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The Man from Saigon

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  301 ratings  ·  68 reviews
It's 1967, and Susan Gifford is one of the first female correspondents on assignment in Saigon, dedicated to her job and passionately in love with an American TV reporter. Son is a Vietnamese photographer anxious to get his work into the American press. Together they cover every aspect of the war from combat missions to the workings of field hospitals. Then one November mo ...more
Hardcover, 342 pages
Published February 23rd 2010 by Nan A. Talese (first published May 28th 2009)
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3.48  · 
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 ·  301 ratings  ·  68 reviews

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Annie Fyfe
Jan 17, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: capture, vietnam, media, women
Looking back on this book, I enjoyed it, however there were points in the middle that were hard to get through. The overall story was great and came together very well at the end. I really didn’t understand all the focus on the character Marc, I never really liked him and was very bored by his story. Anytime the author switched back to him I almost just wanted to skip ahead to the next time Susan and Son appeared. I also thought it was weird that he didn’t come back into the story with Susan at ...more
Gregory Olivier
Oct 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book for a rainy weekend. It is very well researched and gives a realistic feel of a journalist's life in Saigon during the war.
An excellent novel, a tad romantic but I'm a guy and I loved it.
What I found the strong point of this novel is that the reader is very much 'in Vietnam'.
Her style of writing dialogue is different and enjoyable. This read kept me relaxed and intrigued and entertained. Well worth it.Echoes of Hemingway's style combined with bullets pinging off a Huey in fl
Andrea Love
Jul 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010
This novel is an excellent learning opportunity as well as an involving read. Learning about the Vietnam war as well as vicariously experiencing how jarring and difficult it is to be a journalist in a war zone is a unique opportunity. The author has skillfully woven the complexities of the protagonist's relationships, her struggles for recognition and equality, and intrigue against the backdrop of a violent bloody war.
Esther Bradley-detally
May 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Incredibly well written, gripping, mesmerizing, literary, fantastic; i guess that means I liked the book. Superb writing, difficult subject, and wonderful point of view - woman journalist is protagonist. At any rate a friend in book club recommended it, and we are glad she did. We fell in love with the book!
Aug 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Definitely one of the best books I've read this year, maybe longer.
In 1967, Susan Gifford, a correspondent for a women’s magazine, is sent on assignment to cover the Vietnam War with articles from a woman’s perspective. It is intended that she remain in the relatively “safe” confines of Saigon. However, in search of stories she begins to venture out a little - to a hospital here or an orphanage there. She meets and befriends a Vietnamese photographer named Son, who wants a way to get his photographs in U.S. publications publications, and Susan, for her part, re ...more
Mar 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
Marti Leimbach, has a wonderful style of writing which draws the reader into the story from the start. This is obvious in "The Man From Saigon", a story of a female reporter/journalist, In-Country, to give reports of the war from the side of a woman, for a Women's Magazine.
As the story unfolds, Susan Gifford is sent Saigon to cover the war in 1967. She fuinds and falls in love with another reporter, Marc, a TV Reporter, who is also in Saigon covering the war. There is a thrid main character, i
Apr 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
I thought this book was fantastic. It is almost unbelivable to me that Leimbach didn't actually spend time in the jungles of Vietnam, because the writing is unbelievably visceral.

The young green female journalist sent to cover issues 'appealing to women' in Vietnam, her photographer and translator, Son, and her older jaded war correspondent lover form an incredibly strong character triad.

The harrowing experience of being held hostage by the Vietcong in the jungles of Vietnam and the ensuing tigh
Nov 28, 2010 rated it liked it
A banal title and the occasional laundry-list of researched items are the only (minor) flaws in this intelligent,insightful,psychologically astute novel about the American War on Viet-Nam...centered on Susan, who writes for a "Women's Magazine" and her Vietnamese photographer,Son, the story uses a firefight,hostage-taking and Forced March through the jungle as main focus of the story while regular flashbacks attempt to clarify the reasons why the characters(and by extension,the American military ...more
Jul 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
Susan Gifford reluctantly accepts an assignment to cover 'women's issues' in 1967 Vietnam. She soon becomes as reluctant to leave as she was to come. There is her affair with a married TV journalist, and there is Son, a Vietnamese photographer who volunteers to accompany her and act as translator as well as photographer. Susan accepts his offer and although others question his motives, she does not. Son and Susan are captured by three young Vietcong. The description of their ordeal is harrowing, ...more
May 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
I read this while travelling through Vietnam recently and was very impressed with the story, the beautiful descriptive writing and the authentic feel of the story, which recounts the harrowing capture of a young English reporter by the Viet Cong, along with her friend, a Vietnamese man ostensibly photographing the war from a South Vietnamese perspective. It gave me an intimate personal point of view on the war from the other side of the fence, and is told beautifully and poignantly to great effe ...more
Jun 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: vietnam
There is no shortage of the realities of war in this novel and like any book about the Vietnam conflict we are exposed to the blood and fear of the time, but Susan’s interpretations of what she sees give us a slightly different perspective from what you are likely to have seen or read before. There is real emotional depth here, and I especially enjoyed Leimbach’s exploring of love and connection under the most difficult of circumstances.

