them back with open arms because of the American half of their heritage. Thus, the reader cannot help but sympathize with their gross naivete and dashed hopes when these Amerasians come to realize that their lives have changed, but not necessarily for the better. In fact, some of them end up in gangs, forced marriages, slave labor or in menial existences that parallel their lives in Vietnam.
Yarborough notes a double betrayal of the Amerasians when their own mothers neglect them, abandon them or the new Communist authorities ship them off to work in the New Economic Zones or society in general view them as shameful relics of a disastrous war. In the same vein, the U.S. government first denies their status as either citizens or refugees by virtue of their American parentage and is then persuaded to enact legislation to enable these Amerasians to emigrate, but do such an incompetent job of it that it eventually shuts down. Not only that, but the programs set up to assimilate the new arrivals are woefully underfunded and irregular.
It is to the Amerasians' full credit that they have found the will to survive in two hostile lands whose people seem to want to just forget their existence and thus the legacy of a brutal war for which these individuals are still paying a heavy price. Their stories are not over. They deserve justice so that they may be at peace with themselves.