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Saigon

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  1,583 ratings  ·  156 reviews
Vietnam's heady tropical landscape captivates fifteen-year-old Joseph Sherman on a hunting expedition to French colonial Saigon with his family in 1925. He is lured back again and again by his enduring fascination for the country and for Lan, a beautiful Vietnamese mandarin's daughter he could never forget. Over five haunting decades Joseph's life becomes deeply enmeshed ...more
Paperback, 752 pages
Published 1983 by Pan (first published 1982)
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Average rating 4.27  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,583 ratings  ·  156 reviews


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Chrissie
This is cinematic, cheap, tawdry romance. I have quit after eleven chapters, that is to say 3.5 hours of the total 35hrs and 4 minutes. I cannot bear another minute. It is actually possible for me to not finish a book. Yay, Chrissie!

Within these first chapters the wife of an American senator has in sexual ecstasy thrown herself upon their French hunting guide who has just forced himself upon the wife of his Vietnamese employee. The chapter before, the fifteen year old son of the American senator
...more
Ian
I have read many, many novels about the Vietnam war and most are written from a US perspective, generally anti-war and about the experiences of the young American G.I.'s thrust into a violent, alien world in the 1960's. This is the first one I have read that gives a proper overview of the whole tragic conflict over a period of 50 years. The English author takes us from the roots of the eventual disastrous US misadventure with the brutality of the colonial French towards the as then called ...more
Ming Wei
This book is dusturbing, gripping, and exciting at the same time, the authors show cases his writing talents with such a fascinating book, the story line, is influenced by the true events of war in Vietnam, when reading the book, you quickly fall into the story and get absorbed by the environment which the story is based in (the writers ability pulls you deep into the story), I came across this book by chance in a local charity shop, and now I will certainly be reading more books from this ...more
Cherie
May 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
I graduated from high school in 1965 so Vietnam was part of my young adult life. I associated it with a callous group of people that killed and maimed my friends and family in an undeclared war. Reading this book has enlightened me on who the people and culture of this country really were and their years of oppression that ultimately created this conflict and the role our own government played. I was a war protester then and I still hate wars that take the youngest and best of any country but ...more
Ann
Jan 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: vietnam
I very seldom give five starts to a novel in which the writing is not exquisite - - and Anthony Grey's writing is very good, but not outstanding. However, the scope of the novel and the history it portrayed (and taught me - - and I thought I knew a lot about Vietnam!) were overwhelmingly satsifying to me. The characters are very well drawn (and, yes, I know there are some unlikely intersections of characters, but I got over it) and the scenes and landscape are vivid. Of course this book is about ...more
Sarah
Dec 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-adult
I'm not sure how to go about writing a review of such a complex, involved book (which was originally written in 1982, not 2012, as this record indicates). I am astounded by the amount of research and planning that must have gone into writing this book. When I started reading Saigon, I was expecting to read an account of the Vietnam War. I didn't know what I was getting into beyond that. The book actually spans from 1925-1975, providing context for the war and American involvement far beyond what ...more
Free_dreamer
Jul 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: asia, review-copies
First of all, I have to admit that I knew little to nothing about Vietnamese history before I started reading this book. I'd heard of the infamous Viet Cong and knew bits and pieces about the Vietnam war, but that's about it. Vietnam was never a country I found particularly interesting before. But since I'm always interested in books about South East Asia and recent world history, I decided to give this book a try anyway.
And I'm so glad I did! "Saigon" is a truly epic masterpiece the like of
...more
Shonna Froebel
This is not a new book, but the 30th anniversary edition of an amazing novel centred on Vietnam. The action here takes place over 50 years from 1925 to 1975. At it's centre is the Sherman family, specifically Joseph Sherman. In 1925, at the age of 15, he came to Vietnam with his mother, father, and older brother Chuck to hunt. The hunting was to obtain specimens of rare animals for the Washington museum created by Joseph's grandfather. This first visit of Joseph to Vietnam also connects him to ...more
Jinx:The:Poet {the Literary Masochist, Ink Ninja & Word Roamer}
Saigon: An Epic Novel of Vietnam, written by the talented author Anthony Grey, is a fascinating historical fiction novel, deeply inspired by true events though embellished to tell a story, to give explanation to the war many people today still do not understand the true reasons behind. I, personally, found this book very enlightening and even though at times it was deeply disturbing, I greatly enjoyed reading it. It shows a great deal of perspective, from all sides, the French, the Americans, ...more
Diana Suddreth
Feb 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Saigon is one of those books that has the ability to change the way you view something. I was a child during the Vietnam War so my memories are mostly what was on the nightly news and what the adults around me said. So, to understand more of the history, especially the history from the Vietnam perspective was enlightening. The story of Joseph Sherman and his family was compelling and the characters were well written and relate-able. Both the North Vietnamese and South Vietnamese were written in ...more
Sunhawk
Sep 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Second read, and still captivating.
This long, full book follows the life of one US citizen from age 15 until somewhere in his 60s. His life story is inextricably tangled up with the history of what has become the nation of Vietnam, and so his story provides the author with a perfect way to tell that tragic story.
I probably first read this book in the 1980s when Vietnam still loomed large in my life; since then, as that shameful chapter in my nation's history has receded from memory, I have come
...more
Gregg
Jun 28, 2016 rated it liked it
All the reviews I saw of Anthony Grey's Saigon raved about its being America's version of Tolstoy's War and Peace, or a more academic version of one of James Michner's novels. I am not convinced. But it has other values that make it laudable.

