River of Time: A Memoir of Vietnam

Jon Swain, Author
Jon Swain, Author St. Martin's Press $22.95 (281p) ISBN 978-0-312-16989-3
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-425-16875-2
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-425-16805-9
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-4070-7280-7
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From 1970 to 1975, Swain, an award-winning British journalist, worked as a war correspondent in South Vietnam and Cambodia. In this arresting memoir, he recounts the atmosphere in Saigon (today's Ho Chi Minh City) as the U.S. began to withdraw after the Paris Peace Accords, as well as the eventual takeover of the city by North Vietnamese forces. He also includes harrowing descriptions of the ""boat people"" who fled Vietnam and were raped and often killed by Thai pirates. The adventurous author, who trained for the French Foreign Legion, is obviously smitten with the land and people of Southeast Asia--he conducted a long love affair with a French-Vietnamese woman--and he effectively conveys his personal horror at the 1975 siege of Cambodia's Phnom Penh by the Khmer Rouge. During the appalling violence, his life was saved by interpreter Dith Pran, whose story was depicted in the film The Killing Fields, and Swain later took refuge in the French embassy with U.S. journalist Sydney Schanberg. Although the author details his unusual experiences in compelling and dramatic terms, the nostalgic romanticism with which he regards the opium dens and prostitution of former Indochina is sometimes excessive. (Oct.)
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