cover image Portrait of the Enemy

Portrait of the Enemy

David Chanoff. Random House (NY), $17.95 (215pp) ISBN 978-0-394-53671-2

Chanoff and Toai conducted interviews over a two-year period with Vietnamese exiles in the United States and Europe, and obtained transcripts of military interrogations of Vietcong and North Vietnamese defectors and prisoners of war. The resulting collection of first-person accounts succeeds in humanizing our former foe in a way not found in other works published in English, largely because of the wide variety of attitudes, political outlooks and the strong individuality of the voices heard. Characters include a North Vietnamese propaganda chief, a Vietcong general, a village secretary-guerrilla, a Vietcong assassin, a Buddhist opposition leader and a man who served both in the Saigon national assembly and its counterpart in Hanoi. Chanoff, who teaches at Harvard, and Toai, director of the Institute for Southeast Asian Policy Analysis at Berkeley, coauthored The Vietnamese Gulag. (September 26)