Read my full review here:
Oct 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
It took almost half the book for me to be interested in the characters and what they were doing, but ultimately a satisfying read. Story of a female journalist in Vietnam during the war and what happens to her and her photographer after they are abducted by Viet Cong. Very moving relationships between this woman and two men in the story. No easy or clear cut answers to the predicaments presented.
Mar 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
i had to come back to this book, again and again, i kept needing breaks from reading it. it is almost as heavy and thick and cloying as the jungle it describes. i enjoyed it, on a macabre level. i was rooting for susan before and after her capture. i didn't realize it was a romance till almost near the end, and neither did susan. very interesting. i hated the ending though:)
Feb 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
Very good book, for me it was a page turner so difficult to put down. We are in Vietnam during the war where a female journalist get captured by Vietcong soldiers. Very believable story, you would think that Leimback had been there herself.
Feb 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
I don't remember why I put this on my 'to read' list but I'm glad I did. The book is a lot gritter than I normally read and at times I wasn't sure I would continue, but the story drew me in and went in a different direction than I expected.
Jul 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Susan Gifford, a women's magazine writer who arrives in Vietnam to write human interest stories about the war. Instead, she ends up covering combat and finds an intense friendship with Son, a Vietnamese photographer, and an equally intense love affair with Marc, a married American journalist.
Aug 08, 2010 rated it liked it
Difficult to read (1967 in Vietnam, female reporter encounters the war...), but worth the discomfort it may cause. Fiction, but based on much research and writings of women who were there in that capacity. Excellent writing.
Aug 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
2nd (2018) read—evocative and intense, as before on the 1st reading—but now that I’ve had the chance to read The Man From Saigon slowly, it’s even more powerful. The concept of divided loyalties and grey areas in war—as well as the stark right and wrong tendencies in each individual—is written about so clearly. I even sympathised with Marc this time (still dislike, it has to be noted), but I sympathise with him. And Susan and Son for me? Even more than before, I wish their story continued. There ...more
I really struggled with this book. I almost stopped reading it a couple of times, which I almost never do. My husband told me it had a good ending so I persevered. He was right and I am glad I finished the book. However I think it would have been better if it was say 50 pages shorter, too much detail and kind of confusing. I liked the 3 main characters, well done there.
Sally Seymore
May 02, 2018 rated it liked it
This read is about a female correspondent in Saigon who escapes death during an ambush but then gets captured by three Vietcong soldiers. She is with her friend and colleague Son, a Vietnamese photographer. Most of the book is about their journey. I learnt much about the war and although it is a novel, it was well researched. For some reason however I struggled to really get into the book.
Sigrid Fry-Revere
May 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
Disappointing. Predictable. The writing got on my nerves -- just as she got into a good piece of description, she would go and explain it. Show! Don't tell! I know my own writing suffers from this, but it drives me crazy. I can connect the dots. I don't need the author to do it for me.
Apr 05, 2010 rated it liked it
I read a book early this year called "The Lotus Eaters" and I cannot believe how similar these two books are. Both feature a woman journalist/photographer newly arrived in Vietnam. She develops a relationship with a married American journalist and partners with a mysterious Vietnamese photographer. Both writers did an excellent job describing Vietnam and not such a great job with the plot or character development. In this book, the main character is captured by three Vietcong soldiers. The group ...more
Aug 05, 2011 added it
I wanted to love this book - it begins beautifully and the writing in parts is wonderful. I started out engrossed in this story of a woman reporter sent to Vietnam, but once she is captured by the Viet Cong, the story became much too flat for me. Clearly Leimbach did a great deal of research, and she does give many physical details of what such a gruesome situation was like. However, we never really get to know Susan well enough, her boyfriend is never fully fleshed out, and her photographer/com ...more
Jan 17, 2015 rated it it was ok
I really liked it until about half the way through. And I was excited about finding a new author that I liked. But then it got harder to stay interested, not a lot of action and many pages devoted to the things going on in the main character's mind. The end was a real disappointment. Sometimes there is a situation that could result in several different scenarios, with none of them being ideal. Well, instead of choosing one and making it work, the author chose to simply not resolve that situation ...more
Dec 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: asia
I was conflicted about this book. Place and time were conveyed with accuracy and evocative details and the characters' range of emotions (terror, boredom, resignation, depression, rage) seemed stunningly accurate, at least for the sorts of situations I had experienced. But I did not enjoy it as a novel. Some elements seemed to add little to the story (the romance between the two journalists) and some of the dialog seemed just plain wrong. I would recommend it to anyone interested in the Vietnam ...more
Aug 16, 2013 rated it liked it
A hard to swallow tale about innocent young girl sent by a woman's magazine to Saigon. Within a couple of months she is in a love affair with a top line tv reporter and is close friends with a Vietnamese photographer. In addition she is traveling all over the country filing stories and dodging danger. Don't want to give away anything but suffice it to say that the story is a bit beyond belief.
Sep 17, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: popular-fiction
Set in Vietnam during the war a news reporter is kidnapped. Actually two are kidnapped, but one is an American woman and one is a Vietnamese man. Susan and Son are brought through the jungle to a secret hiding place. The strength of the novel is in the descriptions of what she sees and how she feels. But it is slow-moving and there doesn't seem to be much of a plot other than will she be rescued?
Engrossing novel tells the tale of a women's magazine correspondent reporting in country on the Vietnam War. A few months into her assignment, she and a colleague are captured by Viet Cong soldiers during an ambush and must call upon all of her mental and physical resources to survive. Her concepts of the VC soldiers, what she believed she knew about her friend and colleague, and the American and Viet Cong tatics of the never ending conflict are all called into question. Very good read!
May 02, 2011 rated it liked it
This was the 2nd POW book I read in a 2 week period (the 1st was "Unbroken"). The Man From Saigon was a somewhat disjointed story with an unsatisfying conclusion, just like the war it was about. I do think the fragmented story & the ending that just trailed off were meant to be symbolic of the Vietnam war itself and so it kind of worked for me.
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