Last Night I Dreamed of Peace: The Diary of Dang Thuy Tram

Thuy Tram, Author , trans. by Andrew X. Pham, intro. by Frances Fitzgerald. Harmony $25 (225p) ISBN 978-0-3073-4737-4

In 1970, while sifting through war documents in Vietnam, Fred Whitehurst, an American lawyer serving with a military intelligence dispatch, found a diary no bigger than a pack of cigarettes, its pages handsewn together. Written between 1968 and '70 by Tram, a young, passionate doctor who served on the front lines, it chronicled the strife she witnessed until the day she was shot by American soldiers earlier that year at age 27. Whitehurst, who was greatly moved by the diary and smuggled it out of the country, returned it to Thuy's family in 2005; soon after, it was published as a book in Vietnam, selling nearly half a million copies within a year and a half. The diary is valuable for the perspective it offers on war—Thuy is not obsessed with military maneuvers but rather the damage, both physical and emotional, that the war is inflicting on her country. Thuy also speaks poignantly about her patients and the compassion she feels for them. Unfortunately, the writing, composed largely of breathless questions and exclamations, is monotonous at times, somewhat diminishing the book's power. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 05/28/2007
Release date: 09/01/2007
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-0-7393-5448-3
Hardcover - 320 pages - 978-1-84604-075-7
Hardcover - 225 pages - 978-1-84604-058-0
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