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Surviving Twice: Amerasian Children of the Vietnam War
     

Surviving Twice: Amerasian Children of the Vietnam War

by Trin Yarborough
 

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Surviving Twice is a dramatic and moving human-interest nonfiction book, based on the true stories of what happened to five of the 100,000 or more Amerasian children born during the Vietnam War to American soldiers and Vietnamese mothers.

Although almost 4,000 books have been written about the Vietnam War, few even mention the tens of thousands of Amerasian

Overview

Surviving Twice is a dramatic and moving human-interest nonfiction book, based on the true stories of what happened to five of the 100,000 or more Amerasian children born during the Vietnam War to American soldiers and Vietnamese mothers.

Although almost 4,000 books have been written about the Vietnam War, few even mention the tens of thousands of Amerasian children born during the conflict. This book adds important new information to the studies of the war as the 30th anniversary of the war’s end (April 30, l975) approaches. Written by journalist Trin Yarborough with help from a Rockefeller Fellowship, it is based on extensive interviews with the Amerasians, as well as other research. The first half of Surviving Twice deals with the Amerasians’ first struggles to survive in Vietnam after l975, when many were abandoned to orphanages or the streets, grew up in extreme poverty, and were the victims of racial, class, and political prejudice. Half-black Amerasians were treated especially badly.

In l987, returning U.S. members of the first commercial post-war tours to Vietnam drew media attention to the masses of young Amerasians living homeless in the streets, and pressured Congress to pass the Amerasian Homecoming Act. Under this Act, Amerasians were given the opportunity to come to the U.S. and bring close relatives or caregivers. Fraud quickly swamped the program as Vietnamese hoping to leave the country lavished the now teenaged Amerasians with sudden affection and lavish gifts, trying to persuade the teens to take them to America as false relatives. The second half of Surviving Twice is about the Amerasians’ struggle to survive in America, where most hoped to find their U.S. fathers, about whom many held life-long fantasies. Majorities of the Amerasians were illiterate, unskilled, and unable to speak English. They also suffered from physical and emotional problems, including post traumatic stress disorder. Their fake families quickly abandoned most of them, and soon they were left to deal with a new country and culture with very few sources for help. Many became homeless or turned to crime. Suicides were not uncommon. Some survived and assimilated; many did not.

Surviving Twice raises significant questions about how mixed-race children born of wars and occupations are treated and the ways in which the shifting laws, policies, social attitudes, and bureaucratic red tape of two nations affect them their entire lives

Editorial Reviews

Gil Dorland

"Trin Yarborough’s intriguing and compelling account of the survival struggles of five Amerasians born during the Vietnam War, and of their painful search for their American fathers, will tug at your heart. It will also arouse disgust for the Vietnamese and American governments that turned their backs on them and the 100,000 others like them."—Gil Dorland, author of Legacy of Discord: Voices of the Vietnam War Era
Gerald Nicosia

"A riveting work of contemporary history on the aftermath of modern war. Not only a major contribution to Vietnam studies, it makes us realize that the pain and damage from armed conflict go on virtually forever. Like the Amerasian children conceived by warriors and victims in Vietnam, we all carry the burden of past hate and violence in our very bones--and through the people Yarborough brings to life in her book, we are able to realize what a price we all pay for continuing to wage war."—Gerald Nicosia, author of Home to War: A History of the Vietnam Veterans' Movement
Le Ly Hayslip

"No other book gives us so many important insights and information, and such a deep understanding, of the almost unknown story of the Vietnamese Amerasian children born of the Vietnam War and what they suffered to survive both in Vietnam and later in America. Trin Yarborough’s brave account of their moving, fascinating stories also offers unique glimpses into seldom-recorded aspects of Vietnamese culture. . . . This is a wonderful book."—Le Ly Hayslip, author of When Heaven and Earth Changed Places and Child of War, Woman of Peace
A. J. Langguth

"Trin Yarborough’s remarkable book reminds us that no matter how great our effort, we Americans cannot simply put Vietnam behind us. Of all the victims of that misbegotten war, the Vietamese Amerasians may be the most deserving of our attention. I’d ask that as you read their fascinating stories, you remember national debts that remain unpaid."—A. J. Langguth, author of Our Vietnam: The War 1954-1975
From the Publisher
“Trin Yarborough’s intriguing and compelling account of the survival struggles of five Amerasians born during the Vietnam War, and of their painful search for their American fathers, will tug at your heart. It will also arouse disgust for the Vietnamese and American governments that turned their backs on them and the 100,000 others like them.”

“A riveting work of contemporary history on the aftermath of modern war. Not only a major contribution to Vietnam studies, it makes us realize that the pain and damage from armed conflict go on virtually forever. Like the Amerasian children conceived by warriors and victims in Vietnam, we all carry the burden of past hate and violence in our very bones—and through the people Yarborough brings to life in her book, we are able to realize what a price we all pay for continuing to wage war.”

“No other book gives us so many important insights and information, and such a deep understanding, of the almost unknown story of the Vietnamese Amerasian children born of the Vietnam War and what they suffered to survive both in Vietnam and later in America. Trin Yarborough’s brave account of their moving, fascinating stories also offers unique glimpses into seldom-recorded aspects of Vietnamese culture. . . . This is a wonderful book.”

“Trin Yarborough’s remarkable book reminds us that no matter how great our effort, we Americans cannot simply put Vietnam behind us. Of all the victims of that misbegotten war, the Vietnamese Amerasians may be the most deserving of our attention. I’d ask that as you read their fascinating stories, you remember national debts that remain unpaid.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781574888652
Publisher:
Potomac Books
Publication date:
09/30/2006
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

Meet the Author

First involved in Southeast Asian issues as communications director and editor for the Institute for Policy Studies, TRIN YARBOROUGH served in the 1980s as director of communications for Oxfam America, one of the few agencies then sending humanitarian aid to Vietnam. From 2001 to 2004, she worked on the news desk of The Daily Journal, which serves the California legal community. Living in Los Angeles, thirty miles from the largest Vietnamese community outside Vietnam, Yarborough remains active in Southeast Asian issues.

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