Lost Years: My 1,632 Days in Vietnamese Reeducation Camps

Tri Vu Tran, Author Institute of East Asian Studies University of $0 (381p) ISBN 978-1-55729-006-9
In this dispassionate account, a former South Vietnamese military officer delineates his incarceration by North Vietnamese soldiers in southern ``reeducation'' camps from 1975 to 1979. Written with the explicit intent to evoke sympathy for those in the camps, the book's appeal lies in its author's remarkably detailed recollections and in his perceptive observations about the inconsistent behavior of his captors--Communists with often materialistic concerns. Vu presents a credible picture of the duress of camp inmates--cruel treatment, hunger, disease, hazardous working conditions--and intelligently, even humorously, pinpoints flaws in the Communist political system in Vietnam, illustrating that ``reeducation'' is a farce, serving as little more than punishment of enemy soldiers, ``bourgeois'' intellectuals and others who threaten the Revolution. The personal or emotional tone suggested by Vu's use of the first person is suppressed in favor of extreme restraint. His voice is almost unduly controlled when describing camp experiences, a wrenching contrast to the devastation he endured: ``I went back to the place where I had put my sack of clothes and sat down; my `home' now was where my belongings were.'' (July)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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