Tears Before the Rain: An Oral History of the Fall of South Vietnam

Larry Engelmann, Author Oxford University Press $110 (408p) ISBN 978-0-19-505386-9
Harrowing, heartrending and bitter by turns, these recollections by 75 eyewitnesses form a tragic epic of a country in the throes of violent death. Soldiers and civilians, both American and South Vietnamese, tell what it was like in the spring of 1975 as Hanoi carried out its final, successful offensive against the Republic of Vietnam. Generals, ambassadors, CIA officials, pilots, Marines, politicians, doctors, seamen, flight attendants, journalists and ordinary citizens describe the growing chaos, demoralization and panic as the collapse gained momentum. Survivors recall the chilling helicopter airlift from the U.S. embassy roof in Saigon with raw emotions, the Americans still brooding painfully over the abandonment of their South Vietnamese allies. In an Aftermath section, several former boat people relate in hair-raising detail their encounters with Thai pirates. A moving collection of painful memories, assembled by a professor of history at San Jose (Calif.) State. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/29/1990
Release date: 08/01/1990
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 418 pages - 978-0-306-80789-3
Open Ebook - 408 pages - 978-0-19-536379-1
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