BOOKMARK section - vnafmamn.com
"...What most U.S. soldiers did there taught them little or nothing about South Vietnam 's culture, society, politics, etc. Few Americans spoke more than a half-dozen words of Vietnamese; even fewer read Vietnamese books and newspapers; and not many more read books about Vietnam in English..."
Harry F. Noyes III, a Vietnam Vet knows about the nature of Vietnam War much better than a lot of "main stream" journalists of the 60's decade when he wrote down the above sentences. Indeed, Vietnam War is a complex war that intertwined with many aspects of life; ranging from culture, custom, religion, society and politics. In another the word, its roots lay in the ideological struggles called "The Political Warfare" that even the top Brass in the Pentagon didn't have a bit concept of it. All the strategists have known is Guerrilla Warfare or Conventional Warfare. On the final month of the war, Americans and most Western Journalist had gone, they didn't stay to witness by their own eyes the outcome of that "Political Warfare." Wherever the ARVN withdrew, even the poorest farmers would pack up their families and their cattle to move along with that losing Army. They had nothing to ride, but walked on feet along the deathly highways under the Viet Cong artilery shells, although they knew so damn well that the ARVN now wouldn't be able to protect their families any more.
To offer a better perspective and to shed a new light on Vietnam War to the young readers, we are going to open this page under the banner "Setting The Records Straight." On this page, we will introduce some good books (or documentary films) about Vietnam War, written by decent authors. We have no special connections to the authors, nor the publishing companies. All is done just by chance or by recommendation from friends.
MORE PAGES TO READ
BOOKMARK page #2
USAF AND VNAF A-1SKYRAIDER UNITS OF THE VIETNAM WAR
By Byron E Hukee
Click on to see larger picture
USAF AND VNAF A-1SKYRAIDER UNITS OF THE VIETNAM WAR
Publication Date: March 19, 2013
USAF Skyraider units were originally tasked to serve as quasi-training units for the fledgling VNAF. Equipped only with the two-seat models of the Skyraider, American pilots were required to have VNAF ‘observers’ in the aircraft for every mission. Eventually, this arrangement was changed as enough Vietnamese pilots were trained to man their own squadrons, while USAF squadrons were tasked with close support for US ground forces. Eventually, no fewer than four USAF and seven VNAF Skyraider units saw service in Vietnam. Additionally, one A-1 training squadron flew from Hurlburt Field, Florida, throughout the Vietnam War era. In the ten years that this squadron was active, nearly 1000 USAF and 300 VNAF pilots were trained in the Skyraider. While the core mission of all Skyraider squadrons was Close Air Support (CAS), other missions were accomplished at various times. Among these were Search and Rescue (SAR), night interdiction on the Ho Chi Minh trail, helicopter escort and special forces support to name but a few. Each of these missions took full advantage of the Skyraider’s ability to deliver a variety of munitions in close proximity to friendly forces while inflicting heavy casualties on enemy forces.
Book can be bought at
this Amazon link
Author Profile: BYRON E HUKEE
Byron E Hukee is a retired USAF fighter pilot who flew not only the A-1 Skyraider but also the F-100, A-7D, F-5, and F-16. Though without a lengthy publishing pedigree, he has amassed a vast collection of resources relating to the A-1 Skyraider in the 13 years since he launched his Skyraider.org website. His ‘virtual’ book, the A-1 Combat Journal, on that website chronicles his one year tour flying the Skyraider in combat with the 1st Special Operations Squadron (SOS) ‘Hobos’. This work contains details and introspective insights of each of his 138 combat sorties flown during that year. He has also written an article about a particularly interesting double search and rescue mission entitled Down There Amongst Them that first appeared in the October 2010 issue of Flight Journal Magazine.
INTRODUCTION OF USAF AND VNAF A-1SKYRAIDER UNITS OF THE VIETNAM WAR
To cover the units that flew Skyraiders in both the USAF and the
Vietnamese Air Force (VNAF) during the Vietnam War proved to
be a somewhat daunting task. The 12 squadrons of these two air
forces that were equipped with the Douglas aircraft saw extensive combat
from 1960 to 1975. And this 15-year period is but five years short of
spanning the entire existence of the VNAF. History will show that with
the introduction of the AD-6 Skyraider in 1960, the VNAF truly had
a capable, albeit demanding, aircraft – demanding in that it required a
pilot’s full attention all of the time, whether in the air or on the ground.
That it lasted 15 years as the VNAF’s frontline attack aircraft speaks
volumes for its capabilities, and those of the men who flew it.
These capabilities, however, did not come without a price. Of the
approximately 350 Skyraiders operated by the VNAF, only 70 remained
by the end of 1973. And by the time the North Vietnamese Army (NVA)
invaded South Vietnam in April 1975, just 40 Skyraiders were left at
various VNAF bases for the enemy to use as they saw fit. It was the end
of not only the VNAF, but also of the country the Skyraider units had
fought so hard to defend.
Nestled inside this 15-year timeframe was the eight-year period that the
USAF operated various models of the A-1 Skyraider in Southeast Asia.
Commencing operations in-theatre in mid-1964, Skyraiders were the
premier close air support (CAS) aircraft for the USAF until the end of 1972.
The A-1 also became synonymous with the search and rescue (SAR)
mission, and many a downed airman gave thanks when he heard the voice
of a ‘Sandy’ on his survival radio, followed shortly after by the din of the
Wright R-3350 radial engine as the Skyraider roared overhead. But make
no mistake, the A-1 served well in all of its roles, from Special Forces
fort defence to Military Assistance Command, Vietnam – Studies and
Observations Group (MACV-SOG) support.
All Skyraider pilots gave some, but far too many gave their all. Of the
approximately 330 A-1s operated by the USAF in Southeast Asia, nearly
200 were lost. More than 100 USAF Skyraider pilots were either killed in
action or listed as missing in action.
To help the reader remain oriented, a map of Southeast Asian air bases
is shown opposite. A Skyraider unit timeline is provided in the Appendix.
Within each chapter, total losses of Skyraiders and pilots are given.
This data comes from military and government sources for both the
USAF and VNAF. The aircraft loss data for VNAF aircraft was kept by
the HQ VNAF Office of Safety and covers the period from the beginning
of 1962 to the end of July 1973. Although incomplete, the data provides
a representative sample of losses throughout the Vietnam War.
Further information on the aircraft, and the men that flew it, can be
found at http://skyraider.org and http://a-1combatjournal.com. These
two websites have been online since 1997, and they provide a wealth of
information for both historians and modellers alike.
BLACK APRIL: The Fall of South Vietnam
By George J. Veith
Click on to see larger picture
Back Cover Blurbs
BLACK APRIL: The Fall of South Vietnam, 1973-75
Publication Date: May 08, 2012
The defeat of South Vietnam was arguably America's worst foreign policy disaster of the 20th Century. Yet a complete understanding of the endgame—from the 27 January 1973 signing of the Paris Peace Accords to South Vietnam's surrender on 30 April 1975—has eluded us.
Black April addresses that deficit. A culmination of exhaustive research in three distinct areas: primary source documents from American archives, North Vietnamese publications containing primary and secondary source material, and dozens of articles and numerous interviews with key South Vietnamese participants, this book represents one of the largest Vietnamese translation projects ever accomplished, including almost one hundred rarely or never seen before North Vietnamese unit histories, battle studies, and memoirs. Most important, to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of South Vietnam's conquest, the leaders in Hanoi released several compendiums of formerly highly classified cables and memorandum between the Politburo and its military commanders in the south. This treasure trove of primary source materials provides the most complete insight into North Vietnamese decision-making ever complied. While South Vietnamese deliberations remain less clear, enough material exists to provide a decent overview.
Ultimately, whatever errors occurred on the American and South Vietnamese side, the simple fact remains that the country was conquered by a North Vietnamese military invasion despite written pledges by Hanoi's leadership against such action. Hanoi's momentous choice to destroy the Paris Peace Accords and militarily end the war sent a generation of South Vietnamese into exile, and exacerbated a societal trauma in America over our long Vietnam involvement that reverberates to this day. How that transpired deserves deeper scrutiny.
In the first of a projected two volumes, Veith (Code-Name Bright Light: The Untold Story of U.S. POW Rescue Efforts During the Vietnam War) provides "a comprehensive analysis of the finale of America's first lost war." That analysis mainly consists of a thorough recounting of the military action that took place after the United States withdrew its last combat troops in March 1973. He combed through official American sources as well as North Vietnamese material, including unit histories, battle studies, and memoirs that he translated into English for the first time. He also mined primary source material from South Vietnam, and conducted dozens of interviews. The result is a detailed account, heavy on descriptions of battlefield tactics of both sides. As for his political analysis, Veith contends—contrary to the prevailing wisdom—that the South Vietnamese in general fought well, and that the U.S. was primarily responsible for their defeat: due to "congressional restraints on aid" to South Vietnam, American "anti-war crusaders," and "major media institutions," as well as North Vietnamese perfidy and South Vietnamese Premier Nguyen Van Thieu's "military blunders." This will appeal to readers who want military details of the conclusion of the Vietnam War, as well as those who share Veith's anticommunism. (Mar.)
Produced by George Lucas
The story of the Tuskegee Airmen, the first African-American pilots to fly in a combat squadron during World War II.
Star Wars creator George Lucas said Monday that Hollywood studios refused to back his new film Red Tails - about World War II's Tuskegee Airmen - because the cast was all black.
"It was designed to be during the war," Lucas said. "It's very patriotic, very jingoistic, very old-fashioned, corny, just exactly like 'Flying Leathernecks' only this one was held up for release from 1942 when it was shot, and I've been trying to get it released ever since."
Lucas told Stewart he's been working on the film for 23 years. Although paying for it himself, he went to the studios to create the prints, ads, and be responsible for distribution.
