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The Unwanted: A Memoir of Childhood Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Length: 370 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Product Description


'Kien Nguyen's The Unwanted is a haunting memoir of both nightmarish agony and redemptive self discovery...' -- Douglas Brinkley, director of the Eisenhower Center for American Studies

Book Description

In the tradition of Angela's Ashes, this graphic and harrowing memoir tells the story of a young boy's life in South Vietnam after the fall of Saigon and his escape to America ten years later.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 751 KB
  • Print Length: 370 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0316284610
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books (15 Nov. 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #109,279 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 5 May 2004
Format: Paperback
I have been extremely touched by this book. I was born in Saigon in 1973 and was lucky enough to manage to escape Vietnam on the 30th April 1975 with my parents and my two brothers.
My father worked for the Vietnamese government and had we stayed in Vietnam after the war my dad would have been sent to reeducation camp and my family would have been deprived of all rights.
This book therefore gives me an insight on how life might have been to me had my parents not been strong enough to leave their country and start a new one abroad.
Not only is it really well detailed but also explains the hardship that the writer went through whilst in Vietnam.
I can not recommend this book highly enough to Vietnamese people who left their country at a very young age due to the war but also to others who can see for themselves how the communist regime destroyed a once powerful nation.
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Format: Paperback
Thank you Kien Nguyen! Thanks for all what you wrote. It helps me to understand a lot about the time when you were there in Vietnam. I really appreciate for your piece of work. I could not stop reading your book when I picked it up. Brilliant way of telling your story.
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Format: Paperback
Heart breaking and an eye opener to curtural racism and a child who overcame the burden of being of mixed race in Vietnam .
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa40aa3d8) out of 5 stars 115 reviews
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x988580a8) out of 5 stars Honest, Moving and Memorable 31 Mar. 2005
By I E Liter8 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I wanted to read this book because the author was born in the same city I was born in, Nha Trang. I was curious to find out what happened after the Vietnam War ended, especially since my family never talks about their own experiences there. After reading this memoir, I was deeply moved by its honest portrayal of the day-to-day life for the people who lived under the Communists. At first, I myself did not believe that these events actually happened. Only when I asked my own family, did it occur to me that the events in this memoir are a vivid painting of how it really was living in Vietnam in the years that followed the war. Because of this novel and my curiosity, my family has been pouring me with endless amounts of stories about their experiences, most of which are exactly what the author of The Unwanted talks about. Therefore, I highly recommend this book, particulary to those, like myself, who might be curious to know what happened in Vietnam after the war ended.
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x988584b0) out of 5 stars Brilliant in its simplicity, only overly priviledged would question its authenticity 12 Oct. 2005
By Goodness - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I just finished Kien Nguyen's The Unwanted and have a hard time remembering when a book affected me so much. The story is told straight, with little reflective pondering or self-reflection, which I found unusual and even more distressing because of it. Most memoirs I have read are heavily doused in rationalizations about the author's life, indulgent in their explanations or at least lengthy in their self-interpretation. Nguyen's voice is much clearer, almost factual. In the recall of his childhood as an Amerasian child in the newly Communist Viet Nam of the 1970's, he spares details neither on the pettiness of bureaucracy, on brutal family betrayal, nor on his own actions. If anything, he glosses over his own psychological torment and emphasizes the physical and social torments he and his family endured, leaving the reader to judge for himself how these events should be interpreted.

I am lucky to have visited Vietnam in the late 90's and stayed in households there while researching for a documentary being made about an extended family. There are hundreds of thousands of stories like Nguyen's, varying in degrees of severity. I have heard some of these myself and seen the evidence of ruined lives and a ruined country. Those who tried to escape, Amerasian and just plain tormented Vietnamese alike, endured tales of suffering that once heard, you hope with all your heart you will never have to hear again in this world. Human cruelty exists. In extremes. Courageous writers like Kien Nguyen play an enormously valuable role in reminding those with privilege especially that we all choose to make of that fact what we will.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x98858528) out of 5 stars A Moving, Haunting, Disturbing, but Worthy Read 21 July 2002
By saigonese - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Once in awhile, a really good book that comes along to haunt me for days. This is the case with Kien Nguyen's memoir "The Unwanted." The book is very sad, dark, and disturbing from beginning to end. The only thing that prevents me from falling into an abyss of despair is a glimmer of hope in the final chapter of the book when his family was boarding an airplane to leave Vietnam. It is not an easy read. But it is a worthy read; it is one of the best books I have read about Vietnam. His book reminds me of Jung Chang's monumental work "The Wild Swans" and Nien Cheng's haunting memoir "Life and Death in Shanghai." It reminds me of an extraordinarily well-written and moving article on the Wall Street Journal published in 1999 to mark the 20 years anniversary of the fall of Pol Pot in Cambodia... The book also reminds me of my own experience last year walking through the prison cells and death chambers at the Auschwitz Nazi concentration camp which was left intact as it was at the end of WWII... As I was standing there, I had flashbacks of my own experience in a Communist prison. All of these experiences force me think about the meanings of Fascism, Communism, human mistreatment, and human dignity. Kien Nguyen's memoir also reminds me of my own best friends in first grade - Amerasian twin brothers... Kien Nguyen's book has provided me an answer. Having been jailed at a prison in Kien Nguyen's hometown and having left Vietnam through the ODP program, I was particularly impressed with his accurate descriptions of the prison, the building, the people, and the troubles one had to go through in order to leave Vietnam. I have a great admiration for Kien who has the courage to write this book that really captures the essence of life in Vietnam during those years. His book is an excellent that will keep you awake at night turning the pages. I like it so much that I order one copy for my home library so in case later my children ask me about Vietnam... "The Unwanted" gets five stars and "Two Thumbs Up" recommendation from me!!!
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x988588b8) out of 5 stars A remarable and must-read book 18 May 2001
By P. Vo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
A friend of mine recommended this book to me. Once I started reading it, it's hard to put it down. The author (Kien Nguyen) wrote this with all of his heart. I am a Vietnamese-American currently live in Texas, I know how it was in Vietnam after the fall of Saigon in 1975, even though admittedly I had a more pleasant childhood than Kien.
I strongly recommend this book to everyone. To Kien, if you happen to read this review, I know I could speak for many other Vietnameses currently live in the states: thank you for writing this remarkable story of your life in VN!
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x988589f0) out of 5 stars Spare and honest; poignant story of Vietnam, post war 2 May 2003
By Peggy Vincent - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Written in a spare and straightforward style that suits the horrific and lush backdrop of post-fall-of-Saigon war years, The Unwanted is Nguyen's story of his childhood as a hated Amerasian, the illegitimabe child of an American GI and a wealthy Vietnamese woman. Focusing on the decade after Saigon fell and ending with his emigration to the United States when he was 18, the author documents the crazy shifts in his life from one of privilege before the age of 8, to one of pathos and fear under the Communists, when the whole social order was reversed and his family was at risk of losing everything, including their lives. Now a dentist in the US, Nguyen initially penned his memoir as a self-healing attempt to overcome the many scars of his difficult childhood. It is fortunate for his readers that he decided to seek publication.
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