A Gracious Enemy by Michael Kramer
A Gracious Enemy by Michael Kramer is a book about historical recount of wars in Southeast Asia, mostly Vietnam.
The book’s full story, of the three Indochina Wars, including warts and all. The first was the Indochinese People fighting against the French colonists and their suppliers and allies from the USA. The second was the people of Indochina (Cambodia, Laos & Vietnam) fighting against an allied coalition force made up of Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Thailand, South Vietnam and the USA. The Second Indochina War is usually referred to as the Vietnam War. This book examines the re-adjustment of Vietnamese society after the uprising of the Tay Son Brothers in 1770, their stopping of the Trin and Nguyen families oppression of the Vietnamese people. The coming of the Catholic Church and how this affected the people is examined. As well the activities of Pineau de Bahrain, who was a missionary and the Bishop of Adran – he did much to ensure the French takeover of the majority of South East Asia. That was followed by the French takeover and full colonisation and rule by France. To better control the people, the French forbade the use of Chinese characters in writing and transcribed the entire Vietnamese language into the Latin alphabet, which was then taught in all schools. During WW2, for the first time, Asian People could see that the Caucasian People (White men) could be beaten, That resulted in the First Indochina War which ended with the French defeat at Dien Bien Phu. The Second Indochina War ended in 1975 with the withdrawal of the last American soldier from Vietnam. The Third Indochina War ended when the Vietnamese Army invaded Kampuchea, resulting in Vietnamese tanks entering its capital while the Pol Pot administration fled into the jungle.
With a total of 501 pages, I managed to read this book day after day, in a few weeks time. From this book, and thanks to the author – I got to know another country’s history. The author combines fictional dialog and history narrative to tell his story. The story weaves through history in a captivating way that made the book hard to put down.
I quite enjoyed this book – A Gracious Enemy and it’s truly a history resource. Not only, but it has a lot going for it, decent plot and generally a very good read. If you like war stories, and history, and a good read – this should be your next reading book.
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