"I showed it to all of them and they said, 'No. We don't know how to market a movie like this."
When Stewart asked why, Lucas first responded, "Because it's not green enough. They only release green movies."
The filmmaker clarified, "It's because it's an all black movie. There's no major white roles in it at all. It's one of the first all black action pictures ever made."
"...Lucas continued, It's a reasonably expensive movie. Normally black movies, say Tyler Perry movies or something, you know, they're very low-budget, and, even they won't release his movies. It goes to the lower, not major distributors. And they do well, but they do a certain amount of money, and they know what that is, and this costs more than those movies make. And they don't believe there's any foreign market for it. That's 60 percent of their profit."
"I wanted to make it inspirational for teenaged boys. I wanted to show that they have heroes, they're real American heroes, they're patriots that helped to make the country what it is today. And it's not glory where you have a lot of white officers running these guys into cannon fodder. It's like a real, they were real heroes."
And Hollywood said, "No."
No wonder VNAF was rarely mentioned by U.S. media during Vietnam war.
ZOUKEI-MURA CONCEPT NOTE (A-1H SKYRAIDER)
About the Book:
Along with Skyraider 1/32 kit, Zoukei-mura company also issues "Zoukei-mura Concept Note" book (No.3 US Navy A-1H Skyraider First Edition). The book has many diagram drawings of Skyraider with attention to detail. One bad thing in the book (I have noticed by looking at the photo shot at the page) is the model of VNAF 516th FS Skyraider, which has some "horrible" (tam bay tam ba) markings and the two incorrect curves of exhaust stain on the fuselage. I guess the guy who assembles the kit has made the decals based on his...memory, not on VNAF Skyraider's real pictures; however, this book should be a collective item for Skyraider fans.
You can buy the book at this link
Zoukei-mura Concept Note No.3 US Navy A-1H Skyraider First Edition
Pages: 160 color pages
Language: Japanese with English Translations (Some parts only Japanese)
FALL OF THE FLYING DRAGON
By Albert Grandolini
About the Book:
Compiled with extensive help from previously unavailable documents that have emerged from official Vietnamese archives, and also with the assistance of narratives from dozens of participants and eyewitnesses, this volume reveals that air warfare over Vietnam did not end when the US pulled out of Southeast Asia.
A VIETNAMESE FIGHTER PILOT IN AN AMERICAN WAR
By Tran Ba Hoi
Pilot Tran Ba Hoi & VNAF fighters
Tran Ba Hoi & 83rd FS Pilots
About the Book
This book is a reminiscence of the author's seventy-six years of life spanning from the last quarter of the twentieth century to the early twenty-first century, and how he learned that Uncle Ho was but a heartless scoundrel, a villain who dragged Viet Nam into a long bloody internecine war. This story is about his poor, underdeveloped, and ill-fated country that was the target for foreign invasion and China domination in ancient history. It is about a country badly ravaged by wars because of the egocentric monster Ho Chi Minh.
"As a responsible and patriotic young Vietnamese, I had, along with millions of others, offered twenty-two of the best years of my life fighting against the evil North Vietnamese Communist to preserve freedom for the last piece of free land in the south. Unfortunately, powerful global politics had forced the RVN to her painful demise. In this book, you will find my honest account of the Viet Nam War as I saw it and fought in it."
• Hoi B. Tran
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Hoi B. Tran was a 10 year-old Vanguard Youth Troop in Ha Noi, North Viet Nam who revered Ho Chi Minh when he seized power in August 1945. Fascinated by propaganda, Hoi passionately sang "who loves uncle Ho more than us children" as taught by Communist cadres. In 1953, Hoi was conscripted into the Nationalist Vietnamese Air Force to fight against Ho. When Viet Nam was divided in 1954, Hoi had to evacuate to the South. In 1955, Hoi was sent to the U.S for training. After the Gulf of Tonkin incident, Hoi flew the first retaliatory strike mission in North Viet Nam.
For information on buying the book, CLICK HERE.
HELL IN AN LOC
By Lam Quang Thi
In 1972 a North Vietnamese offensive of more than 30,000 men and one hundred tanks smashed into South Vietnam and raced to capture Saigon. All that stood in their way was a small band of 6,800 South Vietnamese (ARVN) soldiers and militiamen, and a handful of American advisors with U.S. air support, guarding An Loc, a town 60 miles north of Saigon and on the main highway to it.
This depleted army, outnumbered and outgunned, stood its ground and fought to the end and succeed. Against all expectations, the ARVN beat back furious assaults from 3 North Vietnamese divisions, supported by artillery and armored regiments, during the three months of savage fighting.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Lam Quang Thi was a general in the ARVN. He is the auther of "The Twenty-five Year Century: A South Vietnamese General Remembers the Indochina War to the Fall of Saigon (UNT Press). He lives in Fremont, California. Andrew West (foreword) is the author of "Vietnam's Forgotten Army: Heroism and Betrayal in the ARVN."
THE ANGEL FROM VIETNAM
By Jim Stewart
Jim Stewart is a Vietnam Vet and a friend of vnafmamn who from time to time has contributed many interesting news and articles. His book "The Angel From Vietnam" (aka "The Ghosts Of Vienam") has been posted sometime ago as the first entry on the "bookmark" section of this site; today I am pulling it up as a rerun with some updates. Most Vietnam war stories more or less dealt with blood and gore, Jim's book reflected another touching, emotion aspect: A humanity side of war, but not lacking humors. For more pictures of Jim and his VN Vet buddies, please click here on Soldiers' Stories section ("Vietnam Doghandler" at the end of the page). Enjoy the following reviews on his book.
Raised in rural northeastern Maryland, Jim Stewart spends his childhood playing baseball, catching frogs in the woods, and learning to play guitar. A personal tragedy strikes the day he graduates from high school. Jim finds the need to leave home and joins the army in February of 1966.
After a grueling stint in basic training, Jim is shipped off to Vietnam as a military policeman. He endures mortar shelling, takes part in Operation Cedar Falls, and makes lifelong friends along the way. While stationed at Saigon, he even meets a girl, falls in love, and has a child.
After his tour of duty ends, Jim returns to Vietnam determined to be with Mai. When he starts working at the Army Post Exchange in Saigon, Mai gives birth to their daughter. Jim insists they move to America, but Mai refuses. Jim then makes a decision that will haunt him the rest of his life.
Rich with detail and brimming with emotion, Jim shares his extraordinary journey through a tumultuous time, revealing his internal struggles as he copes with The Ghosts of Vietnam.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jim Stewart was born in Wilmington, Delaware, in 1946 and was raised in the countryside north of Elkton, Maryland. Jim enlisted in the Army in 1966 and spent four years in Vietnam. He retired as a police officer in 2001 and is married to the love of his life, Carmen Fregoso.
In The Ghosts of Vietnam, author Jim Stewart reminisces back on his life, which included 4 years in-country. It is not your normal combat action story but actually a warm and at times tender loving story of a young man seeking to find himself during the war and the years afterwards. It is about a journey and not just a diary of where he has been and what he has done. You get inside his heart, as well as his head.
There is a touching scene from his experience as an MP in the Saigon area when he witnesses a little girl on a bike get killed by a truck. He never forgot that little girl, nor the image of her lying on the ground with half her skull missing. It haunts him in the background of his heart; and in a strange twist of fate, that tragic scene gets played out again later in life when he seeks to find his own daughter whom he left behind in Vietnam.
This book is both funny and sad. It is at times, spiritual as well as being very worldly but it is always entertaining. It reads very easily and for people who do not like typical war books, this is the one to read. This is not one of those blatant "I am a hero" with blood and gore stories. This book shows a different side of the war – the kind where crime, black markets and life behind the battle lines in Saigon and the cities are the focus. It is also about love and the loss of love.
This is a story of a man who never really got to enjoy being a father to his daughter; a man who lost his youth many years ago in a far-a-way place that still dreams inside him at night. Yes, there are still ghosts of Vietnam within him but he is finally at peace
Reviewer: Bill McDonald – President of the MWSA
"Jim has written a powerful and touching memoir...compelling and engaging, poignant story of love, loss and redemption, filled with memorable characters as well as humorous vignettes. Once you start you won't be able to put it down. After you've read this haunting and compelling book you won't be able to get it out of your mind."
Diana Dell, Author, A Saigon Party: And Other Vietnam War Short Stories
For more information about the book, please visit Jim's website USMP IN VIETNAM
RIDE THE THUNDER
By Richard Botkin
Skipper John Ripley and "Ripley Raider" Sgt. Chuck Goggin
Lt. Col. Le Ba Binh
Capt. George Philip
RIDE THE THUNDER
The author of a new book that reveals the heroic and largely untold story of how Vietnamese Marines and their U.S. advisers actually were winning the Vietnam War will visit a California museum where a book-signing has been scheduled.
Richard Botkin, author of "Ride the Thunder," toured battlefields in Vietnam and has chronicled accounts of the Vietnamese military organization called TQLC, whose members, with their American advisers, "fought, bled, endured and triumphed against communism."
According to officials at the California State Military Museum in Sacramento, they will hold a book-signing at 1 p.m. on Aug. 15.
Their announcement said the museum will welcome Botkin to discuss his work and sign copies.
On Amazon.com, the book already has rocketed to No. 1 in books on the Vietnam War and to No. 1 in books on veterans. It's No. 2 in books in Asian history, and is 628 overall.
According to the museum, Botkin breaks new ground "in telling the heroic story of a few American and Vietnamese Marines who fought brilliantly and turned the tide of the Vietnam War, only to have policymakers surrender the battlefield."
"Botkin tells the story of Captain John Ripley's daring raid to destroy the Dong Ha Bridge; Major Le Ba Binh and his seven hundred Marines bravely holding off more than 20 thousand North Vietnamese troops; Lieutenant Colonel Gerry Turley's leadership and bravery that helped thwart the Easter Offensive – and much more," according to the museum.
