The Sacred Willow : Four Generations in the Life of a Vietnamese Family: Four Generations in the Life of a Vietnamese Family

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Oxford University Press, USA, Feb 27, 1999 - History - 544 pages
21 Reviews
Duong Van Mai Elliott's The Sacred Willow, an extraordinary narrative woven from the lives of four generations of her family, illuminates fascinating--and until now unexplored--strands of Vietnamese history. Beginning with her great-grandfather, who rose from rural poverty to become an influential mandarin, and continuing to the present, Mai Elliott traces her family's journey through an era of tumultuous change. She tells us of childhood hours in her grandmother's silk shop--and of hiding while French troops torched her village, watching blossoms torn by fire from the trees flutter "like hundreds of butterflies" overhead. She reveals the agonizing choices that split Vietnamese families: her eldest sister left her staunchly anti-communist home to join the Viet Minh, and 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, dozens of interviews, and a wealth of other research, this is not only a memorable family saga, but a record of how the Vietnamese themselves have experienced their times. At times haunting, at times heartbreaking--it is always mesmerizing--The Sacred Willow will forever change how we view the history of Vietnam and our own role in it.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - VioletBramble - LibraryThing

A family history and memoir. Full of information and family stories. It's a long book that feels longer than it's 544 pages. There are just so many stories, maybe too many stories. For example, the ... Read full review

Review: The Sacred Willow: Four Generations in the Life of a Vietnamese Family

User Review  - VLT - Goodreads

When I first opened this book, it seemed dry. But then I found I could not put it down. This book will sweep away any preconceptions that you might have about Vietnam, based on our very myopic ... Read full review

Contents

A Burial in the Night
1
Shut Gate and High Walls
33
The Silk Merchant
51
French Veneer Confucian Soul
67
Taxes Floods and Robbers
81
The Third Month in the Year of the Famine
101
The Head on the Roof
135
Into the Resistance Zone
155
The New Mecca
271
Just Cause
299
Short Peace Long War
335
Flying into the Unknown
371
The Spoils of Victory
403
The Hours of Gold and Jade
460
Across the Four Seas
461
Bibliography
473

Poison and Bribes
187
The Fall of a Border Garrison
213
Sifting Through the Rubble
241

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Page xv - A book of this scope could not have been written without the generous help of many people.

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