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January 04 , 2008

Laos, Caught In The Web


The small nation of Laos, wedged between Thailand and Vietnam, is little known to most Westerners. When the author and her husband, a USAID worker, moved to Laos in 1971, it was a quiet country falling increasingly under the effects of a heavy but unacknowledged U.S. military presence as part of a failing effort in Vietnam. Befriended by two young Laotians, the author became a part of village life, joining holiday celebrations, weddings, funerals and feasts. Over a four year period, she developed a deep admiration and affection for the Lao people. The humor and pathos of these chaotic years before the Communist take-over of the government in 1975 are chronicled by following one Lao family from Communist controlled re-education camps to their eventual resettlement in the United States. “Being born in Laos but raised in America from the tender age of 4, I have not had an opportunity to truly appreciate my own country. Judy’s book opened my eyes, heart and mind to the beautiful people and culture of that life and world. Thanks Judy.” Lala Rivera, former refugee “Fascinating for its portrayal of an unfamiliar, increasingly dangerous world (Laos, 1971-75), this memoir floods readers with admiration and sympathy for Lao culture.” Suzanne Kosanke, University of Hawaii at Manoa “As interest revives in the era of what Americans call the Vietnam War, there is still little accessible information about that part of the world, including Vietnam’s neighboring country, Laos. This book is a warm, human account of one person’s experiences in Laos.” Mary Ann Mattoon, PhD. Minneapolis.
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