In an earlier exclusive interview with WND, Botkin explained how he believes what Americans know about the end of the Vietnam War is wrong – because they were 8,000 miles away and were told only one side of the story.
"From the American side, I think most people have a completely uninformed or misinformed opinion of the Vietnam War," Botkin told WND. "Most Americans, including people who served in Vietnam, didn't appreciate the level of sacrifice of the South Vietnamese. These people love freedom."
He documents how the Viet Cong, a band of communist guerrillas in South Vietnam, blended in with the civilian population and even posed as police officers. Known for their stealth and deception, they often poisoned wells and intimidated civilians into silence, forcing them to endure classes of communist propaganda and indoctrination.
Also, soldiers of the communist North Vietnamese Army, or NVA, routinely attacked thousands of helpless civilian refugees – including young women, elderly citizens and crying children – with intentional and indiscriminate artillery fire. In 1968, communists murdered between 3,000 and 6,000 innocent civilians and buried them in mass graves. Families endured pain, suffering, and indignities that many Americans might never imagine while communists released propaganda readily consumed by Western critics of the Vietnam War.
Botkin he writes about the propaganda that was issued by the communists – and snapped up by Western media. Such media demonization of U.S. and South Vietnamese efforts played a role in turning the tide of American support for the war, he said.
Many times, correspondents conveyed the idea that the enemy had networks of tunnels and hideouts, with Viet Cong fighters running rampant in jungles and lurking in villages. While the press gave many Americans a feeling that Marines and soldiers were always in harm's way, the Republic of Vietnam's fledgling democracy was beginning, by 1966, to show progress and promise.
Botkin wrote that by 1968 the ongoing struggle to win American hearts and minds through television in the country's living rooms was not going well, and the enemy used the Western media's depressing war coverage to their advantage.
Botkin noted that American media and movies often still portray the Vietnamese as corrupt, weak, effete and treasonous rather than people who were fighting for their freedom. But he said "Ride the Thunder" reveals the untold inspirational story the media neglected – one of friendship, bravery, patriotism and courage.
On Jan. 23, 1973, President Nixon proclaimed "Peace with Honor" in his televised speech to the world.
"We used that as a cover to disengage," Botkin said. "History is replete with examples of communists only abiding by treaties that are to their advantage and shrugging them off every other time. It was the honorable exit, or 'Peace with Honor' – even though there was no honor and no peace."
•By Theodore P. Savas
The product description supplied by the publisher to Amazon does not begin to do justice to this marvelous new entry on the shockingly misunderstood war in Vietnam. Ride the Thunder is not a traditional single-volume history of the long and very complex combat-diplo-war in Southeast Asia. Instead, author Richard Botkin (a former United States Marine Corps infantry officer) carves off an important slice of the story, packing and filling around the edges to provide a contextual telling of the events in toto.
Botkin's tale centers on the little-told and virtually unknown story of a handful of American and Vietnamese Marines who fought against horrendous odds and arguably WON the war by stopping a brutal 1972 invasion by North Vietnam (known as the Easter Offensive). These same brave souls lived to watch diplomats and politicians insert the surrender rug beneath their feet, yank it out, and knock down the victorious edifice earned by the blood of tens of thousands of men and women (including 50,000+ young Americans).
Central to the plot are a few individuals and their daring exploits, chief among them Capt. John Ripley (whose jaw-dropping raid to blow up the Dong Ha bridge is told here better than anywhere else I have ever read); Maj. Le Ba Binh (a South Vietnamese Marine whose men fought off and beat back more than 20 times their number), and Lt. Col. Gerry Turley (whose strategic and tactical leadership and personal courage helped stave off what looked to be certain defeat, and then turn it into a victory). By the time you finish this book, you will know these men, their families (in most cases), and their hearts.
"Everything Americans know about the end of the Vietnam War is wrong," claimed the author in a publicly available interview. "From the American side, I think most people have a completely uninformed or misinformed opinion of the Vietnam War. Most Americans, including people who served in Vietnam, didn't appreciate the level of sacrifice of the South Vietnamese. These people love freedom." Indeed this is true. Very few in the West--even at this late date--appreciate what took place there, especially during the war's latter years. As Botkin documents, the Communists (NVA) routinely and intentionally used artillery fire to kill thousands of helpless civilians (including the young the old, and the sick). "They would even place high-value targets near civilian centers." If you pay attention to modern events, the similarity to tactics employed by Hamas, Hezbollah, and Al Qaeda will come to mind. Politicians, including Ted Kennedy, promised one thing and then cut off support, guaranteeing that millions of people in South Vietnam would endure a life of misery, near-slavery, and mass butchery. This backstabbing effort, developed inside Washington, D.C., also ensured that Pol Pot would have free rein to fertilize the killing fields of Cambodia with the blood of millions of his own citizens.
Why, then, were we in the America fed lies of the worse kind? "The communists were masters at using propaganda against us," Botkin explains. Freedom-seeking Vietnamese endured untold pain and suffering unimaginable to most Americans while Communists released propaganda lapped up by Western critics of the war. Communist = Good, American military = Bad. The obvious lies spun from salons in Hanoi (and even inside our own Capitol Building) fit the media-spun meme of the times. The parallel to what is transpiring now in Honduras is palpable. There was no military coup there, but the media insist otherwise, and average Americans are duped in the process. It is as disgusting today as it was in the 1960s-70s. And just as dangerous.
Ride the Thunder is fresh in every respect, well-written, and often thrilling. Most of it you have never read before. The final pages detailing the years of untold suffering endured by Maj. Le Ba Binh and his family are heart wrenching (and among the best in the book). I heartily recommend Botkin's book as an antidote to the monographs and storylines heretofore offered up as truth.
By Director Marc Rothemund
Click on the above thumbnail to view the Introduction video clip of the SOPHIE SCHOLL movie
When the enemy is at the gate, it is the right time to introduce a movie based on the true story that inspired the spirit of Liberty. In the most dangerous, oppressed time, there were always some magnificent citizens who stood up for the principles and values of mankind.
In the winter of 1943, as news of the terrible loss of life at the Battle of Stalingrad filtered through to Germans, 21 year old Sophie Scholl, was secretly working with her older brother, Hans, in an underground anti-Nazi movement named White Rose.
But one fateful morning, an alert caretaker spotted them distributing leaflets attacking Hitler at the University of Munich, and they were arrested.
Sophie undergoes long hours of interrogation by Robert Mohr, Alexander Held, who seems puzzled as to why such an intelligent young woman would become, in his eyes, a terrorist.
It's interesting to note that the Gestapo interrogators, though they see Sophie and her comrades as dangerous enemies of the state, don't resort to torture or bad treatment, until, that is, the inevitable moment of execution. Sophie Scholl was one of the leaders of this group and she along with others were executed by beheading in 1943. But her words are an indictment of complacency in the face of encroachment on human freedom and human decency. Sophie Scholl wrote the following about the damage to the German people caused by fascism:
"The real damage is done by those millions who want to 'survive.' The honest men who just want to be left in peace. Those who don't want their little lives disturbed by anything bigger than themselves. Those with no sides and no causes. Those who won't take measure of their own strength, for fear of antagonizing their own weakness. Those who don't like to make waves or enemies. Those for whom freedom, honour, truth, and principles are only literature. Those who live small, mate small, die small. It's the reductionist approach to life: if you keep it small, you'll keep it under control. If you don't make any noise, the bogeyman won't find you. But it's all an illusion, because they die too, those people who roll up their spirits into tiny little balls so as to be safe. Safe?! From what? Life is always on the edge of death; narrow streets lead to the same place as wide avenues, and a little candle burns itself out just like a flaming torch does. I choose my own way to burn."
The six core members of the group were arrested by the Gestapo and executed by beheading in 1943. The text of their sixth leaflet was smuggled out of Germany through Scandinavia to the UK, and in July 1943 copies of it were dropped over Germany by Allied planes, retitled "The Manifesto of the Students of Munich."
Today, the members of the White Rose are honoured in Germany as amongst its greatest heroes, since they opposed the Third Reich in the face of almost certain death.
STEEL & BLOOD: South Vietnamese Armor and the War for Southeast Asia
By Ha Mai Viet
Giving Credit Where Credit is Due
At the outset of the Vietnam War American Army planners had pretty much decided that armor had no place in it. The Vietnamese and the US Marine Corps didn't buy that, and eventually, following the deployment of the 69th armor with the 25th Division, the army accepted that it had a role as well. As the war ground on, American armor became more visible, and the contributions it made to specific battles recognized. The Vietnamese, however, were never given any credit, but were instead routinely panned as "coup troops" or "garrison guards". This book sheds light on the far more complex reality of the Vietnamese armored units at war. It fills a serious gap in the history of the war by highlighting the operations of Vietnamese elements, rather than relegating them to a secondary position as most American authors do.
Reviewed by Philip C. Gutzman
WHY VIETNAM MATTERS
By Rufus Phillips
In The Best and the Brightest, David Halberstam described Rufus Phillips as a man one could trust telling President Kennedy during the Vietnam War about the failures of the Strategic Hamlet Program, 'in itself a remarkable moment in the American bureaucracy, a moment of intellectual honesty.' With that same honesty, Phillips gives an extraordinary inside history of the most critical years of American involvement in Vietnam, from 1954 to 1968, and explains why it still matters. Describing what went right and then wrong, he argues that the United States missed an opportunity to help the South Vietnamese develop a political cause as compelling as that of the Communists by following a big war strategy based on World War II perceptions. This led American policy makers to mistaken assumptions that they could win the war themselves and give the country back to the Vietnamese. Documenting the story from his own private files as well as from the historical record, the former CIA officer paints striking portraits of such key figures as John F. Kennedy, Maxwell Taylor, Robert McNamara, Henry Cabot Lodge, Hubert Humphrey, and Ngo Dinh Diem, among others with whom he dealt.
