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

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  1,339 ratings  ·  198 reviews
At the age of twenty-four, Dang Thuy Tram volunteered to serve as a doctor in a National Liberation Front (Viet Cong) battlefield hospital in the Quang Ngai Province. Two years later she was killed by American forces not far from where she worked. Written between 1968 and 1970, her diary speaks poignantly of her devotion to family and friends, the horrors of war, her yearn ...more
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Published (first published 2005)
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3.62  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,339 ratings  ·  198 reviews

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Kim M-M
Oct 23, 2008 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
Apr 20, 2008 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
Nov 04, 2012 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
Larry Bassett
Jun 07, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
So heartbreaking and intimate.

Amazing to have the chance to read this diary, which was never intended to be published, and when it was found, was ordered destroyed. It wasn't, and kept for over three decades...

Yes, it is a bit repetitive; yes, she talks a lot about her love and heartbreak; and yes, she refers to many different males as "brother". But keep in mind that when she was writing it, she didn't know that this book would be read by anyone else; furthermore, she was young! She had dreams
Sep 14, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This 'little' book impacted me....and potentially a few other people in this 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 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 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, women, vietnam-war
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.
William Graney
Apr 07, 2009 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
Dec 29, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 07, 2017 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
Dec 31, 2008 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!
Nov 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jul 31, 2008 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
Oct 14, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 27, 2008 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
Thuy Vu
Apr 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't know much about the war even though I'd watched several movies about it. So The diary of Dang Thuy Tram is the first book about the war that I've read and absolutely has torn me apart. Doctor Tram was such a typical Vietnamese woman who'd been born in the peace then devoted her life to save the country in the war. She was a determined, resilient soldier who vowed to carry the spirit of Communists in her heart but at the same time, was an emotional, warm-hearted, caring person who had so ...more
Damg Thuy Tram did something extraordinary at the young age of 24. She volunteered to serve as a physician in the National Liberation Front (Viet Cong) battlefield in Quang Ngai Province. Two years later she was killed by American forces not far from the hospital (this is not a spoiler - the reader will be aware of this from the beginning). This book shares her diary entries, the horrors she witnessed, her dreams of peace (hence the title obviously), her missing her friends and family, her desir ...more
Apr 14, 2013 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
Sep 17, 2009 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.
Mar 30, 2008 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
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
Đỗ Hoàng
May 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alice Rose
The Diary of Dang Thuy Tram is a touching personal insight into the mind of a young surgeon in the American War. Like any diary you can expect melodramatic tendencies, but unlike many diaries you will be surprised by the poetic and intelligent writings gifted to us by Thuy.

To me, it is difficult to rate a diary. It is a gift that this diary has made it's way into our hands and it is a personal account of history that should be appreciate for what it is. As Thuy comes from Hanoi she weaves a dee
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
May 01, 2011 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.
Teri Temme
Apr 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. Powerful and moving account of a young Doctor in Vietnam - 1966 - 1970 (her death).
Apr 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Last Night I Dreamed of Peace

The dairy of Dang Thuy Tram begins on April 8, 1968, just two months after the Tet-offensive. She is twenty-five years old and the chief physician at a field hospital in the mountains of central Vietnam. It’s a civilian clinic but she treats mainly sick and wounded soldiers.
She writes her dairies under the most difficult of circumstances. As translator Andrew X Pham puts it: She penned these entries in battle tranches and bomb shelters. “Through destruction, hunger,
Oct 14, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

“This is war; it spares no one, not a baby or an old woman, and the most hideous thing about it is the bloodthirsty Americans.”

I remember ten years ago when I was paid a million a day in cash to act in the movie version of this book. When I say a million, I mean in Vietnamese dong, and when I say act I mean as an extra, but anyway I have never seen the film, but I have always meant to read the book and so I have eventually gotten round to reading it now.

This is the ultimately sad story of Dang T
Gwendolyn Bellinger
For me, how much I enjoyed this diary depends on the angle I look at it and my expectations.

From a purely literary standpoint, I struggled a little with style. It’s a diary and I tend not to enjoy diaries in general. It was recommended to me by my Vietnamese language teacher and sparked my curiosity. In the introduction, it is explained that the somewhat exaggerated and flowery language was normal for a young girl of this period (and high social class) to express herself. I did find the overly
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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
“Last night I dreamed of Peace.” 7 likes
“Đời phải trải qua giông tố nhưng không được cúi đầu trước giông tố” 1 likes
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