Romancing Vietnam

"The best account so far of life in post-war Vietnam."
The Economist

Romancing Vietnam

Inside the Boat Country

Justin Wintle

When the Vietnam War finally ended in April 1975 with the communist capture of Saigon, Vietnam itself became a closed country, out of bounds to western travellers and journalists. By 1989, however, such was Vietnam’s economic plight that the government decided the time had come to open its doors again, albeit most gingerly.By a stroke of good fortune Justin Wintle became the first writer from the West to be allowed to journey around the whole of Vietnam, from Pac Bo on the Chinese border in the north to Ca Mau in the far south, below the Mekong Delta—though never without a posse of helpful, watchful “minders”. But because he had official approval, he was able to meet many of those who had played a prominent part in Vietnam’s recent history, among them General Vo Nguyen Giap, the victor of Dienbienphu and principal architect of America’s military humiliation, and Le Duc Tho, the man who outsmarted Henry Kissinger during the Paris peace negotiations. Romancing Vietnam is Justin Wintle’s classic account of what he found in post-war Vietnam, and how, for three months, he played cat and mouse with those charged with keeping him in line, while developing a profound love for more ordinary Vietnamese and the astonishing landscapes they inhabit.A young man’s book, written with open eyes and a deft pen, Romancing Vietnam , first published in 1991, describes a heaven and hell country, still full of the pain of war and unappeased ghosts, but a place of hope nevertheless, as also of sometimes outlandish comedy.

JUSTIN WINTLE is a well-known author, editor and journalist whose many other books include Furious Interiors: Wales, R. S. Thomas and God and Heat Treatment: Travels Beyond the Orient.

£12.99 paperback

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2006
440 pages (approx), illustrations, map
ISBN: 1904955150