Phillips details how the legendary Edward G. Lansdale helped the South Vietnamese gain and consolidate their independence between 1954 and 1956, and how this later changed to a reliance on American conventional warfare with its highly destructive firepower. He reasons that our failure to understand the Communists, our South Vietnamese allies, or even ourselves took us down the wrong road. In summing up U.S. errors in Vietnam, Phillips draws parallels with the American experience in Iraq and Afghanistan and suggests changes in the U.S. approach. Known for his intellectual integrity and firsthand, long-term knowledge of what went on in Vietnam, the author offers lessons for today in this trenchant account.
About the Author:
RUFUS PHILLIPS became a member of the Saigon Military Mission in 1954 and the following year served as the sole adviser to two Vietnamese army pacification operations, earning the CIA's Intelligence Medal of Merit for his work. He later worked as a CIA civilian case officer in Vietnam and Laos, then joined the U.S. Agency for International Development's Saigon Mission to lead its counterinsurgency efforts. In 1964 he became a consultant for USAID and the State Department and served as an adviser to Vice President Hubert Humphrey. He lives in Arlington, VA.
HUNTED LIKE ANIMALS
By Director Rebcca Sommer
Click on the above thumbnail to view the home page of "Hunted Like Animals"
JANUARY 2007: "Hunted like Animals" is a documentary film about the on-going genocide on the Hmong people, running and hiding from Laotian military aggressions in the remote mountainous regions of Laos. Many Hmong, who fought as CIA soldiers during the Secret War, retreated into the inaccessible mountains of Laos after the U.S. pulled out in 1975. They became targets of persecution and retaliation due to their role in the Vietnam War. While most Lao-Hmong are integrated into their country and many Hmong surrendered and continue to come out of the jungle to this day, there are disturbing reports of transgressions by the Lao PDR authorities towards those still in hiding. Over thirty years and a generation later the Hmong-in-hiding are attacked, chased, raped and killed by Laotian soldiers. Those who surrender face an uncertain fate. "Hunted like Animals"demonstrates that the Hmong-in-hiding in the Laotian military training areas are going through. They endure genocide, the reason why many escape to Thailand, and become refugees. This story of human rights violations on the Hmong-in-hiding must be told.
Filmmaker Rebecca Sommer traveled in 2005 and 2006 to the Hmong refugee camp Ban Huay Nam Khao, Petchabun, in Thailand, focusing on the Hmong Lao who fled military aggressions in Laos. The testimonies of the Hmong refugees, and footages filmed by the Hmong-in-hiding themselves inside of Laos, are interwoven into the documentary like a tapestry, revealing the human face behind the shocking human rights violations in the remote mountains of Laos, where the Hmong are Hunted like Animals.
For a full report on the struggle for existence of Hmong People (submited to the UN system in May 2006) click on THIS LINK (report by Rebecca Sommer)
• In our capacity as advisors to this film, we find it unique, largely due to the fact that it has been actively supported by such a broad circle of Hmong people, and we recommend it very highly. We believe it will serve as a bridge to connect our people to the international world community, and hopefully to salvation... Vaughn Vang, Executive Director, Hmong Lao Human Rights Council
• Hunted Like Animals is a must-see not only for politicians, diplomats and human rights activists, but for anyone whose heart is in the right place... I wholeheartedly recommend this documentary both for its strong message and for its skillful cinematography... Alexander Nowak, German Consul, New York
"VIETNAM'S FORGOTTEN ARMY"
By Andrew Wiest
Vietnams Forgotten Army: Heroism and Betrayal in the ARVN chronicles the lives of Pham Van Dinh and Tran Ngoc Hue, two of the brightest young stars in the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN). Both men fought with valor in a war that seemed to have no end, exemplifying ARVN bravery and determination that is largely forgotten or ignored in the West. However, while Hue fought until he was captured by the North Vietnamese Army and then endured thirteen years of captivity, Dinh surrendered and defected to the enemy, for whom he served as a teacher in the reeducation of his former ARVN comrades.
An understanding of how two lives that were so similar diverged so dramatically provides a lens through which to understand the ARVN and South Vietnams complex relationship with Americas government and military. The lives of Dinh and Hue reflect the ARVNs battlefield successes, from the recapture of the Citadel in Hue City in the Tet Offensive of 1968, to Dinhs unheralded role in the seizure of Hamburger Hill a year later. However, their careers expose an ARVN that was over-politicized, tactically flawed, and dependent on American logistical and firepower support. Marginalized within an American war, ARVN faced a grim fate as U.S. forces began to exit the conflict. As the structure of the ARVN/U.S. alliance unraveled, Dinh and Hue were left alone to make the most difficult decisions of their lives.
Andrew Wiest weaves historical analysis with a compelling narrative, culled from extensive interviews with Dinh, Hue, and other key figures. Once both military superstars, Dinh is viewed by a traitor by many within the South Vietnamese community, while Hue, an expatriate living in northern Virginia, is seen as a hero who never let go of his ideals. Their experiences and legacies mirror that of the ARVNs rise and fall as well as the tragic history of South Vietnam.
Release Date: 12/1/2007
About the Author:
Andrew Wiest is Professor of History and Co-Director of the Center for the Study of War and Society at the University of Southern Mississippi. He is co-editor of War in the Age of Technology: Myriad Faces of Modern Armed Combat (NYU Press, 2001) and author or co-author of numerous books, including Rolling Thunder in a Gentle Land: The Vietnam War Revisited, Atlas of World War II, and The Vietnam War, 1959 – 1975. He lives in Hattiesburg, MS.
• "Exceptional, both in content and readability. Vietnam's Forgotten Army addresses one of the lacunas in the historiography of the war — the story of the South Vietnamese soldier, a story that more often than not is totally ignored or only given the briefest of consideration. The author's vivid description of combat and its toll put a human face on what for many historians is merely a clinical discussion of unit moves, victories and defeats."
James H. Willbanks, Director, Department of Military History, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College
• "Vietnam's Forgotten Army offers a compelling account of two heroic ARVN officers who, in the final years of the war, choose diametrically opposed courses of action. One surrenders, and enjoys a relatively easy subsequent life, but is plagued by guilt. His comrade-in-arms remains true to the Republic, suffers many years of separation, imprisonment and deprivation, but ultimately finds fulfillment. In the process of telling this remarkable story, Wiest offers a better understanding of the trials and travails of those who served in the Armed Forces of the Republic of Vietnam."
James R. Reckner, Director, The Vietnam Center, Texas Tech University
A SENSE OF DUTY
By Pham Xuan Quang
Although I have devoted a page on this book from the day I started this website, but it seemed like a missing link when I forgot to list it on this section. So here: A Sense of Duty!
"A Sense of Duty" is a must read, not just for Vietnam veterans, but for all Americans.
In 1964, Hoa Pham, a South Vietnamese fighter pilot, was shot down by Viet Cong antiaircraft fire while flying in support of American forces and rescued. When Saigon fell to the communists, his 10-year-old son, Quang, escaped with his mother and three sisters to America. Thirty years later, Quang, now a U.S. Marine pilot turned successful entrepreneur, retraces a uniquely spirited yet agonizing journey from the Vietnam War to peace, from blame to forgiveness, and an eventual surprise reunion with his father who survived twelve years in post-war prison camps. A Sense of Duty explores the inner conflicts of a young man caught in the often contradictory forces of national identity, loyalty, truth and trust in the aftermath of America's most divisive war. It reveals the turmoil of a family torn apart and reunited by the fortunes of war. It is an American journey like no other.
Hardcover: 288 pages; Publisher: Ballantine Books (April 12, 2005) ISBN: 0891418733
Praise for A Sense of Duty
"From Vietnam to California to the 1991 Gulf War and back, this is a great story of our time. I gained a deeper understanding of our country from reading it. I also was struck by the author's question: Why haven't our leaders done more to recognize and help the Vietnamese soldiers who fought alongside our own troops, and gave up everything?"
•Thomas E. Ricks, military correspondent, The Washington Post and author of the #1 bestseller Fiasco
"A book that Americans and the young generation of Vietnamese Americans must read to understand the immense sacrifices of the Vietnamese people."
•Bui Diem, former Ambassador of South Vietnam to the U.S.
"Quang Pham has written a superb account of the remarkable journey he and his family experienced. As someone who lived and fought with the South Vietnamese forces and witnessed Quang's outstanding service in the US Marine Corps, it was an exceptionally moving read. Every American should read this wonderful story to better appreciate the freedoms we enjoy."
•General Anthony C. Zinni, USMC (Retired)
"Quang Pham is a splendid writer who has lived a richly resonant life...a brilliant memoirist and a brilliant memoir indeed. He has opened up parts of the Vietnamese soul that I am happy to see and the transcendent human heart as well. Anyone of any race, ethnicity, culture or political philosophy can be moved and changed by this lovely book."
•Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer-Prize winner
"Quang X. Pham's memoir on parallel tracks—his life, and his family's, in Vietnam and then Americas—is a story of hardship, separation, and loss, but ultimately also of courage, loyalty, patriotism and achievement, an inspiring human story movingly told."
•Lewis Sorley, author of A Better War
"There's no heartbreak as enduring as that of a refugee who can never go home because his home is gone. You can feel it in the words of this book, and they will stay with you for a long time. A Sense of Duty is at once painful, self-aware and finally transcendent."
•T. Jefferson Parker, bestselling novelist
"Quang X. Pham brilliantly encapsulates the relationship of America and Vietnam in the late 20th Century. There's a lot here for Americans to ponder, particularly those who may never have heard of a Saigon where the cause was righteous, and its true believers were South Vietnamese soldiers and airmen who fought with courage and commitment, refusing to concede the 'inevitable' defeat."
