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The Sacred Willow: Four Generations in the Life of a Vietnamese Family [Englisch] [Taschenbuch]

Duong Van Mai Elliott
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Kurzbeschreibung

20. April 2000
Growing up in Hanoi, Haiphong, and Saigon, Mai Elliott loved listening to the stories told by her parents and other relatives about their parents and grandparents. She found these tales fascinating - some funny, some tragic. She knew one day she would tell their stories and she has in her book The Sacred Willow. In The Sacred Willow Mai tells the story of her family over four generations, from the 19th century to the present. She takes us back to the vanished world where her great-grandfather, Duong Lam, rose from poverty to become a mandarin at the imperial court. She tells of childhood hours spent in her grandmother's sil shop - and of hiding while French troops torched her village, watching blossoms from the trees torn by fire flutter "like hundreds of butterflies" overhead. She reveals the agonizing choices that split Vietnamese families, while her father, loyal to his mandarin heritage, served the French colonial regime, her eldest sister joined the Communist guerillas and vanished for years into the jungle. Finally, Mai traces her family's journey through some of the most harrowing events of recent times - the fall of Saigon, the exodus of the boat people, and the re-education camps endured by those who were left behind. Writing with insight and compassion, Mai Elliott weaves a narrative with the richness and colour of a historical novel. Haunting, heartbreaking and inspiring, The Sacred Willow wo;; fprever cjamge pir imderstamdomg pf Vietnam and our role in it.

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Produktinformation

  • Taschenbuch: 544 Seiten
  • Verlag: Oxford University Press, USA; Auflage: New Ed (20. April 2000)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0195137876
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195137873
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 3,9 x 15,4 x 23,4 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 4.8 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (4 Kundenrezensionen)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 367.206 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
  • Komplettes Inhaltsverzeichnis ansehen

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Produktbeschreibungen

Amazon.de

Most books about Vietnam focus on the French who colonized it or the Americans who sought to "save" it. This combination of memoir and family history shows the Vietnamese "as they saw themselves as the central players in their own history." The author's perspective is particularly enlightening because her relatives, though unquestionably better-educated and better-off than the typical Vietnamese, made a variety of political and social choices over the course of the turbulent century she chronicles. Her great-grandfather was a mandarin and member of the imperial court; her father was a government official under French rule; her older sister married a Communist. Elliott herself enrolled in Georgetown's School of Foreign Service in 1960, married an American, and supported the U.S. crusade in Vietnam until her experiences interviewing Vietcong prisoners of war for a Rand Corporation study convinced her that the corrupt Saigon regime failed to offer a convincing alternative to Communism. Because she had family on both sides, Elliott's portrait of the war is subtler and less didactic than previous accounts by proponents of either ideology. Her prose is a bit formal and dense for the casual reader, but by telling her relatives' personal stories and explicating their culture's traditional values, her reflective narrative makes humanly complicated a history too often oversimplified. --Wendy Smith -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Gebundene Ausgabe .

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An extraordinary narrative S Dean Powell, Western Mail 10/03/01

