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Vignettes of Vietnam

Smiles and politeness, the mollifying oils of Asia, flow as freely in Vietnam as in China, but beneath the civilities, life in Vietnam seems comparatively violent. Instructions on the door of our fancy Saigon hotel, The Rex, after some obscure moralizing ("Avoid smoking when lying") asked my wife and me if we wouldn't mind leaving our "poisons, explosives and inflammables" at home with our poultry.

After the Fall

What did the failure of an American client state ultimately mean, three decades on? Although the personnel and leaders of South Vietnam are today dismissed by the rulers of Vietnam as “puppets,” there were many in South Vietnam who resisted the Communists precisely because of their patriotism and their wish to lead lives free of Communist dogma. At the same time, the ranks of the South Vietnamese government, as well as its military, the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN), were thick with former French collaborators, gangsters, cowards, and buffoons. The insolvable corruption of South Vietnam was a problem throughout the entire course of the war. In this way, Nguyen Cao Ky, one of the war’s most fascinating characters, also serves as a perfect lens through which to approach the whole story.


The Green Room, Winter 2002

"Here's a marvellous convenient place for our rehearsal." Wars unfortunately have been part and parcel of American history, and two that loom large in our recent past are Vietnam, the only war Americans have ever lost, and World War Two, perhaps o [...]

Gates of Saigon

They knew better than to move off the buckets, though occasional sighs and slight fidgeting exposed their discomfort. Naked babies filled the room, indistinguishable with their shaved fuzzy hair, listless eyes and thin limbs spindling over scratched- [...]