• Richard Pyle, former chief of AP's Saigon bureau and author
"A profoundly moving narrative. Pham tells his story at times with detachment and at other times with passion but always with refreshing candor. His judgments on the Vietnam conflict, growing up in America, fitting-in to a strange world (and to little league baseball) in Southern California, manage to make the reader smiles at one moment and winces at the next."
•Larry Engelmann, author of Tears Before the Rain
"This is a remarkable book...a deeply moving account, written with great nuance, of one family's experience in becoming American."
•Franklin S. Odo, Director of the Smithsonian Asian-Pacific American Program
By Robert C. Mikesh
OK, Here is the book that should be listed on this "Bookmark" long ago, but every VNAF modeler and fan has already known and perhaps owned a copy. It was a great book, except the page #6 and #7. That two pages really turned off most Vietnamese Veterans' fascination upon they open those pages. It is just a "wrong guy" to write Foreword for such an inspired book. But as the world turns, no body (including Robert C. Mikesh) really anticipates what is lying ahead until..."shit happens!" Enjoy the Review by François Bui.
Click on thumbnail photo on the left to see larger picture
This book contains the most complete history of the South Vietnamese Air Force that surviving records and accounts can convey. In many ways, this is an American story; since VNAF was organized, trained, equipped, and attained its maximum strength under the tutelage of the US military. In view of numbers of aircraft, the South Vietnamese Air Force emerged as the fourth largest Air Force in the world-behind Communist China, the United States, and the Soviet Union. This is not a political history of the Vietnam War; rather it is the story of the transition of the VNAF from an under-trained and ill-equipped French Air Force auxiliary unit to a size during its 20-year life span, so large that it was almost incapable of sustaining itself with sufficient numbers of trained personnel and support materials. This is an up-dated version of the book by this same name and author published in 1988, which now features an abundance of color photographs and new incites of the air forces role in that war that have settled with time. 224 pgs
Author: Robert C. Mikesh
Size: 81/2" x 11"
Illustrations: over 300 b/w and color photographs
Edited by Schiffer Publishing - 4880 Lower Valley Rd - Atglen, PA 19310 - USA
- 9 chapters
- 10 appendices
This revised and updated edition contains a complete history of the South Vietnamese Air Force, through over 20 years of existence ending in 1975. Foreword written by Air Vice Marshal Nguyen Cao Ky, Commander in Chief of VNAF, 1963-1967. Acknowledgements written by the author and Preface written by a VNAF helicopter pilot, a true story of the death of his brother-in-arms.
Chapter 1: Where it Began
Following World War II, France attempted to reassert her authority over her Indochina colonies, which included Vietnam and the kingdoms of Laos and Cambodia. Communist and Nationalist Viet Minh forces attacked French outposts across a wide front, supported by many people who had only one purpose – national independence. So began the costly eight year Indochina war that ended at a Geneva conference table in July 1954 with a superficial division that created a North and a South Vietnam. In one of many attempts to gain the support of the people, the French incorporated a token force of indigenous personnel into the French armed services as auxiliaries beginning in the early 1950s. Thus began the first semblance of Vietnam's military service.
Chapter 2: Time of Transition
In the early 1950s. Communist influence was very visibly expanding everywhere. US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles described the now-famous Domino Theory in a nationwide broadcast:
"If they (the Soviets) could get this peninsula of Indochina, Siam, Burma, Malaya, they would have what is called the rice bowl of Asia...And you can see that if the Soviet Union had control of the rice bowl of Asia that would be another weapon which would tend to expand their control into Japan an into India."
Chapter 3: Coming of Age
Hanoi leaders formed the National Liberation Front for South Vietnam in December 1960, which the Saigon regime dubbed the "Viet Cong" meaning Communist Vietnamese. Infiltration from the North was intensified. South Vietnamese army units unsuccessfully attempted to overthrow President Diem, who seemed unresponsive to the worsening war situation. After several other attempts, Diem and his brother were murdered following their surrender in November 1963. A counterinsurgency plan was endorsed by President Kennedy that provided more US advisers and equipment for South Vietnam. By the end of 1963, 15.000 American advisers were in South Vietnam as the Communist stepped up their operations to take over the South.
Chapter 4: The Expansion Period
In March 1961, the SEATO Council (Southeast Asia Treaty Organisation) noted with concern the violation of the Geneva accords by an armed minority attempting to destroy the government of South Vietnam and declared its resolve not to acquiesce to any takeover of South Vietnam. In addition, the two governments of South Vietnam and the United States issued a joint communique underlining an agreement on an eight-point program for military and economic aid to Vietnam. In the United States, however, focus was on President Kennedy as he forced the Soviets to withdraw missiles from Cuba in October 1962.
Chapter 5: VNAF and Jets
North Vietnamese patrol boats attacked the American destroyer USS Maddox in the Tonkin Gulf 2 August 1964. Reprisal attacks were made against North Vietnamese targets, and the US Congress gave the President Johnson extraordinary power to act in the Southeast Asia. The Viet Cong attacked Bien Hoa Airbase 1 November 1964 and destroyed 5 USAF B-57s, damaged 15 others, and destroyed or damaged 4 VNAF A-1Hs. Four deaths resulted and 72 wounded. Political unrest in the Saigon government caused numerous coup d'etat that resulted in changes in leadership and forms of government, creating an uneasy situation with the United States. The air war accelerated as US pilots sighted Soviet MIG jet aircraft for the first time on 3 April 1965.
Chapter 6: Turn of the First Decade
On 8 march 1965 two US Marine battalions landed to defend Da Nang AB, the first American combat troops in Vietnam. The South Vietnam Government became more stable, as Air Vice Marshal Nguyen-cao-Ky took over as prime minister of a military regime in Saigon 11 June 1965. He declared a formal state of war against North Vietnam, an extension of Saigon's curfew, and price controls. On 18 June American B-52s made their first attack of the war in an attempt to dislodge Communist troops north of Saigon. By now, the enemy had nearly isolated in the Central Highlands of South Vietnam. President Johnson authorised Gen. Westmoreland to employ American troops in fighting the enemy. By the end of 1965 American ground forces in Vietnam reached nearly 200,000.
Chapter 7: Preparing to Go it Alone
In the United States, vivid media coverage of the Tet Offensive implied that the South Vietnamese and Americans were losing the war in Vietnam. The occasional release or escape of American prisoners revealed inhuman treatment by the enemy of hundreds of detained POWs. Fearing that American bombs may kill American POWs, bombing in the Hanoi area became very restricted. Prisoner exchange and visits by Red Cross teams were refused by the North Vietnamese, causing increased American frustration. The Hanoi Government made it clear that POWs would not be released until the United States withdrew from the war: Demonstrations in the United States increased the pressure upon the US government to disengage from the war.
Chapter 8: The Cease-Fire
The cease-fire agreements were formally signed in Paris on 27 January 1973. On that day, the USAF B-52 force (ARC LIGHT), which had conducted air strikes in North Vietnam continuously sine June 1965, ceased strike operations in all areas of Southeast Asia, except Laos. The last American troops left Vietnam on 29 March, leaving only a Defence Attache Office and administrative support elements in Saigon and outlying bases.
Chapter 9: The Final Days
Following the cease-fire in January 1973, the North Vietnamese Army was uninhibited in strength build-up. American airpower no longer attacked the lines of supply to the south. By late 1974 a total of 19 North Vietnamese Army divisions were fully manned and equipped, and 12 of them were actually in South Vietnam. A total of 5 ARVN divisions, including Marine and Airborne, were concentrated in the northern Corps area to face the strongest line of the enemy, leaving the rest of the country sparsely defended and the central provinces vulnerable to attack.
Appendix A: Aircraft of VNAF
Appendix B: Aircraft Colors and Markings
Appendix C: Unit Numbering System of VNAF
Appendix D: Unit Insignia of VNAF
Appendix E: Airbases of South Vietnam
Appendix F: Organisational Units of VNAF
Appendix G: Commander-in-Chief of VNAF
Appendix H: Ranks and Insignia of the South Vietnamese Air Force
Appendix I: Vietnamese Military Wings 1960-1975
Appendix J: Air Viet Nam
This was the first time I read a really great book about the history of the South Vietnamese Air Force and I got more information about the Vietnam War out of this book than everything I'd learned beforehand; there was not only the air war over Vietnam between American A-1H Skyraiders, A-4 Skyhawks, A-7 Corsair IIs, F-4 Phantoms, F-105 Thunderchiefs, etc. and North Vietnam aircraft – Soviet and Chinese built MiG 17, 19 and 21s, but also the forgotten army in this war.
After reading this book, I came to understand how the ARVN was allocated a secondary role in a limited war and this army had to defend their homeland with WW2 era weapons 'till the vietnamization program came after the Tet Offensive. Admittedly, the ARVN Elite forces which were better equipped: Airborne, Marine Corps, Ranger units of the ARVN began use the Colt M-16 rifle in 1968, but the Viet Cong had used the famous Soviet AK-47 since 1964.
I was very touched by reading the Chapter 8 : The Cease-Fire – "The VNAF's most basic problem was shared with all of the RVNAF. Its personnel were not paid a wage comparable with the inflation. In a country which had been at war since birth, and a major war at that for the past 10 years, military service for the individual was long term. Unlike their former American counterparts, who rotated in and out on one-year tours of duty, the South Vietnamese were in the war for the duration.
How then did the military personnel and their families get along ? They took on second job after normal military duty hours, their families worked, they received help from relatives, and many pilfered what was at hand for resale. Seen in this light, it was not how corrupt a person became, but how honest he remained.
