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Vietnam: A Portrait of its People at War (Tauris Parke Paperbacks) Paperback – February 15, 2009

4.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Chanoff and Toai conducted interviews over a two-year period with Vietnamese exiles in the United States and Europe, and obtained transcripts of military interrogations of Vietcong and North Vietnamese defectors and prisoners of war. The resulting collection of first-person accounts succeeds in humanizing our former foe in a way not found in other works published in English, largely because of the wide variety of attitudes, political outlooks and the strong individuality of the voices heard. Characters include a North Vietnamese propaganda chief, a Vietcong general, a village secretary-guerrilla, a Vietcong assassin, a Buddhist opposition leader and a man who served both in the Saigon national assembly and its counterpart in Hanoi. Chanoff, who teaches at Harvard, and Toai, director of the Institute for Southeast Asian Policy Analysis at Berkeley, coauthored The Vietnamese Gulag.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Through three Asian wars within 30 years, Americans have lacked an understanding of the enemy. The recent flood of books on the Vietnam War has focused on the American side. In this important work the authors present totally absorbing vignettes of some 36 North Vietnamese, Vietcong, and Third Force adversaries through their own words. At the level of the individual rather than the regime, the enemy was not a faceless fanatic, but a human being with fears, doubts, and concerns that mingled with courage, faith, and dedication. In a sensitive afterword Chanoff speaks of the "ordinary heroism" of the Vietnamese. Highly recommended for use in college courses and for the informed public. Steven I. Levine, Sch. of International Service, American Univ., Washington, D.C.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: Tauris Parke Paperbacks
  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Tauris Parke Paperbacks; Reissue edition (February 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845118537
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845118532
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.7 x 7.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,135,160 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is that rare book on Vietnam which contributes new information which is essential to understanding the war and the country. Chanoff and Toai have assembled an extraordinary set of new interviews, published reminiscences, and war-time interrogation reports with northern and southern Vietnamese participants in the decades long struggle to build a unified communist country.
These are as frank and revealing a set of eyewitness interviews as anyone is ever likely to assemble. They deal honestly and painfully with the hardships of war, the combination of idealism and brutality that pervade daily life during war, and the shattered dreams of many participants during land reform, ideological purges and power grabs.
I consider this one of the 15 or 20 books that belongs on everyone's list of the ten most important books written on the war. Along with books by David Marr, Hue-Tam Ho Tai and Le Ly Hayslip, I consider it one of the essential sources on Vietnam itself. There is not just the insight of personal memoirs from well-known events, there are also many major revelations about critical events in the war -- such as the Buddhist struggles and the building of the Ho Chi Minh trail.
I have been teaching courses on the contry and the war for over 20 years at the University of California at San Diego. I expect to be using this book in class for many years.
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Format: Paperback
This was quite interesting and I will use a few of the interviews for my teaching of the Vietnam War in my US History class. Nice to expose my students to the "enemy".
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Format: Paperback
A very interesting read. One question however does remain unanswered. Having fought so hard for the communists, why did these same people abandon Vietnam for the west?
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Is a good book about the vietnamese soldiers, the irony is almost all in the book deserted the communist goverment.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A must book to read to get a better understanding of the Vietnamese people,I could not put it down. Great reading
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