Vietnamese Gulag

Vietnamese Gulag

by Doan Van Toai, David Chanoff

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Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
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)
Library Journal - Library Journal
Every Communist party in power has established prison systems that mix torture, brutality, starvation, and the use of informants to crush real and imagined enemies. Toai, a Saigon student leader in the 1960s and early 1970s, spearheaded opposition to the pro-U.S. Thieu regime, but failed to cast his lot with the Communist revolutionaries. He was swept into a Communist prison in late 1975, and here tells the story of a would-be Third Force intellectual's struggle to survive over the following two years. His vivid descriptions of prison life are interspersed with memoirs of his days as a student leader. The material is fascinating, but the narrative flashback technique is irritating. Political memoirs need not be written as if they were movie scripts. Ste ven I. Levine, Sch. of International Service, American Univ., Washington, D.C.

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Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
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