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Such a Lovely Little War: Saigon 1961-63
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Such a Lovely Little War: Saigon 1961-63

(Such a Lovely Little War #1)

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  363 Ratings  ·  70 Reviews
This riveting, beautifully produced graphic memoir tells the story of the early years of the Vietnam war as seen through the eyes of a young boy named Marco, the son of a Vietnamese diplomat and his French wife. The book opens in America, where the boy's father works for the South Vietnam embassy; there the boy is made to feel self-conscious about his otherness thanks to s ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published October 25th 2016 by Arsenal Pulp Press (first published January 2012)
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Chandler Mine came with a thin-ish paper stock jacket.

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[Shai] Bibliophage
Jan 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
I didn't have even the slightest idea about the history of the Vietnam war. Through this graphic novel of Marceline Truong, I have learnt a lot on what really happened during that time.

As this was written from a Vietnamese perspective and from whom that had relatives who were in the government then, I reckon that the accounts of what happened were quite detailed and fact-based.
David Schaafsma
Dec 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gn-war, vietnam, gn-memoir
I was drafted in 1972, but Nixon did me the favor of ending the draft on the very day I was supposed to head out to basic training, and after several hours of anxious confusion, I was informed I did not have to go, and I never served. I was a campus Vietnam war protestor and (later) draft resistor (it's a long story, but I was granted Conscientious Objector status. I was 15 in 1968 as the war escalated and as long as I can recall I was opposed to it, as much as I understood about it. I have read ...more
Stewart Tame
Nov 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Fascinating, fascinating book. Truong's father worked as a translator for Prime Minister Diem up until shortly before the coup in 1963 that put the army in charge of South Vietnam. Growing up in the USA during the 70's and 80's, this is a slice of history that I was never exposed to, or at least it was covered so briefly that I never noticed. Between research, his own memories, and questioning his family, Marcelino Truong has put together a compelling portrait of a city and country on the brink ...more
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
A beautifully illustrated graphic memoir of a young French-Vietnamese boy living in Vietnam with his family during the 1960s.

Marcelino Truong’s father worked as a translator for Prime Minister Ngo Dinh Diem in the 1960s. The family moves from the US, where they had been living for the past three years, to Vietnam. I’m not sure how old the three kids are but they look between the ages of 6 to 12. Their mother is French and their father Vietnamese.

It’s fascinating seeing the Vietnam war through th
Rod Brown
Sep 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
An upper-class Vietnamese family views the onset of the Vietnam War from a privileged perspective in this frustrating muddle of domestic drama and military history. I wish the author had devoted more time to his parents and been more open about their personal relationships with each other. As it is, his Vietnamese father is practically a cipher and his French mother, who he briefly mentions may have been bipolar, mostly comes off as a hateful shrew. I would have loved to learn how they came toge ...more
Interesting read from an era of the Vietnam War that isn't covered as often. Truong mixes history and memoir quite seemlessly. I especially liked learning more about the militant women (this lovely cover is hidden beneath the jacket!) and Madame Nhu--I added Finding the Dragon Lady to my TBR years ago and now have renewed interest in reading it!

ReadHarder: Southeast Asian author
Aug 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is the first person biographical account of the eldest son of a French mother and the south Vietnamese ambassador to France, primarily covering the family’s life in wartime Saigon.

It provides a casual easy to grasp coming of age story set in a country that now only exists in memory. It's also a useful if not essential view point of the "other" Vietnam that like the United States, France and China, lost the Vietnam war. It provides excellent insights to the Deim regime but also gives some cr
Nick Nguyen
Feb 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent reading experience. I really enjoyed and admired the manner in which Marcelino Truong strove for an authorial perspective that delicately balanced both form and content throughout the book.