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4.8 von 5 Sternen
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen
Von Sara
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
The Sacred Willow is an excellent family biography and historical analysis of the origins of, and events surrounding, the Vietnam War. If you have shied away from histories of Vietnam as you are not interested in military history, I would highly recommend this work. This book is a social, rather than a military, history. Tracing the history of Vietnam from the era of the mandarins, through the French colonialization, through the communist insurgency, to the fall of Saigon and beyond, the author writes a history of her own family and in so doing, beautifully and subtly details the complexities and nuances of the origins of the Vietnam conflict and America's participation therein. The author's use of spare and straightforward prose enables the reader to look beyond the sheer horror of the war and its aftermath and reach a level of understanding as to how this tragic conflict could have occured.
War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?
5.0 von 5 Sternen Beginner's guide to Vietnamese History 13. Juni 2000
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
After having recently started to work in Vietnam, I wanted to get a feel of the Vietnamese history spanning this century. Not interested in a text-book style carricature, I purchased this book to get an overview of the events that shaped the emergence of modern Vietnam. Mai Duong's narrative is comprehensive, successfully covering the macro events of the colonialism, subsequent communist revolution, and its ultimate collapse, and the emergence of the modern Vietnam. The book succeeds in giving an impression of the circumstances that normal households went through, allowing the reader to feel and be part of the true-life story within. Must-read for people wanting to get an overview on the current Vietnamese history - with a social angle.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Incredible! 11. September 1999
Von Ein Kunde
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
I've known Mai Elliott for nearly ten years and although I've always know she was a brilliant and insightful woman, I had no clue she had a full-blown work of genius in her. I know she put many hard, careful and thoughtful years into this history of her family and suffice it to say, her natural wit, intelligence and sensitivity shines through on every page. Not only is she a tremendous human being, she's a tremendous author. I haven't enjoyed a work of history as much as I have this one since I read Richard Rhodes, "The Making of the Atomic Bomb." And, frankly, I don't know what Amazon.com is charging for it but it's more that worth every cent.
War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?
5.0 von 5 Sternen A marvelous, important work on Vietnam. 3. Mai 1999
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
The Sacred Willow is a beautifully detailed view of the Vietnamese twentieth century -- not from the perspective of Americans involved in the war years 1965-75, but from the perspective of one Vietnamese family. Duong Van Mai Elliott's family included mandarins and leaders of Vietnamese society -- as well as members of the Viet Minh. The memoir is poignant and dramatic, exploring the widely diverging experiences of the author, her relatives and friends between the 1940s and the end of 20th century. The reader who wants to "understand Vietnam" will not find a better book, or a more readable and absorbing one.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 von 5 Sternen  35 Rezensionen
66 von 72 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Vast fascinating saga, but limited outlook 18. September 2000
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
This book is indeed what most critics say that it is: an ambitious, sprawling saga, paralleling the life and history of one family with the history of Vietnam in the last 130 years. And it does make fascinating reading. However, one other critic rightly made the point that this history is limited to the upper-middle-class, with very little on the rest - the farmers, the urban working class, the fighting soldiers, the intelligentsia. To which I will add: the view Mai Elliott gives of the sweeping events her family lived through was in fact rather comprehensive as long as it took place in the North, where she was born. Once the family moved South to Saigon, they pretty much kept to themselves and were out of the loop as far as decision-making was concerned (whereas ther father had been Governor of Haiphong and right there in the thick of things in the North). Being myself a Southerner Vietnamese, I do admit that, in general, the refugees from the North were not made warmly welcome. But some did reach out and eventually made friends, which the Duong family does not seem to have done. When they were still high officials in the North, the Duongs were influential and knew almost every aspect of what was going on. Once in the South, they were pretty much out of the loop, and Mai falls back on sweeping generalizations based on prejudices and hearsay, like "the Southern landowners were absently landlords who lived it up in Saigon, leaving their lands to caretakers". Being myself from a landowning family, I can vouch that that was far from true. Same thing about the South Vietnamese armed forces and the contempt in which they were supposedly held by their American allies. Would Tiger Woods' father have named him after a South Vietnamese Ranger if he despised him and his companions as cowards? She also fails to note that, very often, a South Vietnamese military operation would fail because Americans would not listen to their SVN counterparts, thinking they knew better. And Mai was so busy interviewing VC prisoners of war and trying to understand them that she never took the time to find out what the South Vietnamese working class, farmers, and fighting men, were like. Or why they stuck with a "corrupt" and "tyrannical" government, not to mention nasty imperialist Americans without rising up and going to the other side. Her account of the fall of Saigon and its aftermath is told solely from the point of view of her relatives who stayed there, or other former Northern refugees, and from a strictly "bleeding-heart liberal" perspective. General Loan is stigmatized when he shot a VC in public (he had heard that very day that the VCs had massacred a whole bunch of his relatives), but widespread cases of the so-called Liberation Army summarily shooting thieves in the street is related without so much as a metaphorically