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Land of frozen laughter : a community development volunteer in the Vietnam…

de John Lewallen

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313,377,125 (4.5)14
"John Lewallen, author of Ecology of Devastation : Indochina (Penguin Books, 1972), offers an intense two-year immersion in Vietnam during the era of the 1968 Tet Offensive. War historians will be interested in the ground-level reports of military strategy and battles, told through intimate portraits of soldiers and civilians, Vietnamese, Chams, and Raglai Montagnards. Travel with Lewallen as he struggles to do community projects as one of the 400 international voluntary services to serve in Vietnam, becoming an angry antiwar activist hunted by an assassination team. Portraits of 'G.I. Vietnam,' the macabre world of bars, bases and brothels where American troops met Vietnamese culture, and a surrealistic tour of Saigon's night life awaiting the final communist assault, are timely today in understanding wartime environments"--Publisher description.… (mais)
Adicionado recentemente por2wonderY, rocketjk
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This is an extremely well-written book. It is full of compelling episodes of Lewallen's struggles to help the people in the villages he's assigned to as a community developer while navigating ethnic rivalries, governmental bureaucracy and, of course, his desire not to get himself killed, especially during the infamous Tet Offensive, of which Lewallen provides a first-hand description. By "help the people," I mean practical matters like trying to finagle beat up old generators to help individual villages get electricity. Lewallen was neither a pacifist (at least at that time) nor an angel, and he picked up a gun when necessary. Part of what's most interesting about the book is his descriptions of the remote villagers' uneasy but sometimes necessary interactions with the Viet Cong, and the villagers' various reasons for their overall resistance against them. Lewallen also provides clear descriptions of the different ethnic groups he comes across during his stay, and their sometimes strained relationships with each other.

I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in what life in the rural villages of Vietnam was like during the late 1960s. Lewallen wrote his memoir of that time immediately upon returning to the U.S. in late 1969, but didn't publish it until last year. It's self-published, so you'll have to find it on Amazon or the like. Full disclosure: John is a friend of mine, but I would honestly feel the same about this book if I'd never met him. ( )
  rocketjk | Oct 28, 2017 |
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"John Lewallen, author of Ecology of Devastation : Indochina (Penguin Books, 1972), offers an intense two-year immersion in Vietnam during the era of the 1968 Tet Offensive. War historians will be interested in the ground-level reports of military strategy and battles, told through intimate portraits of soldiers and civilians, Vietnamese, Chams, and Raglai Montagnards. Travel with Lewallen as he struggles to do community projects as one of the 400 international voluntary services to serve in Vietnam, becoming an angry antiwar activist hunted by an assassination team. Portraits of 'G.I. Vietnam,' the macabre world of bars, bases and brothels where American troops met Vietnamese culture, and a surrealistic tour of Saigon's night life awaiting the final communist assault, are timely today in understanding wartime environments"--Publisher description.

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