GIAI PHONG: The Fall and Liberation of Saigon by Tiziano Terzani

GIAI PHONG: The Fall and Liberation of Saigon

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Enthusiastic about South Vietnamese independence from the Americans (the title means ""liberation of the south""), Der Spiegel correspondent Terzani gives an eyewitness account of the April 1975 chaos as local officials and hangers-on tried to bribe their way out of a Saigon surrounded by revolutionary forces, the US sowed rumors of impending massacre, and all services collapsed. When the insurgent army took over--mostly country boys bemused by Saigon--families were reunited, Vier Cong came out of hiding or ""cover,"" and the city's Playboy-rock culture gave way to concerts of Vietnamese and classical music. Terzani claims the new authorities relied on patient, gradual measures and local self-organization to administer a city rampant with emotion and short of necessary goods. He underlines the substitution of ""reeducation"" for forcible vengeance, even where high officials were concerned. Autobiographies of revolutionary leaders--some purportedly descended from generations of independence fighters--are included as well as a visit to delta villages where revolutionary rule had prevailed de facto before April. Written at a fast montage clip, the book is coherent, forceful, and frank about its partisan and subjective elements. The first such report of a historic turning point.

Pub Date: April 30th, 1976
Publisher: St. Martin's