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Available August 2014
Mourning Headband for Hue: An Account of the Battle for Hue, Vietnam 1968by Nha Ca
Synopses & Reviews
Vietnam, January, 1968. As the citizens of Hue are preparing to celebrate Tet, the start of the Lunar New Year, Nha Ca arrives in the city to attend her father's funeral. Without warning, war erupts all around them, drastically changing or cutting short their lives. After a month of fighting, their beautiful city lies in ruins and thousands of people are dead. Mourning Headband for Hue tells the story of what happened during the fierce North Vietnamese offensive and is an unvarnished and riveting account of war as experienced by ordinary people caught up in the violence.
"First published in 1969, this searing eyewitness account of the fighting in the Vietnamese city of Hue during the 1968 Tet Offensive is republished here in a new translation with a long introduction and annotated footnotes. In late January of 1968, the 30-year-old Ca, a well-known Vietnamese writer living in the U.S., was visiting family in the beautiful former imperial city for Tet, the Lunar New Year holiday. On January 31, the first night of Tet, the North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong invaded Hue, holding the city for nearly a month. Civilians were caught in the cross fire after American Marines and South Vietnamese forces counterattacked. Adding to the horror, the invading forces summarily executed as many as 2,800 men and women who worked for the South Vietnamese government and the Americans, or were otherwise suspected of being ideologically impure. Ca relates countless moments of terror she and her extended family members suffered and shares stories told to her by others who faced similarly dire circumstances. It's an intimate — and disturbing — account of war at its most brutal, told from the point of view of civilians trying to survive the maelstrom. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Nha Ca, meaning a "courteous, elegant song" or "canticle" in Vietnamese, is the penname of one of the most famous South Vietnamese writers of the second half of the 20th century, whose real name is Tran Thị Thu Van. She was born in Hue in 1939 and spent her youth there before moving to Saigon where she became a popular and prolific writer and poet. Initially her works focused on love but starting from the mid-1960s in many of her works she began to describe the fighting, atrocities, and suffering inflicted by the war that was ravaging her country. The most significant and famous of these works is Mourning Headband for Hue, which describes the experience of Vietnamese civilians in Hue during the Tet Offensive. This work was one of the winners of South Vietnam's Presidential Literary Award. After the fall of Saigon in 1975, the Communist authorities put Nha Ca into a prison camp where she remained from 1976 to 1977. Her husband, the poet Tran Dạ Tu, was jailed for twelve years. In 1989, a year after he was released from prison, the couple and their family received political asylum from the Swedish government. Later they moved to the United States and now live in Southern California, where they publish the Vietnamese-language newspaper Viet Bao.
Born and raised in Leningrad, USSR, Olga Dror received an MA in Oriental studies from Leningrad State University in 1987 and later pursued an advanced degree from the Institute for Linguistic Studies in the Academy of Sciences, Moscow. She worked for Radio Moscow's Department of Broadcasting to Vietnam. In 1990 she immigrated to Israel, studied international relations at Hebrew University, and worked for the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs in its embassy in Riga, Latvia, from 1994 to 1996. She continued her study of Vietnam and earned a PhD from Cornell University in 2003. Now an associate professor of history at Texas A&M University, she is author of Cult, Culture, and Authority: Princess Lieu Hanh in Vietnamese History and editor of two volumes on Vietnamese and Chinese religions. Her current research concerns the identities of Vietnamese children during the war in Vietnam.
Table of Contents
Note on Translation
Small Preface: Writing to Admit Guilt
1. First Hours
2. The Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer
4. On a Boat Trip
5. A Person from Tu Dam Comes Back and Tells His Story
6. Going Back into the Hell of the Fighting
7. Story from the Citadel
8. Returning to the Old House
9. A Dog in Midstream
10. Little Child of, Hue Little Child of Vietnam, I Wish You Luck!
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