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Tragic Mountains: The Hmong, the Americans, and the Secret Wars for Laos, 1942-1992
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Tragic Mountains: The Hmong, the Americans, and the Secret Wars for Laos, 1942-1992

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  68 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
Jane Hamilton-Merritt, Nobel-nominated scholar and photojournalist, has followed the plight of the Hmong and the war in Indochina since the 1960s. The staunchest of allies, the Hmong sided with the Americans against the North Vietnamese and were foot soldiers in the brutal secret war for Laos. Since the war, abandoned by their American allies, the Hmong have been subjected ...more
Paperback, 584 pages
Published November 1st 1999 by Indiana University Press (first published January 1993)
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This is your basic everyday story of mountain folk roped in to a CIA covert war and left to fend for themselves afterwards, with added opium.

The author a journalist - and much of the book is constructed from interviews she had with various people - is plainly interested in this story, her account closes with writing to U.S congresspersons and Senators trying to prevent forced 'voluntary' repatriations from refuge camps in Thailand to Laos.

As you might expect from a journalist's book it is chatty
Feb 13, 2010 added it
This book is very personal to me since it is the story of my parents and grandparents. To some, it may seem like just a tragedy or something that happened long ago. But in my parents' house, it's a story that's still told with a lot of sorrow and heartache. The book covers a lot of information about the Vietnam War that most people aren't aware of. Some part can be brutal.
Important information about an aspect of the so called Vietnam War that most Americans know nothing about. The author spent time as a journalist during in the war, and witnessed many events she describes. She also played a role in getting recognition - or at least, attempting, for some of the people who were involved in the "secret war" in Laos. This explains why the tone of her narrative comes across as shrill, given that she was writing for a purpose and amidst an ongoing crisis. So this doesn ...more
Oct 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
How could I express my tells the facts of why Hmong people are here in USA, how so many of us are here, whether we wanted to or not.
Paul Cornelius
May 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history-asia
A sometimes overly sympathetic look at the Hmong people of Laos and what happened to them during and immediately after the "Secret War" in Laos. (Vang Pao, for instance, while being a remarkable guerrilla leader did have his faults and did often succumb to his vanity.) The Hmong story, I hasten to add, is actually a sympathetic story overall. So it is acceptable that their side of things is given a primacy here, whereas in other histories of the conflict, the Hmong are often underappreciated, at ...more
Oct 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
This year President Obama became the first American president in office to visit Laos and acknowledge the role the U.S. played there during the Vietnam War. The Ho Chi Minh trail ran through Laos, the Americans ran many secret bombings against the Viet Minh from there. They mostly worked with an ethnic minority called the Hmong whom they trained and encouraged in guerrilla warfare. There was no official agreement between the Hmongs and the U.S. so when the U.S. pulled out many of the Hmong were ...more
Jun 10, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: school, equity
I didn't finish this book. I think it was because it's summer that I'm just not in the mood for nonfiction. Particularly on a subject which I at least know something about already, and seemed a bit not seeing the forest for the trees. Fascinating information on the role of the Hmong in Laos, though. The author of Hmong! The CIA's Secret Army seems to have used information verbatim from this book.
Apr 11, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: laos, leisure
Amanda Hwang
Dec 08, 2016 rated it liked it
Read in college and got this much fatso. I don't know if it was in this book or somewhere else but I'm recalling something about Korean soldiers being involved or sent. I could be erred.
Oct 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Highly recommend to anyone interested in the truth of the ruin of Laos and its people.
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Hmong History 1 3 Jun 18, 2012 12:32PM  
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