The Girl in the Picture: The Story of Kim Phuc, the Photograph and the Vietnam War

Denise Chong, Author Viking Books $25.95 (373p) ISBN 978-0-670-88040-9
All you have to do is say ""the girl in the picture"" and any American who was politically aware during the Vietnam War will conjure up the image of a little Vietnamese girl running down the road, her naked body scorched by napalm, her face contorted in pain. That photograph, taken of a girl named Kim Phuc on June 8, 1972, by Nick Ut of the Associated Press, remains a haunting image of the American war in Vietnam. Canadian writer Chong (The Concubine's Children) now tells Phuc's story in this instructive authorized biography. Tracing Phuc's life both before and after she was nearly killed (at age nine) by a South Vietnamese air force napalm strike gone wrong, Chong unblinkingly presents graphic depictions of the horrors that the war visited on innocent civilians. She finds, however, amidst these tragedies, a redemptive story in Phuc's life, which, thankfully, has a happy ending. Through the heroic efforts of Nick Ut, British correspondent Christopher Wain and others, the girl was taken to an excellent hospital in Saigon. Through 17 operations (in 24 months), an international team of doctors saved her life. Later, after communist authorities mercilessly used her for propaganda purposes, she fled Vietnam. Today, she and her husband are Christians, living in Ontario with their two sons. Although Phuc's entire back remains deeply scarred (keeping her in near constant pain), she works as an unpaid goodwill ambassador for UNESCO and runs her own foundation for child victims of war. Chong's biography, though overly detailed at times, is a well-rendered and affecting life story. 8 pages of b&w photos. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/31/2000
Release date: 08/01/2000
Hardcover - 373 pages - 978-0-670-86817-9
Open Ebook - 400 pages - 978-1-4406-8048-9
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 400 pages - 978-1-4406-8139-4
Paperback - 373 pages - 978-0-14-028021-0
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-0-7432-0703-4
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