Vietnam When The Tanks Were Elephants

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781413489347
  • Publisher: Xlibris Corporation
  • Publication date: 11/23/2005
  • Pages: 324
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.88 (d)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2005

    Learning about Vietnam

    The Tay Son rebellion in Vietnam in the late 1700's was contemporaneous with the French and our revolutions and equally traumatic. Anyone interested in learning about Vietnam before our involvement will find this well written historical novel by Mr. Barnes to be deeply interesting. Mr. Barnes is a thorough Vietnam hand, truly fluent in the language and with extensive experience there. He served in our Foreign Service a number of assignments there, almost all of his time outside of Saigon. He also served in Thailand and Laos, doing well with their languages too. His wife is Vietnamese and an able collaborator in his research. The Tay Son brothers from Central Vietnam led their rebellion first against the Nguyen rulers of the south, killing off all the family except one prince who fled to Thailand. They then marched to the north to eliminate the Trinh rulers there. The division between the Trinh and the Nguyen was almost at the same line as the later division between North and South Vietnam during our war. Both supposedly were serving the Le Dynasty titular rulers of all of Vietnam. The Tay Son brothers after their victories fell out among themselves, and the dynasty collapsed as the surviving Nguyen prince returned to reconquer using Thai and French support. As King Gia Long he founded a renewed Nguyen Dynasty which in turn was to fall to the French and then ultimately to the Communists. It is a tangled piece of history, with many actors, much treachery, and copious amounts of blood. Mr. Barnes has followed the real history closely using the tool of a novel with first person narrations by the principal participants, and with descriptions of gruesome (and real) executions and the sex that comes with kings marrying for political reasons and also having fun with winsome concubines. Enjoy a good read and interesting history. You will know Vietnam much better.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2005

    You Are A Witness To History

    Tom Barnes has undertaken a momentous historical and literary task, and accomplished it admirably. It is sometimes not an easy read, particularly for those unfamiliar with Vietnamese names, culture and geography, but a map, glossary and capsule biographies of narrators and named characters are thoughtfully and wisely provided. These aids are essential, particularly in the early chapters, given the interplay of a large number of players over a considerable period of time. I found it helpful to photocopy the capsule biographies to avoid repetative referrals to the back of the book. Keeping characters and their interrelationships in order and perspective became easier as events unfolded and progressed. While the book is at times not an effortless read, it is a very rewarding one. Use of the first person narrative viewpoint made me feel that I was part of and witness to history, not just reading about it.

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