Nationalist in the Viet Nam Wars

Nationalist in the Viet Nam Wars

Memoirs of a Victim Turned Soldier
Nguyen Công Luan
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 02/07/2012
Format: Hardback 1 map
ISBN: 978-0-253-35687-1
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A Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2012

This extraordinary memoir tells the story of one man's experience of the wars of Viet Nam from the time he was old enough to be aware of war in the 1940s until his departure for America 15 years after the collapse of South Viet Nam in 1975. Nguyen Cong Luan was born and raised in small villages near Ha Noi. He grew up knowing war at the hands of the Japanese, the French, and the Viet Minh. Living with wars of conquest, colonialism, and revolution led him finally to move south and take up the cause of the Republic of Viet Nam, exchanging a life of victimhood for one of a soldier. His stories of village life in the north are every bit as compelling as his stories of combat and the tragedies of war. This honest and impassioned account is filled with the everyday heroism of the common people of his generation.

Author Bio

Nguyn Công Lun was born in 1937 and grew up in northern Viet Nam. Following the 1954 Geneva Agreement, which divided the nation in two, he moved south and enrolled in the Republic of Viet Nam Military Academy, then served in the Army of the Republic of Viet Nam until 1975. Incarcerated for 6 years 7 months in communist prison camps, he immigrated to the United States in 1990. He was an associate editor of The Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War.


“This compelling memoir tells the story of one man's experience during the Viet Nam wars, from his childhood near Ha Noi in the 1940s, to harrowing accounts of fighting for the Republic as he exchanges a life of victimhood for one of a soldier. This honest and impassioned account is filled with the everyday heroism of the common people coping with the destruction of war.”

“An important book. One of the most compelling and thoughtful ARVN [Army of the Republic of Viet Nam] accounts I have ever read. . . . It is an unblinking, unflinching account . . . a very honest book, the author's integrity comes through on every page.”
 — David T. Zabecki, Maj. Gen., U. S. Army (ret.)

“Of all the many books I have read about the Vietnam War, this one pays the ultimate tribute to the incredible sacrifices made by the courageous soldiers and people of South Vietnam. Through the eyes of a true patriot, the history and decisive operations of the conflict are reviewed from the unique perspective of a victim turned soldier. I have known the author for nearly four decades and can attest to his personal courage, his passion for life, and his intense love for his country. This book is a must read for those who want the complete picture and whole truth about a tragic war that consumed the world for over two decades. ”
 — Lawson W. Magruder III , Lieutenant General, US Army Retired. Vietnam '70-'71

“This book is of incredible value for anyone interested in Vietnam--its history, politics, and culture--and in the American involvement with Vietnam. It is also a meditation of a Vietnamese patriot on the substance of patriotism during a time of civil war in a context of international alliances. Amid the terrors and harsh imperatives of war, the author’s is a rare voice of human decency.”
 — H-Net

“A dark and fascinating tale...illuminated by...honesty and integrity, which shine through on every page.”

“Nationalist in the Viet Nam Wars is a dark and fascinating tale. But it is illuminated by Nguyen's story of escape from Communist tyranny to the United States in 1990, and by his honesy and integrity, which shine through on every page. ”

“This is a first-rate book with perhaps a single downside: It is not a book for someone who has never read anything about Vietnam. It is, however, an essential read for those who seek to understand the complex tragedy of the wars of Vietnam.”

“Long overdue, this memoir will be a worthy addition to any academic library interested in the tragedy of Vietnam. . . . Essential. ”
 — Choice

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Major General David T. Zabecki
A Note on Vietnamese Names

Part 1. A Grain of Sand
1. A Morning of Horror
2. My Early Years and Education
3. 1945: The Year of Drastic Events
4. On the Way to War
Part 2. The War of Resistance
5. Take Up Arms!
6. My Dark Years in War Begin
7. Between Hammer and Anvil
8. The Shaky Peace
9. Bloodier Battles
10. The Geneva Accords
11. The Year of Changes
Part 3. The Cogwheel
12. To Be a Soldier
13. Progress and Signs of Instability
14. Mounting Pressure
15. The Limited War
16. The Year of the (Crippled) Dragon
17. On the Down Slope
18. Hearts and Minds
19. Sài Gòn Commando
Part 4. Victory or Defeat
20. The Tet Offensive
21. Defeat on the Home Front
22. The New Phase
23. The Fiery Summer
24. Hope Draining
25. America 1974-75
26. The End
Part 5. After the War
27. Prisoner
28. Release
Part 6. Epilogue
29. On the Viet Nam War
30. Ever in My Memory


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