Monday, March 09, 2009

Tales of socialist re-education book online

To be made over: tales of socialist re-education in Vietnam, edited and translated by the late Huynh Sanh Thong, is now available online, in PDF format. This book is a collection of stories and memoirs by writers from the former South Vietnam, many of them well-known, focusing on the experience of daily life in these harsh camps. The camps were set up in 1975 to round up hundreds of thousands of former military officers, political officials, party leaders, religious leaders, writers, journalists and others who were presumed to represent a threat to the regime; most were released after a few years but some stayed as long as 15 years before their release. This book was published in 1988, by then it was clear that the camps failed the central stated purpose: to transform the inmates into "new socialist men".

This book is available online as part of the Yale University Council on Southeast Asia's Lac Viet series because it is no longer in print. For a listing of other books available click here. The most well known book from this series is Hoa Dia Nguc - Flowers from Hell, by Nguyen Chi Thien, edited and translated by Huynh Sanh Thong. This is a bilingual collection of searing poems written about the experience of imprisonment in political imprisonment and the re-education camps of northern Vietnam by Thien, who was imprisoned for most of the time between 1958-1978.


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