What I found particularly impressive is the level of fairness and distance he achieves in laying out the political and historical contexts that shaped the Vietnam that he was able to experience in 1961-1963. In this respect, I quite liked how he jumps back and forth in Time during certain moments
Bach Le
Jul 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Quyển hồi ký dưới dạng truyện tranh kể về cuộc sống thường ngày của ông Trương (bé Marco) và gia đình tại Sài Gòn trong những năm 1961-1963. Ba của ông Trương là thông dịch viên của Tổng thống Ngô Đình Diệm, còn mẹ là người Pháp ở nhà làm nội trợ và bị mắc bệnh trầm cảm rối loạn thần kinh. Bên cạnh việc ghi lại những hoạt động thường ngày của gia đình dựa trên những bức thư của mẹ mình gửi cho ông bà ngoại ở Pháp, quyển sách còn phản ánh một phần đời sống của dân Sài Gòn những năm đó và những ch ...more
After seeing Burns's documentary, it was fascinating to be able to read a personal story like this and have a broader context for it than before. I hadn't realized that, relatively speaking Saigon survived relatively unscathed in the early years of the US involvement in the war. Looking forward to reading part 2!
Teresa Pham
Jan 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017-reads
I picked up this graphic novel at random at a bookstore because I've recently been more interested in the Vietnam War and where my family came from. It was poignant, funny, and at times heartbreaking.
In this graphic memoir, which was originally published in French in 2012, Marcelino Truong writes about his family's move to Saigon early in his childhood, during the earlier part of the Vietnam War: they lived there from 1961 to 1963. Truong was born in Manila, after which his family lived in the DC suburbs, which is where the book opens, in 1961: we see Truong (Marco, in the book) and his brother Domi playing with neighborhood kids as their sister Mireille plays with her Hula Hoop. Not that it ...more
I grew up in the shadow of the generation that either fought in the Vietnam War or fought in the streets against the Vietnam War, so much of my sense of the tragedy of this conflict comes from hearing and reading about the experiences of these American soldiers and activists. A recent string of impactful graphic memoirs by Vietnamese-American authors have introduced an intriguing opportunity to see the bitter years of war through the eyes of young children living in the heart of the conflict.

Soobie's scared
Ich habe es auf Deutsch gelesen, weil es die billigste Edition war, die ich finden konnte.

Es war wegen der militärischen Sprache ein bisschen schwer aber ich habe es gelesen. Aber ich glaube ich werde es auch auf English lesen, um die Geschichte wirklich zu verstehen. Ich weiß es nicht, aber wenn ich auf Deutsch lese, habe ich immer das Gefühl, das ich die Geschichte nicht völlig verstehen kann. Und das ist seltsam, weil ich die meisten Wörter kenne.

[Ich schreibe diese Rezension auf Deutsch abe
Jul 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Une si jolie petite guerre" de Marcelino Truong est un roman graphique autobiographique à la fois amusant, grave, informatif et émouvant. Il relate l'enfance de l'auteur à Saigon (aujourd'hui, Hô Chi Minh Ville) de 1961 à 1963 en pleine guerre du Vietnam. Marco, son grand frère et sa grande sœur ont grandi aux Etats-Unis où leur père, vietnamien, travaille comme diplomate. Leur mère, Yvette, est Française et on parle français à la maison. En 1961, le famille quitte Washington D. C. pour Saigon, ...more
Dakota Morgan
Oct 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
A beautiful, powerful tale of immigration and war, Such a Lovely Little War outlines Truong's childhood, from American suburbia to war-rattled Saigon. Troung is an outsider in America and an insider in South Vietnam, his father a member of the ruling circle. But he's still not a native, what with his American upbringing and proud, white mother. Really, Such a Lovely Little War is the mother's tale as she struggles with bipolar disorder and a deep discomfort with Vietnam and the ever-encroaching ...more
Feb 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautifully drawn and written story about the military and political struggles of South Vietnam in the early years of the war. Trương illustrates the popular feelings and leadership decisions that lead up to big flashpoints like the self-immolation of Thích Quảng Đức and the assassination of Ngô Đình Diệm, all the while providing lots of historical context. The book particularly shines when he describes the impact of these events on his family's daily life(view spoiler) ...more
May 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
I should have picked up a personalised copy at TCAF. I overheard a few perusers at the table comparing it to G.B Tran's VIETNAMERICA, which is also quite excellent, though more of a personal-familial account. Truong draws a balanced biographical perspective between the political parties involved in the Viet Nam war and the country's various colonised histories. He avoids reducing complex pasts into solely anti-commie, anti-French, or anti-American sentiments. This way, the narrative does not bec ...more
Mar 14, 2018 rated it liked it
The book is a memoir that takes place when the writer was a child, so I am not going to judge Troung's immediate history, which he had no control over. But I wish he delved into the intricacies of each "side" (or "non-side") more, although I realize that the majority of diasporic Vietnamese writing has an anti-communist bias.

