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Last Night I Dreamed of Peace: The Diary of Dang Thuy Tram
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Last Night I Dreamed of Peace: The Diary of Dang Thuy Tram

3.52  ·  Rating Details ·  916 Ratings  ·  139 Reviews
“Remarkable. . . . A gift from a heroine who was killed at twenty-seven but whose voice has survived to remind us of the humanity and decency that endure amid—and despite—the horror and chaos of war.”
—Francine Prose, O, The Oprah Magazine

Brutally honest and rich in detail, this posthumously published diary of a twenty-seven-year-old Vietcong woman doctor, saved from destru
...more
Paperback, Reprint, 256 pages
Published October 7th 2008 by Broadway Books (first published 2005)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Bennet
This book broke my heart. It's not the first account I've read of a young woman in war, or in this war, but it's the first diary, and just the idea of keeping a diary in the middle of a war gets to me.

But first a note about how this book came to be, from the cover copy: The American officer who discovered the diary soon after Dr. Tram’s death was under standing orders to destroy all documents without military value. As he was about to toss it into the flames, his Vietnamese translator said to h
...more
Kim M-M
Oct 23, 2008 Kim M-M rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
the last entry in her diary seemed particularly poignant. her last words tot he world... and she didn't know it. I kept thinking about her mother, and how she felt reading the diary years after Dang's death. Dang would read their letters and write responses to people in her diary, things she didn't tell them in her letters. such love she had. If she didn't like anyone, she wouldn't name them, but spoke about their actions. and those she loved, she always carried in her thoughts. such a loving ca ...more
Angela
Apr 20, 2008 Angela rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: history buffs, Vietnam War scholars, etc.
Shelves: memoir-of-a-sort
What I've noticed about most of the reviews of this book... is that they all mention the story of how the diary came to be published. They call that story interesting, intriguing, fascinating. And then there's the diary, where I see the words repetetive and never meant for publication mentioned a lot.

Basically, people don't want to give this a bad review because it is what it is. The story of a girl who died in the medical service of her country during the Vietnam War.

Maybe I don't have enough k
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Erin
Nov 04, 2012 Erin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It’s possible the diary of Thuy Tran, a Vietnamese doctor serving in the National Liberation Front army, is a good read in Vietnamese. In English it is… terrible. I tried hard to remind myself of the real life behind the narrative voice, of the fear and sacrifice, of her youth… but despite the evocative form (reading a diary feels like - maybe because it is? - an invasion) the writing is so terrible it’s distracting. I appreciate, too, that Thuy wasn’t a writer by trade and so my expectations fo ...more
William Graney
Apr 07, 2009 William Graney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The whole story of how this diary came to publication is very interesting and reading the diary is an experience I highly recommend.
Since it wasn't written with the intention of publication it can be choppy and repetitious at times as Thuy worked through her feelings towards war, love, family and her ethical code. Yet her constant self-examination and her evaluation of character traits in others cast light on the soul of someone who was very introspective and the philosophical closings of many
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Terry
Sep 14, 2009 Terry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This 'little' book impacted me....and potentially a few other people in this world....like no other. This is the diary of a young, idealistic doctor who worked, not near, but in the precise location where I was in Viet Nam....at precisely the same time I was in Viet Nam....when she talks about the 'devil Americans'....that's ME! As I read the diary entries I realized, the day I arrived in Viet Nam was nearing....then I arrived....then I traveled to the small LZ north of Quang Ngai....then she wa ...more
Sandra D
Aug 05, 2008 Sandra D rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, vietnam-war, women
Overwrought and gushingly emotional diary of a young female surgeon. I had hoped for a more straightforward accounting of life within the Viet Cong support system -- what American forces were up against -- but this wasn't it. I couldn't finish it.
Larry Bassett
Jun 07, 2011 Larry Bassett rated it liked it
Shelves: war, memoir
The excellent fifteen page introduction by Frances Fitzgerald of Last Night I Dreamed of Peace contains some incisive observations about the book, its meaning and its history and its origins. The book itself is a diary, an interior monologue by the main character Dang Thuy Tram, a mid twenty-something woman who is a new doctor in the midst of the war in Vietnam. Her job is to care for wounded Viet Cong soldiers just below the seventeenth parallel that divides the North and the South. She is surr ...more
Tien
Jan 07, 2017 Tien rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An incredibly lucky find when researching for a reading challenge task. I was looking for a non-fiction book set in South East Asia (excluding Indonesia) that has been translated to English. You know Anne Frank & her diary? Well, this is also a diary by a girl, a young adult in her early 20s. She may be a communist but she is also a person, a human who bled red with a breakable heart and beautiful dreams. As I read her most intimate thoughts, my heart broke for her over and over. This is onl ...more
Phuong
Dec 29, 2009 Phuong rated it really liked it
It's difficult to contain emotions-mine through hers. The diary hits me personally. I was born to the lullaby of this war. I grew up witnessing its savagery engulfing lives & humanity... Indeed, the diary has the fire within. Her words are raw & achingly vivid as she accounts amid the atrocities, annihilation & dehumanization of war the very core of human conditions, existence & veracity. Fate did deny her life. But chances & choices, death can't deny her. Her voice echoes et ...more
Pio
Oct 21, 2013 Pio rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: vietnamese
Một quyển sách ướt sũng, ấy là nếu có thể chuyển hóa cảm xúc trong quyển này thành nước.
Laura (booksnob)
Dang Thuy Tram was a doctor who lived and worked in Vietnam during the war. She left her family, became a member of the communist party and worked to heal members of the Vietcong army. During the Vietnam war Thuy kept a diary and wrote down her thoughts, her emotions and the daily tribulations of living and working during a war. She relates some of the history of Vietnam, the conflict with the French and her wish for peace and freedom. Only one diary out of three survives.

