Journals Higher Education



Published: 20 April 2000

544 Pages | 32 halftones, 3 maps

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

ISBN: 9780195137873

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Bookseller Code (03)

The Sacred Willow

Four Generations in the Life of a Vietnamese Family

Duong Van Mai Elliott

Duong Van Mai Elliott's The Sacred Willow, an extraordinary narrative woven from the lives of four generations of her own family, illuminates fascinating--and until now unexplored--strands of Vietnamese history. Beginning with her great-grandfather and continuing to the present, Mai Elliott traces her family's journey through a long era of tumultuous change. She tells of childhood hours in her grandmother's silk shop--and of hiding while French troops torched her village. She reveals the agonizing choices that split Vietnamese families: her eldest sister left their staunchly anti-communist home to join the Viet Minh and then spent months sleeping with her infant son in jungle camps, fearing air raids by day and tigers by night. And she follows several family members through the last, desperate hours of the fall of Saigon--including one nephew who tried to escape by grabbing the skid of a departing American helicopter.

Based on family papers, interviews, and much other research, this is not simply an unforgettable family saga--it's a record of how the Vietnamese have experienced their times. Often haunting, often heartbreaking, and always mesmerizing, this book will forever change how we view the history of Vietnam and our own role in it.


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