Sunday, March 04, 2007

The NLF interviews

There are banned books, there are burned books, and then there are buckshot books. The books here have some buckshot in them from a military attack on the U.S. Embassy during the 1968 Tet Offensive. Of course, that was not the main purpose of the raid, they were likely stray gunfire, but in any case it is an interesting piece of memorabilia. These are among 52 volumes of interviews conducted by the Rand Corporation and U.S. officials in South Vietnam during the war in Vietnam, with captured or defecting National Liberation Front soldiers. They were brought to the U.C. Berkeley library with the final closure of the UCB Indochina Center this last year. Very few libraries have these volumes, and among those that do, most have them in microfilm. For anyone doing research on the NLF and life in general in Vietnam during this time, they are very valuable primary source materials. They were originally assembled by Douglas Pike (my former supervisor) while he was a U.S. Foreign Service officer in Vietnam and brought to Berkeley when he retired from government in 1981 and brought his materials to U.C. Berkeley. He had intended to take the volumes with him when he moved to the Vietnam Center at Texas Tech in 1997 but was prevented from doing so. Mr. Pike passed away in 2002, but these volumes are among the many items, including his prolific writings, that will carry on his legacy. The books in the photos will be repaired before shelving in the main stacks of our library here at U.C. Berkeley.


At 5:15 PM , Anonymous Max P. Friedman said...

Any of the RAND interviews with VC POWs or "Chieu Hoi" are well worth reading. I interviewed VC ralliers, PAVN officer/defectors, and captured PAVN (in Cambodia). If you asked the right questions, you would be surprised at what they will tell you.

I would suggest that these volumes be scanned and put on the library's internet site.

Doug Pike was a friend of mine, and a big inspiration for the study Dave Martin and I did for the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee, Sen. Judiciary Com., "The Human Cost of Communism in Vietnam", 1972.


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