Dr. Tram is shot and ki
...more
+Chaz
Jul 31, 2008 +Chaz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who are not followers
Recommended to +Chaz by: National Public Radio
It seems that the more we understand our enemy, the more we see them functioning in their daily lives, the harder it is to kill them. Perhaps that is why we dehumanize them; how sad. Ms. Tram’s diary of living under a jungle canopy in the middle of a battle field is almost as eye opening for the Vietnam War, as “All Quite on The Western Front,” was for WWI and “The Diary of Ann Franks” during WWII. A young lady, a doctor gladly volunteering to serve her country to care for her wounded countrymen ...more
Kathie
Dec 31, 2008 Kathie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: truly-awful
I so wanted to read this book, being fascinated with everything Vietnam War....but was exceptionally disappointed. This person, (a doctor for heaven's sake!) did nothing but whine and pine for an unrequited love like a 12 year old school girl....I hated all of it!
David
Nov 21, 2015 David rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-memoir
In my sight, candor is always refreshing, even if the intended audience is only yourself. This educated, 25-year-old woman – although a doctor in extremely primitive circumstances and surrounded (view spoiler) by death – worried about what people thought about her, refrained from displays of affection in public for fear colleagues would whisper, felt the organization for which she worked sometimes failed to appreciate her for unfair reasons, was sometim ...more
Tim
Dec 27, 2008 Tim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I only rated this 3 stars - probably because it was, after all, two full years worth of diary entries. After the first 150 entries, one is reminded that this is a diary ...

However, the larger story is very provocative and the context becomes 5 star material. A young woman doctor from the North travels to the South to be a part of the medical teams in the war zone supporting the Viet Cong - our term - fellow Vietnamese, her term. She loves her country, both north and south, and was willing (volun
...more
Laurie
Oct 14, 2008 Laurie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stephen
Apr 14, 2013 Stephen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
After reading twenty or so pages of this diary I got the idea that it was written by a highly idealistic, overly-romantic young girl, and the rest of the book became too repetitive to offer further interest. It was only in the last few months of her life, as the US forces zoned in on her location that her writings changed enough to hold interest again. Overall, the diary is a worthy war artifact, and Thuy Tram's writing is accomplished, but I didn't find it satisfying in the way one expects of a ...more
Eustacia Tan
Finally finished another book for the SEAReadingChallenge! This book is from Vietnam and it's the first non-fiction book that I've read for the challenge. Last Night I Dreamed Of Peace is a diary written by a young (27 when she died, only slightly older than me!) Vietnamese doctor as she worked in the front lines during the Vietnam War.

