No Longer Enemies, Not Yet Friends: An American Soldier Returns to Vietnam

Frederick Downs, Author W. W. Norton & Company $22.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-393-03047-1
Amid the lengthening list of return-to-Vietnam accounts, this is one of the most memorable. Downs, a former infantry officer who lost an arm in the war, the author of The Killing Zone and director of prosthetics and sensory aid services for the Veterans Administration, took several trips in the late 1980s as part of an official mission charged with exploring humanitarian issues. Along with its acute observations of postwar Vietnamese culture, this report is distinguished by Downs's admission that he returned to 'Nam for the first time in 20 years with his low opinion of ``gooks'' intact, and expecting to find widespread hatred of Americans. The story of his coming to terms with his former enemy is both moving and instructive, and includes a detailed account of the week in 1988 he spent escorting the Vietnamese director of rehabilitation around Washington, D.C. Downs discovered that ``the greatest civics lesson for any American is to have to explain our way of life to a hard-line Communist.'' Photos. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/04/1991
Release date: 11/01/1991
Mass Market Paperbound - 416 pages - 978-0-671-79513-9
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-393-33111-0
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