Nu: A Real-life Account of Two Teachers, One Vietnamese and One American, in a Small Town in the Central Highlands of Vietnam from 1967 To 1969
There are many misconceptions about Vietnam. There is much more to Vietnam than we have been told on the evening network news or by Hollywood. For our soldiers, Vietnam was a frightening, mysterious place after the sun set. This book will show a very different Vietnam, from the perspective of schoolteachers who lived on a farm in the Central Highlands of Vietnam.
One common misconception of Vietnam was that the Viet Cong were all Communists. In truth, the Viet Cong were not "one big happy family of Communists," but were in as much disarray as the Saigon government. Some were indeed Communist, but others were Capitalist, and considered themselves "Nationalists." Some wanted to see North and South Vietnam united, and some wanted simply to rid themselves of a corrupt and tyrannical Saigon regime. This fact comes into sharp focus when Viet Cong Finance and Justice Minister, Truong Nhu Tang contacts Nu and Jim.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - JPodlaski - LibraryThing
Nu takes place during the Vietnam war, but it is not a war story. James Flannery is a school teacher seeking work, and the area around An Khe, in the central highlands, came highly recommended. He ... Read full review
Written By Bernie Weisz Vietnam Historian December 28, 2010 Pembroke Pines, Fl contact: BernWei1@aol.com Title of Review: "The Supreme Challenge: Teaching in South Vietnam in 1968 without classrooms, few books, no blackboards nor electricity!" I have read scoreless memoirs of men unenthusiastically going to S.E. Asia, reluctantly drafted to fight in the swamp and mosquito infested jungles of Vietnam, or to Thailand, flying B-52 Bombers to bomb Vietnam's Communists back into the Stone Age. All had one thing in common: counting the days where they could catch their "Freedom Bird" so they could go "Back to The World." Jim Flannery had it backwards. Not only did he go to South Vietnam on his own volition, he enjoyed every minute of it, and had it not been for the threat of a North Vietnamese battalion searching for him, he would have stayed! This occurred at the height of the conflict, 1967 to 1969, considered to be the apex of this war. Living with an indigent Vietnamese family on a farm for two years, Flannery embodied U.S. President often used cliche "winning the hearts and minds of the people" by attempting to teach 600 students in the most rudimentary conditions imaginable. Chronicled in "Nu", Flannery describes his endeavors to inculcate indigenous students lacking a school building, funding, electricity or bathroom facilities. Anytime a teacher feels he or she has it rough, it would be wise to give this well written account of Flannery's to do the impossible: teach up to a thousand students with one teacher besides himself lacking books, money and school supplies, with an ever present threat of being attacked by an aggressive, war mongering North Vietnamese Army constantly posing a threat. This is the first memoir or history book I have encountered that asserts that most Viet Cong were capitalists, only desiring to oust the corrupt South Vietnamese government by whatever means. However, investigation of the facts supports the material in this book. Saigon was led by the French-educated Catholic, Ngo Dinh Diem, becoming "America's man" in Vietnam. Diem and his family quickly lost favor. His brother, Ngo Dinh Nhu, headed the security forces of South Vietnam and operated in a repressive and coercive manner. His outspoken wife, Madame Nhu, added to the controversy.America's Miracle Man in Vietnam: Ngo Dinh Diem, Religion, Race, and U.S. Intervention in Southeast Asia (American Encounters/Global Interactions) Troung Nhu Tang's claims are verified historically, as newspapers were shut down, opposition political parties were banned, and criticism of the Diem government resulted in arrest, particularly among students. Diem, Nhu and other members of his family were Catholic and their base lay in the Catholic population of South Vietnamese cities such as Saigon. The majority of the population, however, was Buddhist. Buddhist celebrations were prohibited and a series of attacks were launched on their pagodas. The "Buddhist Uprising" gained widespread publicity as a number of Buddhist monks engaged in the deadly protest of self-immolation. Incredulously, Madame Nhu dismissed these protests and was quoted in the press as calling them nothing but "Buddhist barbecues." Deteriorating, the situation in the minds of the U.S. decision makers, was growing intolerable. On November 1, 1963, elements of South Vietnamese military, with U.S. "encouragement" and promises of support for the new regime, staged a coup d'etat. Diem and his brother Nhu were captured and executed. The South Vietnamese formed a new government, headed by General Duong Van "Big" Minh. The situation in Vietnam inherited by Johnson, J.F.K's successor after his assassination, grew increasingly unstable. The government of South Vietnam became "coup central" with seven changes in the military government during Johnson's first year in office. It did not improve under the administration of President Nguyen Van Thieu who at one point