The novel has, as its centerpiece, one James Sherman, son of Virginia senator Nathaniel Sherman, and tells the story of his and two other families' interweaving stories, all revolving around Saigon and Vietnam in total. Sherman falls in love with a
...more
Gay Klietzke
Jun 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. A great story with a historical background. Just the kind of book I like
Daniel Allen
Nov 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I first stumbled onto this book by accident; as I was writing a paper on the US involvement in Vietnam and the Viet-Minh, I kept reading excerpts from different chapters within the book. The writing struck me as beautiful and captivating, so I bit the bullet and bought this 1000 page novella. Anthony Grey did not disappoint.
I’d go as far as to call this book the War and Peace of our era; it tells the life of individuals within the context of a war that still shapes our lives today. Each
...more
Jonathan
Feb 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Taking on a book of this length was an endeavor I was not sure would pay off, but Anthony Grey did not disappoint in producing a wonderful narrative covering 50 years of Vietnam's turbulent history. Grey tells the story of Joseph Sherman, an American of privilege, and his relationship with Indochina, stretching from 1925 to the climax of the Vietnam conflict in 1975.

The story of Joesph's life, and the people and events that shape it, seems effortlessly mixed with the historical events and
...more
Mandy
Nov 10, 2013 rated it liked it
This long and detailed saga of 20th century Vietnam follows 3 families, one French, one American and one Vietnamese through decades of that country’s turbulent and troubled history. It centres around young American Joseph Sherman from 1925 when he visits French Indo-China for the first time to his last visit at the end of the Vietnam war. As traveller, soldier and reporter he is uniquely placed to reflect the key political, military and social changes and challenges that faced Vietnam as it ...more
Lorin Cary
May 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
At first I thought that including the word "epic" in the title was a bit much. But the story is epic in fact. In 1925 a Virginia Senator visits Vietnam, then a French colony, with his family. Joseph, then 15, falls in love with the country and it marks him for life. We basically follow him, a French family. and a Vietnamese family through from then until the US pullout in 1975. The novel is divided into 8 parts which chronicle the quest for independence and the maturation of Joseph. At times it ...more
H.W. Bernard
Apr 17, 2014 rated it it was ok
Since Saigon (the city, not the novel) is part of my "coming of age" DNA, I really wanted to like this book. Unfortunately, I couldn't get beyond the first 50 or so pages; neither the characters nor the story pulled me in.

The characters seemed mere vessels for expounding the history and culture of Vietnam. Those topics were well researched and interesting, but not what I was looking for in a novel.

