Literature by Vietnamese and Americans

 Selected Literature From Viet Nam

The following list offers compelling novels, short stories, and poetry by Vietnamese, American and Vietnamese-Americans. For useful and exciting individual stories and poems for high school and college classes, contact erbrill69@gmail.com

The Sorrow of War -  Bao Ninh.  A loving Hanoi youth comes of age in war’s agonies.

Past Continuous – Nguyen Khai. Intricacies of North Vietnamese strategies through multiple views: a Catholic priest, a secret agent, a female battlion commander.

Against The Flood – Ma Van Khang. Controversial novel of war and sexual politics.

Time Far Past – Le Luu. Rare in-depth view of a caring communist’s return from war.

She Weeps Each Time You’re Born - Quan Barry. A girl speaks with the dead who help her reconstruct routs of French and American armies towards a liberated Vietnam.

The Zenith – Duong Thuy Huong . Vietnam’s most controversial author poignantly shows the last days of Ho Chi Minh in a powerhouse, tumultuous story. Other fine works include Paradise of The Blind, No Man’s Land, Novel Without A Name, Memories of Spring, and Beyond Illusion. A gripping and fearless writer.

The Stars, The Earth, The River- Le Minh Khue.  A young bomb detonator finds love.

The Cemetery At Chua Village and Other Stories - Doan Le.  A leading feminist hilariously satires bureaucracy, including botched burials of generals and peasants.

The General Retires and Other Stories. Nguyen Huy Thiep. Postwar difficulties.

An Insignificant Family - Da Ngan. Complex story of war’s affect on families.

 The Reeducation of Cherry Truong –Aimee Pham. A Vietnamese-American woman goes to Vietnam to seek and discover decades-old family secrets.

Behind The Red Mist – Ho Anh Thai. One of Vietnam’s leading writers (He also wrote the novel Woman On The Island).

Distant Road - Nguyen Duy. A leading war and post-war poet.

The Secret of Hoa Sen – Nguyen Pham Que Mai. Vistas of healing, wounds to lotus.

The Time Tree - Huu Thinh.  Beautiful poems  blending everyday lives and legends.

 Women Carrying River Water- Nguyen Quan Thieu.  Celebrating Vietnam’s women.


Selected American Literature of The Viet Nam War

The Alleys of Eden – Robert Olen Butler. A soldier deserts with his Vietnamese lover.

Good Scent From An Enemy Mountain .  Robert Olen Butler. Pulitzer Prize winner.

The Gods Go Begging. Alfredo Vea. Double San Francisco murders, including a Vietnamese woman, force an attorney to revisit a horrific siege on a hill in Vietnam.

Indian Country- Phil Caputo. A wife watched her PTSD husband  wire his front yard.

Paco’s Story - Larry Heineman. A Latino private barely survives a hellish battle.

De Mojo Blues- A.R. Flowers. Three black soldiers are dishonorably discharged.

The People Of The Whale- Linda Hogan. An Indian war hero returns his medals.

The Things We Do To Make It Home- Beverly Gologorsky. War lives of vets’ wives.

In Country – Bobbie Ann Mason. A girl keeps a lookout on her haunted uncle.

In The Lake Of The Woods- Tim Obrien- Secret war horros quash a rising young politician’s career. (Also, The Things They Carried, sterling short stories).

Machine Dreams – Jayne Anne Phillilps. A sister tracks her brother at war.

Fire and Rain - Oswaldo Rivera. Racial tensions among Vietnam GIs explode.

Bloods- Walter Terry. These oral histories read like an intense suspense novel.

The Quiet American – Graham Greene. Too quiet? 1955 pub. date tells us what?

The Moon Reflected – Doug Anderson. Outstanding poems of the war, its aftermath.

Dien Cai Dau- Yusef Koumanyakaa.  Dynamic trenchant poems.

Human Shrapnel –Bill Shields – Astonishingly intense poems’ screaming jumps out.(

Playing Basketball With the Viet Cong- Kevin Bowen. One of the best titles EVER.

Obscenities- Michael Casey. Pithy, blunt. Yale Younger Poets Prize 1971. Deserved

Song of Napalm –Bruce Weigl.  Searing poems of the war.



 A lifelong civil rights and antiwar writer and activist, Ernie Brill is the author of I Looked Over Jordan And Other Stories  He has pioneered global literature curriculum.

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