This comprehensive review of the gulag system instituted in communist Vietnam explores the three-pronged approach that was used to convert the rebellious South into a full-fledged communist country after 1975. This book attempts to retrace the path of these imprisoned people from the last months of the war to their escape from Vietnam and explores the emotions that gripped them throughout their stay in the camps. Individual reactions to the camps varied depending on philosophical, emotional and moral beliefs. This reconstruction of those years serves as a memoir for all who were incarcerated in the bamboo gulags.
Saigon (since 1976, officially Hồ Chí Minh City but widely still referred to as Saigon) is the largest metropolitan area in modern Vietnam and has long been the country’s economic engine. This is the city’s complete history, from its humble beginnings as a Khmer village in the swampy Mekong delta to its emergence as a major political, economic and cultural hub. The city’s many transitions through the hands of the Chams, Khmers, Vietnamese, Chinese, French, Japanese, Americans, nationalists and communists are examined in detail, as well as the Saigon-led resistance to collectivization and the city’s central role in Vietnam’s perestroika-like economic reforms.
The Battle of An Loc was one of the bloodiest battles in the Vietnam War and a defining moment in the history of the Republic of South Vietnam. A few square blocks tucked among vast rubber tree plantations, the provincial town was thought to be of little strategic value to the North Vietnamese. Yet for 66 days in 1972, it was the scene of savage house-to-house street fighting as artillery and mortar fire pounded the town daily until almost nothing was left standing. Facing three North Vietnamese infantry divisions, General Lê Văn Hưng defended the town with 7,500 men, vowing to “die with An Loc.” A decisive victory for the South Vietnamese, the battle came at a time when the United States had begun pulling out of Vietnam and few American troops were on the ground. No foreign reporters were on hand and the action was ignored or misreported by the world press. This book tells the story of An Loc from the unique perspective of an officer who shared a bunker with the general during the fight.
The biggest diaspora in Vietnamese history occurred between 1975 and 1992, when more than two million people fled by boat to escape North Vietnam’s oppressive communist regime. Before this well-known exodus from Vietnam’s shores, however, there was a massive population shift within the country. In 1954, one million fled from north to south to escape war, famine, and the communist land reform campaign. Many of these refugees went on to flee Vietnam altogether in the 1970s and 1980s, and the experiences of 1954 influenced the later diaspora in other ways as well. This book reassesses the causes and dynamics of the 1975–92 diaspora. It begins with a discussion of Vietnam from 1939 to 1954, then looks closely at the 1954 “Operation Exodus” and the subsequent resettlements. From here the focus turns to the later events that drove hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese to flee their homeland in 1975 and the years that followed. Planning for escape, choosing routes, facing pirates at sea, and surviving the refugee camps are among the many topics covered. Stories of individual escapees are provided throughout. The book closes with a look at the struggles and achievements of the resettled Vietnamese.
Legends are a mirror of the culture that creates them, a revealing lens through which to observe society, religion, history, and traditions. This volume explores Vietnamese legends from 1321 to today—tales of gods, spirits, ghosts, giants, extraordinary individuals, heroes, common people, and animals. It explains the mores, thought processes, and religions that formed the genesis of Vietnamese legends, traces the development of legends through time and space, and highlights the historical and social differences between northern and southern legends. Over time, this work shows, Vietnamese legends have evolved from a 14th century means of government propaganda to become a form of news, entertainment, and thought for the masses.
Vietnamese make up one of the largest refugee populations in the United States, some arriving by boat in 1975 after the fall of Saigon and others coming in the 1990s. This collection of 22 essays by 14 authors illuminates Vietnamese-American culture, views of freedom and oppression, and the issues of relocation, assimilation and transition for two million people. It contains personal experiences of the Vietnam War, life under Communist rule, and escape to America.