Jonathan Mirsky

A Right Way to Remember?

Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War

By

Harvard University Press 374pp £20.95 order from our bookshop

The Penguin History of Modern Vietnam

By

Allen Lane 633pp £30 order from our bookshop

In Nothing Ever Dies, his unusually thoughtful consideration of war, self-deception and forgiveness, Viet Thanh Nguyen penetrates deeply into memories of the Vietnamese war. Nguyen, who teaches English and American studies and ethnicity at the University of Southern California, was brought to the US as a small boy after the war by his parents, Vietnamese Catholics who feared persecution by the victorious communist movement. His fundamental point is that winners and losers of wars remember them differently; neither side cares to know about, much less to imagine, its adversary’s losses and continuing anguish. In short, there is an unwillingness to extend forgiveness to one’s enemy and a tendency to deny that one’s own side also behaved ruthlessly.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Sign up to our email newsletter below! Get free articles, highlights from the archive, and chances to win theatre… ,
    • RT : Founded in 1979, is a trusted independent source for reviews of new books across a variety of genres. A… ,
    • RT : Here we are - "Shelf Indulgence" by Ed Potten, a wonderful read, well worth your time: @Lit_Review,
    • 'Like going to a party hoping to get away as quickly as politeness allowed and at 4am finding myself still engrosse… ,
    • 'Neville never shed his sense of being the junior, and perhaps least-deserving Chamberlain.' From the archive, Mic… ,
    • 'The erecting and immediate destruction of a series of straw men rather detracts from what is for the most part an… ,
    • RT : A magnificent demolition job on this "acid laced tirade...unpleasantly self-obsessed...self pitying polemic...book… ,