The root of the problem was that military pay was not included in military aid, by Vietnamese law. This means that the US military aid previously described was not used toward military pay ; otherwise, the soldiers would have seen themselves as mercenaries, which to them would have been embarrassing. Pay came direct from the Vietnamese Government, the rates of pay having been set many years ago, and although raised in 1974, inflation had already consumed the increase. Without exception, Vietnamese commanders would have preferred payment in kind – food for their troops – to that in inflated money. Monetary pay could have been used to provide the other necessities of life."
With military aid cut from July 1973, lack of spare parts and fuel, the VNAF had no other choice than reduce their air support for the ARVN in combat when the North Vietnamese continued receive military aid from USSR, China and Eastern countries that took along to the Fall of Saigon in 30 April 1975. The Republic of Vietnam disappeared from that day.
Robert C. Mikesh had done an extraordinary work by writing a great book about the South Vietnamese Air Force with many excellent information, organisation, and photos of the VNAF. Moreover, as a plastic modeller, I am searching the VNAF information and pictures in order to build a VNAF aircraft collection, I finally find out what I need in the Appendix D : Unit Insignia of VNAF.
A must have book for getting know the VNAF in Vietnam war and building the VNAF aircraft models.
About François Bui
My first built kit was an 1 :72 B-58 Hustler at age of 9 in the sixties, a gift of a military advisor in Vietnam. Through the seventies, I had built some aircraft and AFV: Monogram, Revell, Hasegawa, Tamiya, etc. till I was called on duty at 19. By many change in life and job, I abandoned this hobby for a long time, recently I'd seen a Tamiya 1:35 M-48A3 Patton in a hobby shop, I'd bought it and my first hobby is back again, I begin to discover the new modelling stuff: Airbrushing, weathering, etc. I like to build all model kit: aircraft, AFV and ship, especially the Cold war period and modern.
Click on thumbnail pix to see full photo|
A BETTER WAR
By Lewis Sorley
The Unexamined victories and final tragedy of America's last years in Vietnam
Long after the war was over, after the fighting had ended, after Bunker was dead, and Abrams too, after the boat people and all the other sad detritus of a lost cause, the eldest of General Abram's
three sons, all Army officers, was on the faculty of the Command & General Staff College at Fort
Leavenworth. There someone reminded him of what Robert Shaplen had once said, that his father deserved a better war. 'He didn't see it that way,' young Creighton responded at once. 'He thought the Vietnamese were worth it.'
More review about "A Better War"
There is no greater analytical tool than Occam's Razor, but if I had to pick one worthwhile rival, it is to approach every problem in politics and history with the following mindset : the conventional wisdom is always wrong. This is, of course, far too sweeping a generalization, but it is shocking how often it turns out to be true, and even when it isn't, it is always helpful to approach a seemingly settled problem skeptically. Just in the past few years there have been several really good history texts which have taken this approach--Hitler's Willing Executioners, The First World War, The Pity of War--and though they've produced predictable howls of outrage, the very controversy they've stirred up has forced those who defend the conventional wisdom to do so with far greater rigor, and that's all to the good. Lewis Sorley's A Better War challenges the accepted view of Vietnam, does so with great authority, and will hopefully thereby foster a significant re-examination of this sorest spot in the national psyche.
The basic premise of the book is that late in 1970 or early in 1971 the United States had essentially won the Vietnam War. That is to say, we had defeated the Viet Cong in the field, returned effective control of most of the population to the South Vietnamese and created a situation where the South Vietnamese armed forces could continue the war on their own, so long as we provided them with adequate supplies and intelligence, and carried through on our promise to bomb the North if they violated peace agreements. This situation had been brought about by the changes in strategy and tactics which were implemented by Army General Creighton Abrams when he replaced William Westmoreland in 1968, after the military triumph but public relations disaster of the Tet Offensive. Where Westmoreland had treated the War as simply a military exercise, Abrams understood its political dimensions. Abrams, who had worked on developing a new war plan at the Pentagon, ended Westmoreland's emphasis on body counts and destroying the enemy and switched the focus to regaining control of villages. He understood that eventual victory required civilian support for the South Vietnamese government and this support required the government to provide villagers with physical security from the Viet Cong.
Abrams was accompanied in implementing this new approach by Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker and by William Colby, the new CIA chief in Saigon, who provided greatly improved intelligence reports and oversaw the pacification program. Together they managed to salvage the wreckage that Westmoreland had left behind and they retrieved the situation even as Washington was drawing down troop levels. In 1972, with the Viet Cong essentially eliminated as an effective fighting force, the North Vietnamese mounted a massive Easter offensive, but this too was decisively defeated.
Having failed to achieve their aims militarily, the North Vietnamese turned their attention to the Paris Peace Talks. They were extraordinarily fortunate to be dealing with Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon, two opportunists of the worst sort, who were willing to negotiate a deal which left the North with troops in South Vietnam. When President Thieu balked at this and threatened to scuttle the talks, the North backed off of the whole deal and Nixon ordered the 1972 Christmas bombings of Hanoi. For eleven days, waves of B-52's, each carrying 108 500-pound and 750-pound bombs, pummeled the North. For perhaps the only time during the entire War, the North was subjected to total war, and they were forced to return to the negotiating table. Sorley cites Sir Robert Thompson's assessment that :
In my view, on December 30, 1972, after eleven days of those B-52 attacks on the Hanoi area,
you had won the war. It was over.
At that point, the Viet Cong had been destroyed, we had definitely won the insurgency phase of the War. Additionally, the North had been defeated in the initial phase of conventional warfare, and had finally had the War brought home to them in a significant way. Though the overall War was certainly not over, it was sitting there, just waiting to be won.
So what happened ? Sorley has identified several problem areas that led to the eventual demise of the South. First was the really disgraceful way in which the U. S. bugged out. Having gotten the North back to the bargaining table, Nixon and Kissinger cut a deal--the January 27, 1973 Paris Peace Accord--which allowed the North to keep its forces in South Vietnam. At the time they were some 160,000 in number (as compared to the 27,000 that we were down to by then). Then, despite innumerable assurances, Nixon refused to resume bombing in order to enforce the accords. This enabled the North to use the cover of a cease fire to move more men and materiel into the South. Meanwhile, Congress, with bills like the Fulbright-Aiken Amendment, and extensive cuts to the military budget, pulled the logistical rug out from under the South. At the very time that the North was stockpiling arms, supplied by China and Russia, the South was having its supply of arms seriously curtailed. It was South Vietnam's bad luck, at its hour of greatest peril, to be saddled with a feckless ally. Imagine having to depend on the U.S. for the logistical support which is your life's blood at a time when it was being run by Nixon and Kissinger at the executive level and by folks like Ted Kennedy in the congressional realm. Sorley, properly, lays much of the blame at the doorstep of the American political leadership.
A second problem, one for which the military itself must bear more blame than Sorley acknowledges, is that the American press, and through them the public, had lost faith in the War. It had dragged on much longer than American attention spans could tolerate. Political and military leaders had repeatedly misled the public about the prospects of winning the War. The Peace Movement had shaken domestic support for continuance of the effort. Events like the My Lai massacre and systemic problems like drug use, many of them exacerbated by the politically mandated transition to an all volunteer armed service, had undermined the morale of the troops and of the broader public. Like the boy who cried wolf, when the news they carried was finally true, that victory in the War was finally within our grasp, the military could not find anyone to believe them.
Third was the failure to ever stop the North from using the neighboring countries of Cambodia and Laos as supply lines and sanctuaries, and the related failure to carry the ground War into North Vietnam itself. By effectively agreeing to make South Vietnam the battlefield, the U. S. ensured that the War was always being fought, at least to some degree, on North Vietnam's terms. The modern equivalent would be something akin to issuing rules of engagement, known to everyone, for the Gulf war, which only allowed U. S. troops to fight the Iraqis in Kuwait, never to follow them into Iraq itself, never envisioning an ultimate assault on Iraq itself. Luckily, this seems to have been one of the lessons that the military learned in Vietnam. Never again can U. S. forces be sent into combat with rules so favorable to the enemy.
Finally, and most importantly to South Vietnam itself, even after all the years and dollars, the U. S. had not succeeded in creating a viable South Vietnamese officer corps to take over command of the situation as we pulled out. There were many dedicated and courageous men, even a few good commanders, as Sorley shows during the fighting in the final North Vietnamese offensive in 1975, but not enough. Moreover, the military, indeed the entire society, was so riddled with corruption that the citizenry generally distrusted them. This, combined with the demoralizing effect of watching us turn tail, left the South poorly prepared psychologically to continue the War.
And so, when the final push came, all of these factors came together and created the environment in which the resistance of the South utterly collapsed. Sorley writes movingly about Brigadier General Le Minh Dao, commanding the 18th Infantry Division ARVN, and the valiant resistance he mounted at Xuan Loc. Attacked by first three and then four divisions, the 18th held out for a month, destroying three North Vietnamese divisions before succumbing. The American advisor, Colonel Ray Battreall, said of this action :
That magnificent last stand deserves to live on in military history, if we can overcome the bias,
even in our own ranks, that ARVN was never capable of doing anything right.
But, of course, we've long forgotten this valiant stand, as we've forgotten so much else about the War, a War that officially ended with the South's surrender at 10:25 on April 30, 1975.
One book can not change peoples' minds about a matter as contentious as the Vietnam War. In fact, the intellectual classes and the Baby Boom Generation have so much of themselves invested in the idea that the War was wrong and unwinnable that it's unlikely that any number of books could change their minds. But as the years go by and as new generations take a fresh look at the War, it is important that they approach it with an open mind. They, and we, may still conclude that we should never have been there or that there was never a chance that we could win, but those conclusions should be arrived at after examining all the evidence and considering the different possibilities. No one undertaking this task should fail to read A Better War; it is historical revision of the very best kind, thoughtful and thought provoking.
