Long-time Việt Nam bloggers will remember Doug Young's blog, Virtual-Doug. He wrote extensively and beautifully about Việt Nam when he lived in Huế for a year and a half in 2005-2006. Since then, he and his wife Cindy have returned to Việt Nam several times, and Doug has accumulated a collection of beautiful photographs as well as experiences. He has continued to write about Việt Nam people and culture on his blog through the subsequent years from his retirement home in Texas, USA. Doug and Cindy also brought Việt Nam to their home by sponsoring a couple of Vietnamese young people to attend nearby graduate schools in Texas. Over the past few years, Doug has given us an opportunity in his blog to hear about the reactions of these young Vietnamese to life and culture in America.
Doug and Cindy are both veterans of the Vietnam War (known as the American War in Việt Nam), and Doug has been been exploring the misconceptions most Americans have accumulated about Việt Nam due to the long-held memories and media coverage of the war. Few veterans have written about Việt Nam as a country and as a people. Meanwhile Việt Nam has changed substantially as a modern developing country. Doug has filled that breech with a well-written book now available on Amazon. The book is titled Same River, Different Water: A Veteran's Journey from Vietnam to Viet Nam. The book also contains Doug's many beautiful color photographs, so it is not available in digital formats, such as Kindle.
Vietnam is defined by the war in American eyes. Việt Nam is the real country and its people, changed far beyond the war. Following is a review I contributed to the book's page on Amazon:
Same River, Different Water: A Veteran's Journey from Vietnam to Viet Nam is not a book about the Vietnam War (referred to as the American War in Viet Nam). Nor is it a collection of war stories. Rather, it is written by an American Vietnam War veteran to help change American perceptions derived from the Vietnam War, and to point us towards the modern developing country of Viet Nam. This is a book about American people and culture in relation to Vietnamese people and culture.
Douglas Young is an excellent writer, and he uses insightful stories to help us get beyond our old memories of the Vietnam war, and see a very much changed Viet Nam. Doug and his wife Cindy spent a year and a half living and teaching in Viet Nam, and they bring to us a Viet Nam most Americans either would not think about or imagine. Using beautiful photographs and excellent writing, they use their experiences there as a means to show the misconceptions Americans share, and how much Viet Nam has changed beyond those misconceptions.
Doug Young shows us that Viet Nam is a place worth returning to, visiting, or living in.
I highly recommend purchasing and reading this book, because it opens our eyes beyond the stereotypes we may have accumulated because of the war or our western culture.