Troung sometimes does touch upon the ills and corruption during the Diem presidency, but he always follows it with a line about the communists being worst than the presiden
Ryan Fohl
Sep 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Very much liked the artwork with bold lines. I especially liked the designs of the siblings. The translation is a little wonky. Some sentence start in disorienting places. This is like a diary or dispatches with some additional research done in the present day. There isn’t much of a through line other than war time is a hard place to raise your kids.
Propaganda is a theme. Children’s war games abound as a theme. Interesting horse shoe crab death that makes the violence and chaos seem more real f
Nov 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: character, setting, story
I rarely read biography but there are occasional exceptions, and this is one of them. This non-fiction comic, translated from French, and with sections in Vietnamese is powerful. The author and illustrator tells of his childhood, but with deliberate inclusions of later research including discussions with his father, and use of the letters his mother wrote as well as other historical sources.

This book records two years in Vietnam from the perspective of the child he was as well as the adult he is
Feb 07, 2018 rated it liked it
A beautifully drawn graphic memoir of a childhood in Vietnam in the years leading up to the war. Truong was a young child living in Saigon as things began to erupt, the son of a Vietnamese government official and a French mother suffering from mental illness. This is a different perspective on the conflict than many of the accounts I've read so far. Readers will learn about the political forces and intrigues that led to the outbreak of violent conflict, and see some familiar events (the self-imm ...more
Aug 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
this is both a historical and intimate look at the vietnam war from the eyes of the author as a young boy. he struck an amazing balance between explaining the dangerous rhetoric on both sides of the conflict, stoked by american influence as well as past imperialism, and the personal toll it took on his family, especially his mother. i feel like truong has lived a fascinating life even after finally leaving vietnam and the war. the storytelling and art were truly lovely. and true to the perspecti ...more
Mar 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
A beautiful, tragic, and sad autobiography by a half French, half Vietnamese author about his experience growing up/living in Vietnam during the Vietnam War. I especially loved it because it's not often you see a comic written by a biracial person about their experiences. He's truly an unheard, unseen voice of the past and reading this made me realize how hard it would've been being mixed race back then.

Also, pretty accurate and illuminating concerning the history behind the war, mainly from th
From a child's perspective, Truong writes an excellent child's narrative about his own family returning to Saigon during the early 60s. The illustrations are dramatic and effective and show the dichotomy of a city trying to maintain its modern existence in a time of political turmoil, confusion and all the while, having bombs explode across the street. Using his own young voice, Truong expresses natural bewilderment with a sense of objectivity while depicting the devastation of his father's home ...more
Emilia P
May 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comic-books
Woof. Man. I don't know enough about the Vietnam War. And comic books are teaching me that, and more than I ever learned in school. This one is about Truong's young life in Vietnam at war, with his dad a translator for the American-friendly administration, who got out not a moment too soon. It's kind of fascinating and terrible how much people can live a life approaching normal during what in retrospect looks tremendously like wartime. Well drawn, dense with history, terrifying but calmly told. ...more
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-reads
A wonderful book combining family memoir and the history of three years of the Vietnam War seen through the writer and illustrator Marcelino Truong's eyes as a child. The style and colour of the drawings are beautifully realised. The reader learns so much about the turbulent times and the horrors of war whilst at the same time being affected by the family story. Truong also describes his mother's struggles with bipolar disorder and you drawn into the story of a close and loving family in the mid ...more
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a great graphic novel telling of being a kid in Saigon in the early 60s. The telling is so realistic, I can practically hear the kids playing throughout the scenes. As resource material, the author had access to his mother's letters written to her parents in France throughout this period - so specific dates and places are better displayed and explained. The combination of languages and the watercolor style of art all make it a nice read about the first parts of the Vietnam War and siblin ...more
Christa Van
May 20, 2017 rated it liked it
The author was a very young boy early in the Vietnam War. His father was a diplomat and his mother, a French national. They lived in Saigon as things were heating up. Nobody thought the war would affect the city but as time went on, things got dicier. The author's mother suffered from extreme stress and developed bi-polar disorder due to the difficulty coping. This memoir uses letters written by the author's mother, historical facts as well as the perspective of a young boy. The illustrations ar ...more
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