QUAN SU KHONG QUAN VIET NAM CONG HOA
By VNAF Association (Australia Chapter)
There are three English books on the subject of VNAF history (2 had been issued, 1 in the making process), but only one book in Vietnamese language on the same subject matter. In the year of 2005, the VNAF Association of Australia Chapter has issue the first edition of VNAF History 1955-1975 in hard cover (large size format with more than 400 pages and full colors illustration section).
If you are a book lover and a Vietnamese reader, this unique book deserves a place in your "home library." In the long run, the book "Quan Su Khong Quan Viet Nam Cong Hoa" (The History of VNAF) will be a value book collection and also a knowledge resource for the many Vietnamese next generations not only abroad but in Vietnam as well; because the VNAF is the only legitimate Air Force of Vietnam which is considered as a true, traditional nation (disregarding short term installed Communist regime).
A hundred years is a long time for a life span of an individual, but for history of a nation, it's only a blink of an eye. During the one thousand years of history under the Chinese occupation, Vietnam has many times reemerged to be a free nation. Don't forget Russia and a large number of Eastern European countries have regained their traditional images of the democracy nations with their own flags, after the collapse of the great empire of Soviet Union. The return of VNAF in the future is not an hypothesis, a fancy imagination, or myth, but a matter of time according to the history of Vietnam as a great spiritual country.
Look at all the chains of corrupt events happened in Vietnam now, it's telling you Hanoi regime's fate has been counting down. So don't...die soon! You are going to witness in your lifetime a great historic event happened in Vietnam. And buy the book, it's your heritage. For more information, in USA, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
By Carlton Sherwood
WOUNDS THAT NEVER HEAL
In the mid 1960's thousands of young American men left their families, homes and jobs and went to fight for their country in Southeast Asia. These brave men went from their farms, factories and offices to the rice paddies of Vietnam to fight for freedom in what they believed was a patriotic and noble cause. Many of them never returned. Others were shot down and captured behind enemy lines. They were forced to suffer years of brutal treatment at the hands of the Communist captors.
Their horrifying days of darkness, starvation and torture were made worse by the actions of a young American Officer named John Kerry. As these American heroes suffered in inhuman conditions, John Kerry sat comfortably in the warm glow of television lights to tell a Senate Committee that these same men were "war criminals".
The story of these valiant POWs is compelling and powerful. Stolen Honor is THEIR story. It's the story the media won't tell you. It's the story John Kerry doesn't want you to hear.
"Stolen Honor" investigates how John Kerry's actions during the Vietnam era impacted the treatment of American soldiers and POWs. Using John Kerry's own words, the documentary juxtaposes John Kerry's actions with the words of veterans who were still in Vietnam when John Kerry was leading the anti-war movement.
Currently in the final stages of production, Stolen Honor will be available for broadcast and on DVD and VHS video. In addition, you will be able to view excerpts from the program on this web site.
"In other wars, captured Americans subjected to the hell of an enemy prison were considered heroes. In other wars, they were not abandoned. In Vietnam , they were betrayed." (Narration from "Stolen Honor")
"Little did the American prisoners of war imagine that half a world away events were conspiring to make their precarious situation even more desperate. That an American Naval Lieutenant after a 4-month tour of duty in Vietnam was meeting secretly in an undisclosed location in Paris with a top enemy diplomat. That this same lieutenant would later join forces with Jane Fonda to form an anti-war group of so-called Vietnam veterans, some of whom would be later discovered as frauds who never set foot on a battlefield. All this culminating in John Kerry's Senate testimony that would be blared over loud speakers to convince our prisoners that back home they were being accused and abandoned. Enemy propagandists had found a new and willing accomplice." (Narration from "Stolen Honor"). For more information about the documentary, visit the website stolenhonor.com
About the Author:
Carlton Sherwood is a distinguished newspaper and TV investigative reporter and the recipient of journalism's highest honors in print and broadcast news, the Pulitzer Prize and George Foster Peabody Award. His other national awards include the Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi Award, the Investigative Reporters and Editors Award, The National Headliner Award, the American Bar Assn. Silver Gavel, Women in Communications Clarion Award, the John Hancock Award, the International Film Critics Award and several Emmy Awards.
During a 35-year career Sherwood has authored dozens of investigative reports exposing political and corporate corruption, government sponsored child abuse, sex and drug scandals in the military, misuse of charitable funds by nonprofit organizations, institutional abuse of the handicapped, racial discrimination and religious bigotry and Church-sanctioned fraud.
A DISTANT CAUSE
By Bui Cong Minh
A Distant Cause is a general yet comprehensive history of the Viet Nam War. It begins with events in Viet Nam right after the end of World War II; the French war of re-conquest that ended with the Battle at Dien Bien Phu; the partition of Viet Nam (North and South); the U.S. direct Intervention; the last battles and the fall of the (former) Republic of Viet Nam. The book advances the reasons of why we fought and of why we lost the Viet Nam War, and why, after 30 years after the war ended, we can claim that the war had a catalystic role in the history of the world.
You can read the first two chapters at www.xlibris.com (click BOOKSTORE section > SEARCH > type A Distant Cause).
DON'T BUNCH UP
By William Van Zanten
Bill Van Zanten saw Hollywood's version of the Vietnam War story full of "bull shit". Now, it's his turn to tell his side.
The former Marine commander didn't want his children believing his experiences during the Vietnam War were the images they saw in movies: Strung out soldiers in a drug-induced haze, unmotivated, ill-trained and with incompetent leaders.
"I became disturbed with the Hollywood version of Vietnam," he said. "My experience as a young Marine officer couldn't have been more different. That's what gave me the motivation to write. I didn't want my kids to believe that's what I went through."
So the first-time author began writing an account of his experience in the Marines. Hand scratched notes he wrote during business trips became pages in a book Random House publishing company picked up last year titled "Don't Bunch Up."
Van Zanten doesn't deny that some soldiers in Vietnam were on drugs and had problems. He doesn't believe his story should represent what happened to every Marine.
"It is historical, yet not a history book. It is my history. My truth," he writes in the preface. "My year there was spent as part of a hard-fighting Marine infantry battalion ... We did our jobs as well as we knew how. We got our butts shot off and blown to bits. We got scared beyond description. We took home scars that will never disappear ... Yet in some very strange way those days represented the best of what we were and ever will be."
Prior to his notes, Van Zanten never spoke to his family about his year in Vietnam in 1965. Many soldiers didn't.
"Most of us just came back and took the uniforms off and went about our business," he said. "All of us to a certain extent kind of put that experience behind us, or didn't tell our kids ... and that's not healthy."
Van Zanten joined the Marines with a forged birth certificate when he was 140-pound, 17-year-old weakling from Arizona. He was transformed that summer in 1957 and hasn't looked back since.
The men he fought with in Vietnam take care of each other now - 40 years later. They were changed by their experiences there, he said.
They endured great losses together. They all saw ugly things - terrible things. But they also found humor in their situation, and that humor helped them get through it all.
Van Zanten writes of near miss accounts, when the enemy had them surrounded - but just didn't know it.
"I just hoped it didn't hurt too much," he recalled. "I had some miraculously close calls. I never got hurt. It was just miracle after miracle."
"Don't Bunch Up," was the command barked at soldiers to keep them spread apart across booby-trapped fields for safety, despite the human tendency to cluster when faced with danger.
It took five years from the time he scribbled his first notes to the time he sent out the manuscript. Within three days he was contacted by a publishing company back east who wanted to sign him. He saved the rejections he received from the others in a folder he still keeps.
"Don't Bunch Up" was first published in 1993, but shortly after the company went under. Van Zanten's book was picked up by Random House in 2005.
Van Zanten moved to Gilroy to raise his family after the war and was always bothered by the way the officers in Vietnam were depicted in movies such as "Full Metal Jacket" and "Platoon."
"They were always depicted as inept," he said. "They were incredibly brave and competent, everything you would have wanted ... It's not that I was pro war, it's just that no movie had anything positive come out of it."
He hopes his story will show people that there is another side to what happened in Vietnam.
"There's nothing particularly unique about my story," Van Zanten said. "The only thing unique is that I took the time to write it."
BURY US UPSIDE DOWN:
The Misty Pilots
and the Secret Battle for the Ho Chi Minh Trail
Rick Newman and Don Shepperd
ABOUT THIS BOOK
They had the most dangerous job n the Air Force. Now Bury Us Upside Down reveals the never-before-told story of the Vietnam War's top-secret jet-fighter outfit-an all-volunteer unit composed of truly extraordinary men who flew missions from which heroes are made.
In today's wars, computers, targeting pods, lasers, and precision-guided bombs help FAC (forward air controller) pilots identify and destroy targets from safe distances. But in the search for enemy traffic on the elusive Ho Chi Minh Trail, always risking enemy fire, capture, and death, pilots had to drop low enough to glimpse the telltale signs of movement such as suspicious dust on treetops or disappearing tire marks on a dirt road (indicating a hidden truck park). Written by an accomplished journalist and veteran, Bury Us Upside Down is the stunning story of these brave Americans, the men who flew in the covert Operation Commando Sabre-or "Misty"- the most innovative air operation of the war.
In missions that lasted for hours, the pilots of Misty flew zigzag patterns searching for enemy troops, vehicles, and weapons, without benefit of night-vision goggles, infrared devices, or other now common sensors. What they gained in exhilarating autonomy also cost them: of 157 pilots, 34 were shot down, 3 captured, and 7 killed. Here is a firsthand account of courage and technical mastery under fire. Here, too, is a tale of forbearance and loss, including the experience of the family of a missing Misty flier -Howard K. Williams- as they learn, after twenty-three years, that his remains have been found.
Now that bombs are smart and remote sensors are even smarter, the missions that the Mistys flew would now be considered no less than suicidal. Bury Us Upside Down reminds us that for some, such dangers simply came with the territory.