raised eybrow. There is no mention whatsoever of the South Vietnamese underground resistance that went on for over 10 years after Saigon fell, and only a grudging, one-sentence acknowledgement of "acts of heroism" by the South Vietnamese army and people. Her extensive bibliography is limited to North Vietnamese and American books, magazines and papers when she could have gained a different insight from books or articles by South Vietnamese or French writers and journalists, among others "The Vietnamese Gulag" by a South Vietnamese who stayed on after the "liberation" to help rebuild the country. I still recommend the book as an interesting work, giving a perspective that Americans in general have not seen - the "Vietnam War" viewed from the point of view of a Vietnamese family. But for that, Le Ly Hayslip's "When Heaven and Earth Changed Places" was closer to the people - and Mai Elliott's point of view is only that of a small part of Vietnam. But do read it anyway. You will still gain facts and insights you did not get before.
19 von 20 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen A family history that also tells the history of Vietnam. 27. Oktober 1999
Von Sara - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
The Sacred Willow is an excellent family biography and historical analysis of the origins of, and events surrounding, the Vietnam War. If you have shied away from histories of Vietnam as you are not interested in military history, I would highly recommend this work. This book is a social, rather than a military, history. Tracing the history of Vietnam from the era of the mandarins, through the French colonialization, through the communist insurgency, to the fall of Saigon and beyond, the author writes a history of her own family and in so doing, beautifully and subtly details the complexities and nuances of the origins of the Vietnam conflict and America's participation therein. The author's use of spare and straightforward prose enables the reader to look beyond the sheer horror of the war and its aftermath and reach a level of understanding as to how this tragic conflict could have occured.
22 von 24 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Great way to learn about Vietnam 30. August 2000
Von Terry Blagden - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
I would strongly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn about Vietnam. Well-written, the book is a history of how one family lived in Vietnam over several generations. The reader will learn the conflicts (politcal, cultural, and military) that each generation faced and how they responded to them to survive.
What is also interesting in this fine book, is that Mai Elliot showed how important it was to the Vietnamese that the Japanese (for a time) ruled the French in Vietnam during World War II. It showed that the French could be defeated and raised the morale of those Vietnamese who wanted to drive the French out of Vietnam. Not many other books highlight this particular role of the Japanese on Vietnamese history in the second half of the 20th Century.
Overall, this book will give beginning and advanced students of Vietnam both a relatively unbiased and informative view of Vietnam over the years. Furthermore, parts of the book are an adventure and demonstrate the hardships that many in Vietnam had to endure for so many years regardless of social status and education. Mai Elliot has made a solid contribution to the literature on Vietnam. One of the best Vietnam books out there.
14 von 15 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen A Personal Account of the Impact of history 4. Februar 2003
Von o dubhthaigh - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
Duong Van Mai Elliott has given the world as intimate an account of the entire breath of Viet Namese history as you'll ever encounter. It is remarkable how close to the ground her family has always been throughout her country's efforts to break the bonds of colonialism, regardless of the oppressor. She casts history accurately, relates its impact on her forebears and brings the whole discussion front and center in the conflicts that arise among siblings as they come to terms with some who embrace Ho Chi Minh, others who embrace US personnel.
Mai's own story is full of that heart-rending division as she comes to term with her husband's family, who while very supportive of their daughter-in-law, really are not aware of the enormous drama taking place in the souls of this family. It is not like the Viet Namese to be outwardly emotional, and so their resolve to be brave in the face of often crushing personal sacrifice leaves you stunned.
One of the things I got from this book was that the US never stood a chance. The Us never understood what the central issue was for the Viet Namese people, inspite of having liberated themselves from similar colonialism in their own history. Replacing one colonialist for another, be they kinder or crueler, was not the point: they were still colonialists, and too often the US opted for choices based on ideologies instead of on the human factor, a point the Viet Minh knew was more powerful than bullets.
The war decimated Viet Namese as well as Americans, a point too often overlooked in the rush to build monuments to people who had no business there to begin with. The killing fields that would follow in the wake of the US departure would exact a toll on the humanity of a remarkable people. Time would show that the ideologues of Uncle Ho were little better than oppressors from afar. Mai saw it up close and personal.
The familial rifts remained. Still there is so much healing needed. This book will not resolve anything for the reader. Imstead, it shows that history happens to real families. Holocausts impact real people. The numbers and the monuments don't tell the story at all.
11 von 12 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A marvelous, important work on Vietnam. 3. Mai 1999
Von Dr. Susan F. Kepner - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
The Sacred Willow is a beautifully detailed view of the Vietnamese twentieth century -- not from the perspective of Americans involved in the war years 1965-75, but from the perspective of one Vietnamese family. Duong Van Mai Elliott's family included mandarins and leaders of Vietnamese society -- as well as members of the Viet Minh. The memoir is poignant and dramatic, exploring the widely diverging experiences of the author, her relatives and friends between the 1940s and the end of 20th century. The reader who wants to "understand Vietnam" will not find a better book, or a more readable and absorbing one.
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