I think this is my favourite book of the challenge so far! Dang Thuy Tram is an introspective woman and she writes extremely movingly about what she sees and expe
...more
Rachel
Mar 30, 2008 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Asia buffs
Recommended to Rachel by: Susan Farkas
Shelves: asia
The found diary of a young Vietnamese woman this book seems to lie on the cusp between memoir and autobiography (if there is such a place). Written during the Vietnam war and later rescued from a pile of documents to be burned, it tells of haunting moments throughout the conflict with the US, the pain of loss, and the tender memories of family and love. The prose alternates between the romanticism that only a young revolutionary could convey and more straightforward explanations of the enemy enc ...more
Maureen
Jul 08, 2014 Maureen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: partially-read
I have tried twice to read this book, and twice found myself not really wanting to pick it up again once I set it down.

I don't blame the author- who writes their journal entries assuming they'll be published for everyone to read? I have just found the style of writing, and the author herself to be a little overly dramatic and overdone for my taste. I was hoping for an insightful glimpse into a war that I don't feel I know enough about, from the perspective of a Vietnam citizen. While politics a
...more
Young
I had high hopes for this book because I don't see a whole lot of novels or memoirs written by Vietnamese authors about the Vietnam War and this was one of the few I found. It is a very slow read for me. I'm having a hard time with the poetic nature of the book. Additionally, I find little substance regarding the war and the history of the war. The monotonous overtone of this person's reflection about herself and the men that she nurtured is a bit boring. I'm half way through the book and I find ...more
Monica
May 01, 2011 Monica rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dh-book-club
This book is just diary entries and therefore very difficult to follow. Much of the time you are having to refer to the footnote to get a back story. I wish they would have put in some background information. I could not finish the book so I really have no idea how it all ended up.
Angela
Oct 19, 2007 Angela rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Ok i must admit that i did not finish this book. It was really a hard read. I know that it is someone diary so it will not be like most books but this one really jumped around a lot. she would be writing in first person then in mid sentence she would jump to third person.
Lynne
Sep 17, 2009 Lynne rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, audiobooks
I was hoping for more details about her life working as a doctor in North Vietnam and less repetitive waxing about her position in the Communist Party.
Teri Temme
Apr 30, 2016 Teri Temme rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. Powerful and moving account of a young Doctor in Vietnam - 1966 - 1970 (her death).
Signe Møllskov
got the book while travelling in Vietnam.
The diary of a young woman trying to survive the struggle of war. Its sad. And you read it with the knowledge that she dieds before the war ends. She is very dedicated to her work as a doctor in a jungle clinic. And very dedicated to the goal of getting peace in the country.
A lot of footnotes help understaning some of the places and persons mentioned.
...more
nanto
Sep 29, 2009 nanto marked it as wishlist-‎a-k-a-buku-buruan  ·  review of another edition
Membaca diary seseorang sepertinya serasa membuka kotak pandora. Ruang privat yang teramat dalam, namun kini terbuka. Ketika itu terjadi dari sosok pribadi yang hidup di negara dengan filosofi politik yang didomonasi oleh kuatnya nilai komunal, tak pelak perlu kecurigaan. Apakah ini semacam propaganda? Sejauh mana pribadi itu bersuara? Apakah diari itu semacam escaping room bagi penulisnya dikarenakan tulisannya dipenuhi hal-hal yang tabu atau mengundang antipati publik?

Lagipun ada juga terbitan
...more
Danielle McGrath
It's difficult to review this book because it's the personal diary of a young woman and it was never meant to be published. I imagine if she knew it would be published she would have done a lot differently.

However, if you are considering reading this, here is my advice to you.

1) Even though Thuy is in the midst of war, she writes about the things that concern the hearts of most young women in their 20's - family, friends, relationships, self image, and true love. That being said, if you're looki
...more
Jen Ashburn
Jun 30, 2012 Jen Ashburn rated it liked it
I'm a bit conflicted about reviewing this book. This is a diary of a North Vietnam doctor who was killed in the U.S./Vietnam war. It was a personal document never intended for publication, so I feel commentary about the author's writing style is a little uncalled for. But, it was a little hard to follow, especially with all the references to second younger brother, third younger brother, etc., which, according to the footnotes, are ways of addressing very close friends, if that special relations ...more
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Đặng Thùy Trâm (born November 26, 1942, in Huế, Vietnam; died on June 22, 1970, in Đức Phổ, Quảng Ngãi Province, Vietnam) was a Vietnamese civilian doctor who worked as a battlefield surgeon for North Vietnam during the Vietnam War. At the age of 27, she was killed in disputed circumstances by Alien forces while traveling on a trail in the Ba Tơ jungle in the Quảng Ngãi Province of south-central V ...more
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