Although the book was touted as the "WAR AND PEACE of our time," I never got a sense of major
...more
Laura
May 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: faves
I LOVED this book. As someone who grew up in the 60's and 70's, I had snippets and impressions of the complicated relationship between the US and Viet Nam. I love a historical fiction novel like this. When moments strike me I Google personalities or events included in the book and found often in this case that they relate to real people and occurrences, skillfully woven into the narrative, wrapped up in a compelling fictional story. I learned much from this book, about the complications of ...more
Bo Master
May 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
I'm ready for a Nam visit!!! I loved how alive this place came for me after only negative connotation associated with it. I loved the historical aspects of the story. You really see how time sped up in the real world thru the telling of this story. Culture and way of live changed so drastically in such a short span of time. I never got a true sense of the main character. Great read over all!
Nae
May 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This novel was utterly fascinating, and I learned far more about Viet Nam, its people, and our own convoluted politics than I thought I would. Both my husband and I had friends, relatives, who were there at different times, and even though they would come back with stories of what was going on the rich detail in this novel help make what they had told us make much more sense. Well worth the read.
Glenna Pritchett
I have read some superb books in 2016, and Saigon is one of the best. For a couple of days I have tried to write a review but the book has left me at a loss for words, and I just can’t get anything down on paper. Maybe I can come back later and do it justice. Maybe.

For right now I'll make do with this: you should read it. Really, you should.
Gwen Weddington
May 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio
Enjoyed the historical perspective of Vietnam from 1925-1975, but the corny romance with one unbelievable coincidence after another makes it impossible for me to recommend. There are nonfiction books that are more interesting and shorter.
Skip Hatchel
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Must read

Must read for anyone interested in the history, culture or people of Vietnam. This novel carefully threads a tragic story of family with equally tragic historical facts into a brilliant work of literature.
Benny Kjaer
Nov 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent. Well researched and a compelling read. You come away with a better understanding of the rich culture and ancient history, as well as the tenacity, of the Vietnamese people.
Petr Polovodov
Jul 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
The marvelous story of a person involved in major Vietnam conflicts. A beautiful voyage through the time.
Betty Botner
Aug 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Saigon

Good read. Story depicts much of the history of Vietnam between French colonization and U.S involvement. Highly recommend if interested in Asian affairs.
Pat Wartinger
Dec 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Deep story of Vietnam War. Painful but insightful.
Jinx:The:Poet {the Literary Masochist, Ink Ninja & Word Roamer}
Saigon: An Epic Novel of Vietnam, written by the talented author Anthony Grey, is a fascinating historical fiction novel, deeply inspired by true events though embellished to tell a story, to give explanation to the war many people today still do not understand the true reasons behind. I, personally, found this book very enlightening and even though at times it was deeply disturbing, I greatly enjoyed reading it. It shows a great deal of perspective, from all sides, the French, the Americans, ...more
Sonia Jackett
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I think the review below is a little harsh and didn't give the book time to develop. Yes it is a bit of a soapesque drama but it's knowledge of Vietnamese history and culture is brilliant.

As I'm travelling to Vietnam in December, for the past few months I have been trying to read as many books as possible about Vietnam - and also, by Vietnamese authors. Although this is not by a Vietnamese author it's one of the best I've read about the county and this is because it's very difficult to find
...more
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French colonial treatment on Vietnamese 1 3 Sep 27, 2014 07:34AM  

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Anthony Grey OBE is a British journalist and author. As a journalist for Reuters he was detained for 27 months in China from 1967 to 1969. He has written a series of novels and non-fiction books, including several relating to his detention.
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“Ah, so the perfidious female is a common species in America too, eh?” inquired the French officer, laughing again. “Isn’t it a worldwide phenomenon?” 1 likes
“I’ll bet you don’t know, Chuck, how Saigon got its name, do you?” exclaimed Joseph at last, closing the book and jumping to his feet. “It’s really quite interesting.” “I don’t know how it got its name, no,” replied the older boy smiling patiently, “but no doubt some book-reading bore is about to inform me.” “In old Annamese it means ‘Village of the Boxwoods,’ after the trees that originally grew there. It wasn’t much more than a fishing village until the eighteenth century when French Jesuits and a few merchants demanded the right to build a city. But its name could also be based on the Chinese characters ‘Tsai Con,’ which mean ‘Tribute paid to the West.’” “Fascinating,” said Chuck facetiously. “You’re still king of the useless-information department.” 1 likes
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