Nguyen Cong Luan, Nationalist in the Viet Nam Wars. Memoirs of a Victim Turned Soldier, Bloomington & Indianapolis, Indiana University Press, 2012, 598 p.
This extraordinary memoir tells the story of one man’s experience of the wars of Viet Nam from the time he was old enough to be aware of war in the 1940s until his departure for America 15 years after the collapse of South Viet Nam in 1975. Nguyen Cong Luan was born and raised in small villages near Ha Noi. He grew up knowing war at the hands of the Japanese, the French, and the Viet Minh. Living with wars of conquest, colonialism, and revolution led him finally to move south and take up the cause of the Republic of Viet Nam, exchanging a life of victimhood for one of a soldier. His stories of village life in the north are every bit as compelling as his stories of combat and the tragedies of war. This honest and impassioned account is filled with the everyday heroism of the common people of his generation.
Nguyen Cong Luan was born in 1937 and grew up in North Viet Nam. Following the 1954 Geneva Agreement, which divided the nation in two, he moved south and enrolled in the Republic of Viet Nam Military Academy, then served in the Army of the Republic of Viet Nam until 1975. Incarcerated for six years seven months in communist prison camps, he immigrated to the United States in 1990. He was an associate editor of The Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War.
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