Following are three new reviews of my book, “The Siege of An Lộc”. The first review was posted on Amazon after the reviewer purchased an additional item to bring his total to $50 as required by Amazon. The second one was posted on Amazon without any problem. The third one was emailed to me yesterday and it is published here only.
Qnbui, from New Jersey, October 22, 2020.
“The defense of An Loc beginning in April 1972 against successive waves of communist attacks was valiantly carried out by the South Vietnamese soldiers with the US assistance from the air. The people of South Vietnam are always grateful to the soldiers for their heroic sacrifices and will never forget this epic victory. “The Siege of An Loc” will help us remember.
Battles around An Loc, in neighboring towns and airports, along Highway 13, and details of military planning and deployment of troops – based on historical facts – are well described in “The Siege of An Loc”. The novel vividly recounts the atrocities of war, the vast destructions of the town, the huge sacrifices of soldiers, the great sufferings of ordinary people, the relentless efforts of communist troops to take over An Loc, and the active participation of the people in the collective defense of their hometown. A teenage girl, the noodle street vendor of Chinese descent, volunteered to assume the task of intelligence gathering for the regional forces.
Against this painful background of death, destruction, and sorrow bloomed a beautiful love story between a young talented lieutenant of the regional forces and a Saigon University student coming home to her family rubber plantation near An Loc for the spring break.
Also there is a stunning story of defections of 2 communist soldiers to South Vietnam through the Open Arms program, and a moving reunion of 2 brothers, a young officer in the South and a teenage soldier coming from North Vietnam. A lot of families were separated after the 1954 Geneva Agreement, part of the family going South and part remaining in the North.
Different events are recounted in different chapters, but there is always a smooth transition between them. There is a happy note at the end of the book, after so much sorrow and pain, for the young couple, the tailor family, the street vendor family, and others, all settling down in Xuan Loc, a neighboring town. Three years later, war erupted again all over in Xuan Loc and this attested to the futility of the war with millions of people dead on both sides and a waste of precious time and resources. The final result of the war during all these years was the firm imposition of the Marxist doctrine on the society, a philosophy so foreign to the Vietnamese tradition and culture.”
rustytreasure, from New Jersey, October 28, 2020
The struggles of a people trying to get by when their country, culture and economy are under relentless attack by outside forces as well as from within. This novel accurately reflects the history and cruelty of this war as well as the hope of a hard working people at the time. A love story, a history, a lesson in family values. I could barely put it down.
Perilla, from New Jersey, November 2, 2020.
“I have just finished this new book last night. I really like it.
The author knows his materials, from the rubber business to different types of weapons to the relevant geographies, sequence of events, the Stieng minority people….. and a lot more which I forgot to jot down as I was reading. Interesting tidbits on Van Cao (my favorite composer), “Hundred Flowers Campaign”, and Shostakovich (!).
The main challenge is to weave a love story with the documented war events; this is done seamlessly. The chance meeting of two people sheltering from the rain seems natural enough, could be drawn from the author’s personal experience (?). There are tender moments in the midst of the destruction, and there is no lack of subtle humor.
One could imagine the antagonists — ideological and romantic — are destined for a well-choreographed, mano-a-mano climactic fight, but the sudden resolution is a pleasant surprise — one needs not bother any longer with such a character.
Through it all I can sense the author enjoying the act of writing — power to him and he should definitely continue to write.”