NO PEACE, NO HONOR:
NIXON, KISSINGER, AND BETRAYAL IN VIETNAM
By Larry Berman
If you don't know the hidden truth about the fall of Saigon, this book will tell you more. Below is an excerpt from the book:
"...Henry Kissinger also knew that American honor was in danger. In the cabinet room on April 16, the secretary read aloud a letter from Sirik Matak, one of the Cambodian leaders who had refused the American ambassador's invitation to evacuate Phnom Penh. The letter was written just hours before Mitak's execution: "Dear Excellency and Friend, I thank you very sincerely for your letter and your offer to transport me towards freedom. I cannot, alas, leave in such a cowardly fashion. As for you, and in particular for your great country, I never believed for a moment that you would have this sentiment of abandoning a people, which has chosen liberty. You have refused us your protection, and we can do nothing about it. You leave, and my wish is that you and your country will find happiness under this sky. But, mark it well, that if I shall die here on the spot and in my country that I love, it is too bad, because we are all born and must die one day. I have committed this mistake of believing in you, the Americans."
"...But not everyone was out. A breakdown in communication had occurred between those running the evacuation from the ground and those offshore, with the fleet controlling the helicopters and those making the decisions in Hawaii and Washington. "It was the Vietnam war all over again," observed Colonel Harry G. Summers, Jr. "It was not a proud day to be an American." There, on the embassy rooftop, over 420 Vietnamese stared into the empty skies looking for signs of returning American helicopters. Just hours earlier, they had been assured by well-intentioned Marines, "Khong ai se bi bo lai" ("No one will be left behind").
The helicopters did not return.
From the White House, President Gerald Ford issued an official statement: "The Government of the Republic of Vietnam has surrendered. Prior to its surrender, we have withdrawn our Mission from Vietnam. Vietnam has been a wrenching experience for this nation...History must be the final judge of that which we have done or left undone, in Vietnam and elsewhere. Let us calmly await its verdict."
INTRODUCTION OF A.I.M. (Accuracy In Media)
Twenty five years ago, a small media watchdog organization named AIM (Acuracy In Media) presented two VHS video tapes that accused the major US television networks had distorted the truth in coverage of Vietnam War, especially when reporting the Tet Offensive as a military victory of the Vietcong (while in reality, the Tet Offensive was a total failure of Hanoi's regime both in military tactics & strategy (there were no widespread uprises among the population as they (the Vietnamese Communists) expected, and the basic structure of Mat Tran Giai Phong Mien Nam (National Liberation Front) had been totally annihilated after the failed offensive. At that time frame ('75-'80) the AIM documentary films' release was a spirit upift for those who knew the thruth about Vietnam War but never had a chance to voice their opinions
I have recently searched on Internet, looking for those video films (Vietnam television: The Untold Stories by AIM) but couldn't find any traces in AIM's production lists (perhaps they're all gone), but instead I found that AIM today has been a strong organization. It even has an online shopping store; their products are ranging from books, DVD to all kind of accessories or collective items. All goes along with its political themes and beliefs. Let's read some of the statements of AIM so you can have an idea of what they (AIM) are for.
What is Accuracy In Media( AIM)?
Accuracy In Media is a non-profit, grassroots citizens watchdog of the news media that critiques botched and bungled news stories and sets the record straight on important issues that have received slanted coverage.
How do you know the media are biased?
In addition to a number of major media surveys, The American Society of Newspaper Editors published a 1999 study that showed 78% of Americans said there is a news bias in the media.
('Editors group releases preliminary journalism credibility study," http://www.asne.org/kiosk/news/98jcp.htm)
Furthermore, not only do the overwhelming majority of citizens believe there is a bias, but they say that bias is overwhelmingly liberal. This, according to a 2003 poll conducted by the Princeton Review Research Associates for PEW Research Center for The People & The Press, shows a 2 to 1 margin of respondents believe their media coverage is slanted to the left.
("Strong Opposition to Media Cross Ownership Emerges: Public Wants Neutrality and Pro American Point of View," http://people-press.org/reports/display.php3?ReportID=188)
The public seems to be correct. According to another poll from the PEW Research Center conducted by the Princeton Review Research Associates in 2004, "about a third of national journalists (34%) and 23 % of local journalists describe themselves as liberals." A mere 7% of journalists described themselves as conservative.
("How Journalists See Journalists," http://people-press.org/reports/display.php3?PageID=829)
So if you are tired of the biased mainstream television networks and news papers, AIM is an alternative news source where you can discover many political issues that our media networks didn't want to present on the TV screens or news pages. Most Vietnamese realize that the Red China is a nightmare threat (the yellow peril) not only to Vietnam particularly but also to the whole world; however, by saying so they would be ridiculed as a political paranoia or an anti-communist fanatic. But never mind, now they have some things to speak for themselves logically: The book covers on the left are the two example items in AIM's book selection. Besides, you can ask the doubters to go to any shopping mall's stores, turn up the label of any items (from a cheap product to a brand name one): Made In China. No one needs to be a rocket scientist to figure out what lies ahead in the long run in America's economic future, if this sale-out of corporations' greed continues.
For more stories, you can check AIM at this website: www.aim.org .Be selective when browsing around the web, you will enrich your political knowledge and build up your valuable political "ammunition."
A LONG WAY HOME PROJECT
By Flickers Films
Since the Vietnam War ended, Hollywood has produced a lot of dramatized, sensational movies about Vietnam War (the Vietnamese made VN War movie included such as "The Green Dragon"); unfortunately most of those movies are full of "bullshit" mixed with some real facts, bias, myths, and stereotypes. However, there were a few less known movies that were made to pay tribute to all who have risked everything for the cause of Freedom and Democracy. One of those movies is "The Long Way Home Project."
The Long Way Home Project is a 4 part documentary film with the introduction of H. Norman Schwarzkopf (Gen. U.S. Army (Ret.). Let's read the summaries of the four parts:
HOW WE WON THE WAR
The Long Way Home Project presents the interactive television documentary "How We Won the War." It was the summer of 1970. In South Vietnam the Communist forces were decimated and the countryside returned to friendly hands. After totally repelling desperate enemy attacks in 1968 and 1969, the American, Vietnamese, Australian and other Southeast Asia Treaty Organization forces had achieved what politicians and the media had said was impossible. Newly available historical information and the personal stories of the some of the major "players" of the period makes "How We Won..." both informative and entertaining.
MEN VERSUS MYTH
The Long Way Home Project presents "Men versus Myth" the first in a multi-part documentary series on the Vietnam War. Among the startling revelations: the best and the brightest served in Vietnam, the rest stayed home. The soldiers in Vietnam had the highest rate of volunteerism, were the best educated, and served for higher ideals than any fighting force that America had ever fielded. That he returned maligned and unwelcome is a travesty. That they were not "victims" but raised their families and became America's community and business leaders is the amazing inspirational message of "Men Versus Myth".
HOW WE LOST THE WAR
Four successive administrations shed American blood and vowed to protect democratic South Vietnam from Communist takeover. The Long Way Home Project presents the television documentary "How We Lost the War". Even with the military war won, the U.S. Congress, their supporters in the media, and activists in the Left had other ideas. The scale of our nation's betrayal was unprecedented in American history and unworthy of a great nation. And yet the lessons that can be learned from the story are worth learning and will inspire future generations to vigilance and to service.
THE NEW DIASPORA
Long overlooked in the story of the Vietnam war are the South Vietnamese themselves. The Long Way Home Project presents the television documentary "The New Diaspora", an inspirational look at their long history, their stories of hardship and struggle to reach freedom, and the success they found in their new countries. Both older and younger generations alike seek to find meaning in their new lives and yet rediscover and maintain a link with their heritage and a country that was left behind - a metaphor for a nation built by immigrants and refugees! With over a million Vietnamese-Americans in the U.S. and many thousands in other democratic nations around the world they form a living legacy to the commitment of the allied soldiers that fought for freedom and democracy.
For more information, you can check at this web site www.longwayhome.net
L'ADIEU A SAIGON (A Farewell To Saigon)
By Jean Larteguy
"L'adieu A Saigon" can be considered as a classic non-fiction book about Vietnam War. It was first published in September, 1975, written by Jean Larteguy, a "leftist" French reporter whose political point of view of the war has turned around 180 degree, the moment he witnessed the North Vietnamese Communist invading forces entering Saigon. A month later, Larteguy was deported, saying farewell to the beloved city where he had spent so many years full of enchanted memories. Back in France, with simmering, wrenching emotion, Larteguy produced "L'adieu A Saigon," describing the last days of a dying city at the darkest moment of Vietnam War's history.
The picture (missing a torn corner) on the left is the book 1st edition's cover (with a lot of documentary photos). It depicts an ARVN soldier lies dead on an empty street with the burning Saigon street's façade on the background. If the picture is worth a thousand words, then this book cover has carried emotionally more much than the meaning it could convey to the readers. The picture on the right is the second edition (too bad, the cover was changed). If you can read French, it's worth to have it in your family book library. But beware of the price, perhaps because it became a rare, classic book; the price is a kind of "heavy" now for a small 314-page paperback cover! Just type its title on Internet search box, you know where to buy it.
BEHIND THE BAMBOO HEDGES
By Mai Phuong
If this book is able to raise some minimal awareness about the background of the Vietnamese people, awareness that leads to the understanding of the real Vietnamese whose reputation has been smeared for so long by individuals and news media, then it has fulfilled the purpose set forth by the author as well as the contributors.
About the author: Mai Phuong is the pen name of Lan Cao. Living in teh Unite States since 1975, she currently resides in North Carolina.
For more information, email to email@example.com or Nguoi Dan PO Box 2674 Costa Mesa, CA 92628 USA
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