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River Of Time Paperback – 13 May 1996
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"A remarkable heart-breaking book" (Gavin Young)
"Jon Swain's powerful and moving book goes further than anything else I have read towards explaining the appeal of Indo-China and its tragic conflicts... A brilliant and unsettling examination of the age-old bonds between death, beauty, violence and the imagination, which came together in Vietnam and nowhere else" (J. G. Ballard Sunday Times)
"An absolutely riveting book... Haunting, compulsive and beautifully written, River of Time looks set to become a classic" (Alexander Frater Observer)
"His book is a damning indictment and a triumphant witness. Brief, wrenching, it is surely the freshest and most sensitive account of those times" (Michael Binyon The Times)
"A sombre, magnificent book" (Daily Mail)
‘A romantic, evocative and touching book, the story of a young man’s coming-of-age in the shocking but desperately alluring war zones of Cambodia and Vietnam’ Sunday TelegraphSee all Product description
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Top Customer Reviews
If you want to understand what European hubris has done to world, you must read this. Is this travel writing? a love story? a war story? all of them, but it doesnt matter. Read this, and then tell your friends to read it too.
'River of Time' is a gruesome tale. Jon Swain gives a vivid description of the civil war in Cambodia, the fall of Phnom Penh and the final days at the French Embassy (also depicted in The Killing Fields and in Francois Bizot's The Gate) and the end of Khmer Rouge rule in 1979 and the day after. He also covers the Vietnam War quite well and its end and gives a most horrendous account on the boat people and their fate. Swain's kidnapping by the Tigre People's Liberation Front in Ethiopia seems oddly out of place with this Indo-China tale, but to me it seemed emotionally important for understanding the rest of the book.
For anyone interested in Indo-China this is compulsory reading.
Inconceivable brutality utterly mutilated the once beautiful and vibrant countries of Vietnam and Cambodia beyond recognition. In just several decades of ferocious civil war, millennia of history, two passionate cultures, and millions of suffering people were changed forever.
The horrors of the Vietnam War represented one of the darkest periods in all of history. The sheer level of inhumanity inflicted by both sides decimated the lives of countless millions, and the majority of their stories are simply heartbreaking. That such extreme suffering can even be endured is almost as shocking as the realisation that one human being could willingly inflict such terrible suffering on another. But from the heart of such darkness arose the most inspiring acts of courage. For ultimately, the causes, nature and consequences of this terrible war lie with the insecurities, doubts, confusion, mistakes and vulnerabilities ignited by international pressures and ideological influences on two innocent nations. The passion, beauty and vitality of the Vietnamese and Cambodian people, of all the people of Indo-China, make their vast suffering all the more painful to contemplate.
‘River of Time’, is the account of the tragedies of these two nations by a lone British journalist, Jon Swain, from 1970 to 1975. This book can be described in one word: Incredible. It is undoubtedly the most powerful book I have ever read. Swain’s journey, and the journey of several of his closest friends in the turbulent world of war journalism at that time, have even been depicted on the screen, in the Oscar-winning film, The Killing Fields.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It took me right back to my own experiences on the Mekong in Vientiane, Laos during the same period. I have since travelled to Cambodia many times and Vietnam twice. Read morePublished 7 months ago
Stunning. I read this on Kindle and highlighted so many different sections because it was so beautifully written. I'll come back to this again and again.Published 11 months ago by David MacLean
An informative, touching and at times thrilling first hand account of the wars in Vietnam and Cambodia. Strongly recommended.Published 13 months ago by Amazon Customer
He may have only spent 5 years in Indo-China but this book shows how the region oozes from him. What a life he led, and what experiences he had. Read morePublished 14 months ago by jufox
Restless journalist finds his cause célèbre in Indochina, but it's a gruesome, eye opening, and tragic history. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Peter Seager
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