Vietnam War Bibliography:

Oral Histories and Personal Accounts, Vietnamese and Mixed Vietnamese/American/Other

Personal accounts are scattered through the many topical sections of this bibliography. What you will find here is only a few that did not seem to fit well into any of those topical sections. Most accounts by Vietnamese are listed under The ARVN and the RVN or The Communist Viewpoint.

Christian G. Appy, Patriots: The Vietnam War Remembered from All Sides. New York: Viking, 2003. xxvii, 574 pp. Oral history, mostly Americans, quite a few Vietnamese, a few others.

Jackie Bong-Wright, Autumn Cloud: From Vietnamese War Widow to American Activist. Sterling, VA: Capital Books, 2001. xxv, 311 pp. Jacqueline Le Thi Thu Van, born in 1940 in Cambodia to a prosperous Vietnamese family some members of which later joined the Communist movement, married Nguyen Van Bong in 1964. He became head of the Progressive Nationalist Movement in 1969, and was assassinated in 1971. She escaped Vietnam in 1975, and married American diplomat Lacy Wright in 1976.

Chan Khong a.k.a. Cao Ngoc Phuong, Learning True Love: How I Learned and Practiced Social Change in Vietnam. Berkeley: Parallax Press, 1993. xii, 258 pp. Cao Ngoc Phuong, born 1938, became a follower of Thich Nhan Hanh, doing social work through Buddhist organizations. Chan Khong is her Dharma name.

Michael R. Dedrick, Southern Voices: Biet Dong and the National Liberation Front. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2022 (forthcoming). Oral histories of members of the special attack units that the Americans usually called "sappers."

Gil Dorland, Legacy of Discord: Voices of the Vietnam War Era. Washington, DC: Brassey's, 2002. 288 pp. Oral History, mostly of American journalists, soldiers, and policymakers, but a few Vietnamese.

Duong Van Mai Elliott, The Sacred Willow: Four Generations in the Life of a Vietnamese Family. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999. xvi, 506 pp. Duong Van Mai was born in 1941, to a Mandarin family in the North. There were members of her family on both sides in the First Indochina War. She was educated in the United States, married David Elliott (now one of the better Vietnam War scholars in the United States—see his memoir), and at one point in the 1960s worked for the RAND Corporation interviewing Communist prisoners in Vietnam. This looks like an extremely valuable book. The full text is available online to paid subscribers of Questia.

James M. Freeman, Hearts of Sorrow: Vietnamese-American Lives. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1989. xv, 446 pp. Oral history.

Martha Hess, Then the Americans Came: Voices from Vietnam. New York: Four Walls Eight Windows, 1993. 239 pp. Oral history: interviews with Vietnamese conducted in Vietnam.

Peter A. Huchthausen & Nguyen Thi Lung, foreword by Sylvana Foa, Echoes of the Mekong. Baltimore: Nautical & Aviation Publishing Co., 1996. 165 pp. Huchthausen, a US Navy officer, commanded a section of PBRs in the Mekong Delta. Nguyen Thi Lung was a local girl whom his unit rescued after she was wounded in 1967, and whose entry to the US Huchthausen sponsored in 1985.

Yung Krall, A Thousand Tears Falling: The True Story of a Vietnamese Family Torn Apart by War, Communism, and the CIA. Atlanta: Longstreet, 1995. viii, 412 pp. Born in 1946 in Can Tho province, the daughter of a member of the Viet Minh who later became a senior NLF and SRV diplomat, Tran Ngoc Yung married a US Navy officer in the 1960s, emigrated to the United States, and then in the mid 1970s worked for the CIA and FBI, investigating Communist espionage organizations, in the case that led to the conviction of David Truong and Ronald Humphrey in 1978.

Le Huu Tri, Prisoner of the Word: A Memoir of the Vietnamese Reeducation Camps. Seattle: Black Heron Press, 2001. ARVN Lieutenant Tri was in reeducation camps from 1975 to 1980.

Xiaobing Li, Voices from the Vietnam War: Stories from American, Asian, and Russian Veterans. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2010. xvi, 279 pp. Includes accounts by Chinese and Soviet personnel who were in North Vietnam during the war.

Lu Van Thanh, The Inviting Call of Wandering Souls: Memoir of an ARVN Liaison Officer to United States Forces in Vietnam who was Imprisoned in Communist Re-Education Camps and then Escaped. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1997.

