Friday, August 27, 2010

Vietnam...The Sorrow of WAR and other books.

My recent trip to Vietnam In June was hugely meaningful for me personally.
I have had so much contact and connection with Vietnam through the books I've read
over several decades.
As Professor Higgins confessed in the movie musical My Fair Lady ...." I've grown accustomed
to her face. " Me too, except this is the face of Vietnam that I've grown familiar with.
Here in this blogpost, I would like to share a brief insight about 3 books from my Vietnam section.

First published in 1972, Devil's Guard by George Robert Elford tells about the life story
of an ex- German Waffen SS officer who, after the end of World War 2, who escaped the
war crime trials in Europe and joined the French Foreign Legion.
His name: Hans Josef Wagemueller. He and other escaped Germans like him were then
sent to Indo-china ( Vietnam ) to fight against the Viet Minh. Their battalion was nicknamed
Of all the factual books about Vietnam and the wars connected with it which I have in my library
or have read, I would rate the account in this book as the most brutal and raw that I have come across to date. The degenerate and totally inhuman violence that both sides perpetrated on each other is so shocking that you need to have strong nerves and a steady hand to hold the book while reading it. If you can somehow set aside the brutality and gruesome descriptions of some of the most inhuman acts against a human will learn much about the brilliant German mind at work and the equally fascinating response from their formidable foes.
It is my belief that reading this book and learning from the Devils Guard concept of jungle warfare would have been of a super great help to all those greenhorn GIs and fresh college kids from America who were sent to Vietnam....many of whom did not survive.

[A beautiful Vietnam Rose of pink variety ]

Navy SEALS are the highly trained specialised units of American fighting forces that operated
effectively by air, sea or land. In Vietnam, they had much success against the NVA or Vietcong
as they carried out ambushes and other mainly covert missions.
First published in 1995 by Lt. Cmdr. Michael J Walsh.
I have many of such books.

[ A beautiful pure white Vietnamese Rose ]

Of all the books on and about Vietnam in my modest Library, this book
" The Sorrow of WAR " by Bao Ninh a former North Vietnamese Army veteran is my top favourite.
It won the Independent Foreign Fiction Award. It was first published in 1991 in Hanoi.
In 1994, the translated version in English first appeared in the UK.
The book received numerous accolades and excellent reviews around the world.
Humbly, Unk Dicko adds his confirmation.
The language and imagery used by Bao Ninh is most poetic and sublime.
This was his very first book and what an achievement!
To me, reading this book is best done when you are truly relaxed...just like finding the time
to enjoy a beautiful masterpiece of painting by Picasso or Leonardo da Vinci or Rembrandt.
He writes as though he is painting the landscape with precision, with words and phrases that
help the reader see what he actually saw or went through.
That's definitely not an easy thing to do.
But he does it so well.

[ Wow! Wow! So pretty this Vietnam red Rose ]

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