ABC-CLIO

South Vietnamese Soldiers

Memories of the Vietnam War and After

by Nathalie Huynh Chau Nguyen

 

By 1975, there were more than 6,000 women serving in South Vietnam's armed forces.

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Cover image for South Vietnamese Soldiers

March 2016

Praeger

Pages 289
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Military History/Armed Forces
  World History/Conflict

Published on the 40th anniversary of the end of the war in Vietnam, this book brings to life the experiences and memories of South Vietnamese soldiers—the forgotten combatants of this controversial conflict.

South Vietnam lost more than a quarter of a million soldiers in the Vietnam War, yet the histories of these men—and women—are largely absent from the vast historiography of the conflict. By focusing on oral histories related by 40 veterans from the former Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces, this book breaks new ground, shedding light on an essentially unexplored aspect of the war and giving voice to those who have been voiceless.

The experiences of these former soldiers are examined through detailed firsthand accounts that feature two generations and all branches of the service, including the Women's Armed Forces Corps. Readers will gain insight into the soldiers' early lives, their military service, combat experiences, and friendships forged in wartime. They will also see how life became worse for most in the aftermath of the war as they experienced internment in communist prison camps, discrimination against their families on political grounds, and the dangers inherent in escaping Vietnam, whether by sea or land. Finally, readers will learn how veterans who saw no choice but to leave their homeland succeeded in rebuilding their lives in new countries and cultures.

Features

  • Relates the stories of South Vietnamese soldiers through a compelling narrative driven by oral histories
  • Brings the experiences of these soldiers to life for the reader by sharing their compelling firsthand accounts
  • Draws on a key oral history collection newly established at the National Library of Australia in 2013–2014
  • Provides fascinating insights into the soldiers' early years, their military service and experiences, and their post-war lives
  • Conveys the strength of will and resilience that enabled these men and women to endure the hardships of war, the defeat of their armed forces, the loss of their country, and the challenges of becoming refugees and resettling in new lands
Author Info

Nathalie Huynh Chau Nguyen, PhD, is associate professor and Australian Research Council Future Fellow at the National Centre for Australian Studies at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. Her published works include Praeger's Memory Is Another Country: Women of the Vietnamese Diaspora, the 2010 Choice Outstanding Academic Title; Voyage of Hope: Vietnamese Australian Women's Narratives, shortlisted for the 2007 New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards; and Vietnamese Voices: Gender and Cultural Identity in the Vietnamese Francophone Novel. She is editor of New Perceptions of the Vietnam War: Essays on the War, the South Vietnamese Experience, the Diaspora and the Continuing Impact. Nguyen holds a doctorate from the University of Oxford. Her previous fellowships include an ARC Australian Research Fellowship at the University of Melbourne, a Harold White Fellowship at the National Library of Australia, and a Visiting Fellowship at the University of Oxford.

Reviews/Endorsements

Reviews

"Nguyen’s remarkable achievement is her ability to allow the veterans to speak for themselves in this groundbreaking study from that tragic conflict. Summing Up: Essential. All levels/libraries."—Choice

"[An] outstanding book. . . . The South Vietnamese military—which lost a quarter of a million men killed in action and nearly one million seriously wounded—has largely been ignored, forgotten or dismissed as irelevant. This excellent and much-needed book, however, gives voices to those unknown soldiers of the Vietnam War, and constitutes an important and necessary addition to the burgeoning scholarship of the war."—Vietnam Magazine

Endorsements

"Nathalie Huynh Chau Nguyen has made a major contribution not only to the history of the Vietnam War but also to the history of wars and their aftermath. South Vietnamese Soldiers is both a scholarly and an emotive account of those who served in the armed forces of the Republic of Vietnam. Based on extensive interviews with former service personnel, the book recovers an important dimension of the war, too often distorted or completely overlooked in the extensive literature on the war."—Peter Edwards, Official Historian of Australia's Involvement in Southeast Asian Conflicts 1948–1975

"In a powerful and eloquent book, Nguyen rewrites the South Vietnamese back into their own history and gives them back their voices. This is an important and overdue treatment of the missing dimension of the Vietnam War. Drawing on extensive research and interviews with surviving veterans of the Republic of Vietnam’s military, Nguyen restores a critical perspective to the study of the war and offers additional dimensions to our understanding. This often deeply moving study should be read by everyone with an interest in the subject."—Jeffrey Grey, Professor of History, UNSW Canberra at the Australian Defence Force Academy

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Other Titles of Interest

The Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War cover imageVietnam War cover imageMemory Is Another Country cover image

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