I was born In 1968, you would think I would know something about the Vietnam war... But really I didn't. I think I grew up in an era that didn't like the war so not only in school did I learn nothing (or I wasn't paying attention) but my father married when drafted and got out of going. So growing up I did not have a veteran father. This book was eye opening to me. I 'know' a few Vietnamese from nail shops, I have spoken with them, they told be Vietnam is bad, but I did not comprehend how truly bad it was/is... On top of it all to stand out as half American and half Vietnamese and not be counted worthy, I still can't wrap my brain around.... Their story is very complex and sad... 2 worlds in which they fit into neither. Non acceptance by the world, any world. I've seen poverty as a child but never the poverty at this level. This book really opened my eyes to a population of people I knew nothing of. It made me sad. It made me cry. These Amerasians are my age.
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.
This book describes the lives of several of the Amerasian children who were a product of the Vietnamese War. It discusses the racism that these children, especially the children of African American descent suffered in Vietnam. It also describes the Amerasian Homecoming Act which allowed these children to immigrate to the United States. This was an interesting book and it opens your eyes up to how both the American and Vietnamese governments failed to help their Amerasian children.
When you think of the acronym POW, do you immediately think of those iconic thin figures who crouch inside a bamboo tiger cage, hoping against all ods for his release back into freedom? A metaphorical equivalent to the POW is the Vietnamese Amerasian because many were born imprisoned in their own skin and have been trying to escape their identity as the enemy, the Other, all their lives.
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.
There are over one hundred thousand Amerasians born during the Vietnam War to American soldiers and Vietnamese mothers: five selected survivors receive focus here as an example of the issues surrounding this group. They are almost always the poorest, grew up under a repressive government, and are victims of racial and class politics. While some thirty thousand entered the U.S., many found no haven: they were illiterate and suffered from physical and mental problems, finding survival a very different kind of struggle in the U.S. Surviving Twice not only profiles their problems - it examines the overall issues surrounding war survivors.
Ms. Yarborough has written about one of the most tragic and overlooked aftermaths of any war, the plight of the offspring of native women and occupying troops, in this case Vietnam. This erudite and seminal book provides firsthand personal accounts of the hardships and discrimination faced by Amerasians first in their own country and later in their adopted land. A must read for those of us who opposed, as well as those who supported, this war.