cover image The Vietnamese Gulag

The Vietnamese Gulag

David Chanoff, Doan Van Toai, Van Toai Doan. Simon & Schuster, $18.45 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-671-60350-2

Toai spent time in jails in South Vietnam for antigovernment activities as a student leader, including a trip to the U.S. to deliver antiwar speeches at California universities. When the Communists took over in 1975, he went to work for the Revolutionary Finance Committee and observed at close hand the workings of the new regime. Then, without warning, he was thrown into prison, where for 28 months he suffered torture, starvation, disease and despair. Just as abruptly, he was released and allowed to leave the countrystill not knowing why he had been arrested. In this effective, absorbing memoir, the authors describe in detail the ""insidious inhumanity'' of the Communist government (``far worse than that of the foreign oppressors'') as it took control in Saigon. Toai, who now lives in California, accurately refers to himself as the first articulate messenger of the new order, and his message is directed at ``the Vietnamese community abroad who had supported the revolution, and the foreign antiwar movements that had done so much to bring it about.'' Illustrations. (March 31)