Book-a-Day #Giveaway Featuring Author Mai Donohue


Leave a comment on today’s post and you’re eligible to win this author’s giveaway. Each day in November that you comment gives you an entry into the Grand Prize giveaway at the end of the month! (Print copies for US residents only, please. If you live outside the US and win, you’ll receive a digital copy of the book.)

Crossing the Bamboo Bridge

This vivid, compulsively readable memoir of courage, grief and redemption illuminates the life of Mai, a young girl from Vietnam’s rice fields, who risks everything to escape poverty, abuse and war. Her battle is not against soldiers but against her neighbors and a thousand years of tradition. Born during Ho Chi Minh’s revolution against the French, she was just a baby when his followers in the village, out of spite, came to her home one night and murdered the men in the family, driving her mother mad with fear and rage.

She was fourteen when her mother forced her to marry and have a child with a brutal man who beat and tortured her, finally leaving her for dead beside the road. Recovered, she ran away with her infant son, only to discover there was no place for them. To save her baby’s life, she returned home in disgrace, only to face the Viet Cong. In desperation she escaped again, leaving her child in safety, she thought.

On Saigon’s deadly streets, with no identity papers, she became an outlaw, hiding from her ex-husband, grieving for her lost child. Homeless, penniless and pursued, only her dream of freedom kept her alive. Then one day she would meet a saintly woman, who gave her hope, and an Irish-American naval officer, who gave her love.

Crossing the Bamboo Bridge is a tale of mothers and daughters, and of their children. It is a tale of war, and grief, and a young girl’s dreams. It is a stunning epiphany of hope where there is none, of courage in the face of despair, of love, respect and freedom.

“A captivating story of a young Vietnamese girl who resisted all odds and realized a true American dream. Movies are made about women like Mai Donohue.” (Chris Morrow, co-author of the New York Times bestsellers Do You, Super Rich, and Take Back your Family)

To know more about Mai, please watch this video, made by her daughter Maeve.

Mai Donohue

Mai Donohue is a writer, beloved home cook, and retired educator of special needs students. After leaving Vietnam in 1970 she and her husband Brian settled in Barrington, Rhode Island. They have seven children and thirteen grandchildren. Mai holds a B.A. from the University of Rhode Island, an accomplishment that was the culmination of more than twelve years of study. Mai is known in her community for supporting various charitable causes with her delicious Vietnamese cooking. A PBS short documentary about Mai’s life was nominated for a New England Emmy award in 2006. More information about Mai can be found at her website 
Mai is giving away a print copy of Crossing the Bamboo Bridgeall you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post!
Hope to see you on Saturday, December 1 at the RI Author Expo!

 

 

#AtoZ 1968 – “V” is for Vietnam


“You’re going to get a concept that maybe this really is one world and why the hell can’t we learn to live together like decent people.” ~ Astronaut Frank Borman, on seeing the entire earth from outer space as he and the crew of the Apollo 8 returned from orbiting the moon.

Vietnam 2

It would be impossible to write anything about 1968 without including Vietnam. More than 3 million people were killed (including over 58,000 Americans). The war bitterly divided Americans.

The series by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick is worth watching, as it details the history (back to the end of World War II) that led up to the conflict, and has interviews with those who fought and those who opposed it.

By 1962, the United States military presence in South Vietnam had reached some 9,000 troops, compared with fewer than 800 during the 1950s. By June of 1965, 82,000 combat troops were stationed in Vietnam, and by November 1967, the number of American troops there was approaching 500,000.

Class was always the domestic issue during the Vietnam War, not communism. ~ John Gregory Dunne

Vietnam

By March 1968, Johnson promised to seek a peaceful resolution to the conflict. Peace talks opened in May 1968 but soon reached an impasse.

I covered the Vietnam War. I remember the lies that were told, the lives that were lost – and the shock when, twenty years after the war ended, former Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara admitted he knew it was a mistake all along. ~ Walter Cronkite

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BONUS MUSIC!

Here’s the #6 song from Billboard’s Year-End Top 100 Singles of 1968

“Sunshine of Your Love” by Cream

#AtoZ 1968 – “P” is for Phoenix Program


“You’re going to get a concept that maybe this really is one world and why the hell can’t we learn to live together like decent people.” ~ Astronaut Frank Borman, on seeing the entire earth from outer space as he and the crew of the Apollo 8 returned from orbiting the moon.

Phoenix_Program_(edit)

What you see above is the Vietnamese Phụng Hoàng, a word related to fenghuang, the Chinese phoenix. The Phoenix Program was designed and carried out by the US Central Intelligence Agency, with assistance from other governmental agencies and units.

The program was designed to identify and destroy the Viet Cong by means of infiltration, capture, interrogation, and assassination. The CIA described it as “a set of programs that sought to attack and destroy the political infrastructure of the Viet Cong.” Regional units within the program would capture suspected Viet Cong, as well as civilians who were thought to have information on Viet Cong activities. Many of these people who were captured were tortured in an attempt to gain intelligence. By 1972, Phoenix operatives had “neutralized” 81,740 suspected Viet Cong operatives, informants, and supporters. David Valentine wrote a book about the Phoenix Program, after gaining the confidence of former CIA Director William Colby and getting access to former agents. But when Valentine’s book was published, and the CIA learned that Valentine was not sympathetic to their crimes in Vietnam, the CIA used its influence with the New York Times to effectively kill the book. Valentine’s book is available at Amazon

“For it seems now more certain than ever, that the bloody experience of Vietnam is to end in a stalemate. To say that we are closer to victory today is to believe in the face of the evidence, the optimists who have been wrong in the past.” —Walter Cronkite in an editorial at the close of the CBS Evening News broadcast on February 27, 1968 reporting on what he had learned on a trip to Vietnam in the aftermath of the Tet Offensive.

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BONUS MUSIC!

Here’s the #21 song from Billboard’s Year-End Top 100 Singles of 1968

“The Horse” by Cliff Nobles

#AtoZ 1968 – “E” is for Execution (Viet Cong)


“You’re going to get a concept that maybe this really is one world and why the hell can’t we learn to live together like decent people.” ~ Astronaut Frank Borman, on seeing the entire earth from outer space as he and the crew of the Apollo 8 returned from orbiting the moon.

Execution
photograph by Eddie Adams/Associated Press

If there was ever a photo that brought the brutality of war onto the front page of a newspaper, this was it.

In this photo, Brigadier General Nguyễn Ngoc Loan, the police chief of South Vietnam, walks up to a prisoner, Nguyễn Văn Lém, and fires a bullet into his head. In the middle of the street.

Nguyễn Văn Lém was a member of the Viet Cong and was responsible for killing the wife and six children of a South Vietnamese military officer. He admitted that he was proud  to carry out his unit leader’s order to kill. Adams’s photograph was broadcast worldwide, and helped to galvanize the anti-war movement. Eddie Adams won a 1969 Pulitzer Prize for his photograph.

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BONUS MUSIC!

Here’s the #78 song on Billboard’s Year-End Top 100 Singles of 1968

“Revolution” by The Beatles