When I was a kid in the 1960s, Vietnam loomed large. It was a war that none of the adults around me seemed able to explain.

In those days there were only three television networks and each recorded the grim progress of American involvement in Vietnam with what became a familiar lexicon: the Viet Cong, the DMZ, Da Nang, Saigon, Hanoi, My Lai, ‘Charlie’, the Iron Triangle, Khe Sahn. 

In 1975 the North Vietnamese army entered Saigon, marking the war’s end and the reunification of the country. A quarter century later, I visited Vietnam, hoping to gain insight into the war and its aftermath from the Vietnamese perspective. (more…)