Nguyen Dinh-Hoa, From the City Inside the Red River: A Cultural Memoir of Mid-Century Vietnam. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1999. xi, 217 pp. Nguyen Dinh Hoa was born in Hanoi in 1924, went to the United States as a student in 1948, and served 1957-65 first as Dean of the Faculty of Letters, then Chairman of the English Department, at the University of Saigon.

Nguyen Ngoc Ngan (with E. E. Richey), The Will of Heaven. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1982. Memoir by a Vietnamese who served in the ARVN in the Mekong Delta in the early 1970's. The bulk of the book is devoted to events after the war ended in 1975.

Nguyen Qui Duc, Where the Ashes Are: The Odyssey of a Vietnamse Family. Addison-Wesley, 1994. xvi, 265 pp. Written by the son of an official in Hue who was captured by the Communists during the Tet Offensive of 1968 and not released until 1980. The book reflects the attitudes of both the more Americanized son and the traditional mandarin father.

Nguyen Thi Thu-Lam, with Edith Kreisler and Sandra Christenson, Fallen Leaves: Memoirs of a Vietnamese Woman from 1940 to 1975. Lac Viet Series, No. 11. New Haven: Council on Southeast Asia Studies, Yale Center for International and Area Studies, 1989. vii, 224 pp.

Nguyen Thi Tuyet Mai, ed. by Monique Senderowicz, The Rubber Tree: Memoir of a Vietnamese Woman Who was an Anti-French Guerrilla, an Aide to the First President of the Republic of Vietnam, a Publisher and a Peace Activist. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1994. 264 pp.

Thich Nhat Hanh, trans. by Mobi Warren, Fragrant Palm Leaves: Journals 1962-1966. Berkeley: Parallax, 1998. pb New York: Riverhead Books, 1998. 212 pp.

David Lan Pham, Two Hamlets in Nam Bo: Memoirs of Life in Vietnam Through Japanese Occupation, the French and American Wars, and Communist Rule, 1940-1986. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2000. vii, 299 pp.

Al Santoli, To Bear Any Burden: The Vietnam War and its Aftermath in the Words of Americans and Southeast Asians. New York: Dutton, 1985. xxii, 367 pp. Paperback (with a new foreword by Jane Hamilton-Merritt) Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1999. xxvi, 367 pp.

Thomas Taylor, Where the Orange Blooms: One Man's War and Escape in Vietnam. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1989. Apparently an as-told-to autobiography of an ARVN officer named Ben Cai Lam, who had worked with the US 101st Division, and who spent five years in a re-education camp after the war.

Trinh Dinh Khai, Décolonisation du Viêt Nam: Un Avocat Témoigne: Me Trinh Dinh Thao. Paris: l'Harmattan, 1994. 208 pp. The life story of Trinh Dinh Thao, a Saigon attorney who represented the editors of La Lutte and the leaders of the Cao Dai in the 1930s. From the late 1940s up to 1968, he was one of the non-Communist intellectuals in Saigon who were allied with the Communists; he was occasionally arrested when his activities became too obnoxious to the authorities. He fled Saigon in 1968, and became openly affiliated with the National Liberation Front. After the reunification of Vietnam, he was elected to the National Assembly, but was not in good enough health actually to attend sessions, and protest the inflexible way Communist rule was being imposed on South Vietnam. This is a useful and fascinating book, but the ambiguity of the authorship is frustrating. The text appears to be an autobiography, written in the first person. But the impression conveyed by the cover and the title page is that the book was written by Trinh Dinh Khai, Thao's son. The discrepancy is not explained. Is this a manuscript written by Thao, edited and completed by Khai, after Thao's death in 1986? Is it Thao's life story as told to Khai? If we knew who actually wrote this, it would be easier to evaluate the ways it is incomplete. The book makes it plain that Thao had a relationship with the Communists, but is frustratingly vague about what that relationship was.

Vietnamese Culture and Nationalism. This collection of oral histories of Vietnamese is part of a larger project, Reconceptualizing the Cold War: On-the-ground Experiences in Asia, based at the National University of Singapore.

Linda West (Tran Thi Bach Yen Oanh), Beyond the Rice Paddies. Booksurge, 2007. West's memories of her childhood in the area of Bien Hoa, up to 1970 (she was approximately ten years old), when an American soldier brought her and her mother to the United States.

Kim Willenson, et. al., The Bad War: An Oral History of the Vietnam War. New York: New American Library, 1987.

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Copyright © 2005, 2010, 2014, 2020, 2021, 2022, Edwin E. Moise. This document may be reproduced only by permission. Revised April 3, 2022.