Writing Hieu Tran’s memoir is an intimidating project for me as a writer. In order to truly write a book about a child who leaves Vietnam alone in search of a place called “America,” I need to understand the Vietnamese people and how the Vietnam war affected the people of Vietnam, especially after the war.
Unfortunately, there is not a lot of information available, in general, about the people of Vietnam. Most of what I find is about the Vietnam war.
I finally found one book: The Vietnamese Boat People, 1954 and 1975-1992, (By Nghia M. Vo) which led to two more: In the Jaws of History (By Bui Diem with David Chanoff) and The Vietnam War Remembered from All Sides (By: Christian G. Appy).
I have already learned some important details.
(1) The Vietnamese people have a fierce desire for Vietnam to be ruled by other Vietnamese and not by foreigners.
(2)Countries will go to extraordinary lengths to remain in control of a foreign country once they claim it–regardless of the harm this brings to the people of that country.
(3)People can suffer an extreme amount of abuse, hunger, and deprivation.
I have also learned that, at least during the years leading up to Hieu’s escape, the two main religions in Vietnam were Buddhist and Catholic.
If you can suggest additional resources that can help me in my endeavor to learn about the Vietnamese culture and people, please comment below or leave a message on my Facebook page.