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on 12 October 2001
This book is a truly inspirational read. From explaining about the Vietnam War through to how this famous child beat the odds to become a mother and "normal" person in a societ which craves public-interest stories. As we get to know Kim and her family we can feel their pain and horror, then their faith and joy as Kim walks on an incredible journey of recovery and discovery.The biography follows Kim and her family as they come to terms with the Viet-cong, the Americans and then the ultimate horror of war. As Kim grows and copes with her own personal war we are reminded of the strength of the human spirit, and why we should never ever give up.I am recommending this to all my friends and family.
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on 17 July 2008
This is more than a harrowing story of one persons struggle in war torn Vietnam. This is a captivating story of the relative recent history of Vietnam and the involvement in it of an unfortunate little girl. The story of Kim Phuc, `the girl in the picture', is fascinating, and whilst the main thread is wound around the napalm inflicted wounds on the nine year old Phuc the episode serves to take the reader through the changes experienced by the country and its people since the start of the Vietnam War. I found myself gaining a far clearer understanding of the conflict and the connection of each of the different parties involved. The mood and condition of the country and its society were brilliantly conveyed throughout the story, without being heavy and over loaded with political detail. I had long wanted to read a book that would convey the basics of the Vietnam War without the burden of reading a large volume. This book met my requirements exactly, being entertaining, interesting and informative on many levels.
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on 9 March 2009
Very well written story of Kim Phuc, the girl who was horrifically burned by a misplaced napalm bomb in her village not far from Saigon.
The story tells of how her family went from comfortable middle class, to abject poverty and hardship after the war ended and communism took control.

Her picture appeared all over the world and went a long way in convincing a doubting American public that this war was wrong and U.S involvement in it was unjust and immoral.

Then the book tells how the Communist regime used her fame over the picture, to profit from her and set up endless interviews and propaganda stunts with her and the foreign press.

To be fair to Kim Phuc, she shows a remarkable resilience, in not only recovering from horrific injuries as she did, but also in how she manipulated her infamy to her own advantage on many occasions.
She managed to obtain a scholarship to Cuba, through her friendship with a high ranking Government Minister, where she lived for four years, until finally managing to claim refugee status in Canada, during a stopover on her return from a honeymoon in Russia.

She also shows a ruthlessness that few would possess.
She states candidly in the book, that she'd planned to stay in Canada by whatever means possible and her husband knew nothing of her plans until they were on the plane bound for Canada.
She also told him that she was going, regardless of whether he came with her or not. They had only been married weeks, at this point.
That takes some topping for a newly wed!
Her story is at times a sad one and also a happy one.
Many burn and bomb victims in the Vietnam conflict were not so lucky and were left to die from their injuries, she acknowledges this herself in the book.

Perhaps the saddest thing in the book is that being manipulated herself by the Government and certain family members, she learned how to manipulate others to her own advantage, to the point where I regarded her as extremely cunning and calculating.
Maybe she's every right to be, I don't know.
I do know that she certainly made the most of her infamy.

A very good read, the story reveals a lot of the Vietnamese psyche and personality. Sons and daughters are expected to contribute to the family, long after they've left home and have a lifelong obligation to their parents. They're also extremely frugal people and not averse to using friendships for personal gain, through circumstances or choice.
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on 20 March 2007
I remember seeing 'The girl in the Picture' when it first appeared as a photograph of the Viet Nam war in 1972 and shocked the world. In the following years, Kim, the girl in the picture, would crop up in the news -her new life - her charitable foundation etc. It was if the picture would never go away. The book takes you through a very moving story, a detailed and readable account of the war, and off course Kim herself and those who help her. You'd need a heart of stone not to be moved and might want to read it privately for I defy anyone not to shed a tear as they turn the pages. Don't get me wrong, this is not a 'weepy', just a very powerful non judgemental story. The reader makes their own judgement of the events. All these years later I'm glad I got round to reading about her.
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on 8 June 2012
A most intersting book about the most famous picture of an infamous war. it has been used for four decades as an indictement of America's war crimes. Indeed, use of napalm was horrible, though not illegal. Of course, almost no one chronicled the crimes of the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong. Oriana Fallaci, the Italian journalist, was one of the few who did so, but her reports were mostly brushed aside.

Yet the story the "girl" tells us is a very different one. She was manipulated by Vietnamese propaganda, deprived of her freedom to speak up, and saw no hope for her future. At the first possible opportunity, a stopover in Canada on a flight back from the USSR to Cuba, where she was studying, she fled from communism and chose freedom, capitalism, pluralism.

Her story is a telling one of the years that followed the Communists' victory in Vetnam. "Liberation" from the Americans' occupation in fact meant indoctrination, brain-washing, distortion of the truth for the purpose of propaganda. All this while Vietnam, paradoxically, was ditching extreme communism and opening up to private enterprise and even new friendly relations with the United States.
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on 13 April 2015
unbelievable read! horrific story i might add, though you certainly admire her. interesting take on the vietnam war, certainly paints the americans in a different light to what we are used to seeing with regards to the american version of the vietnam war etc. gives a good account on what life was like in vietnam post american departure from vietnam. a great read and would definitely recommend this book!
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on 14 March 2010
An amazing, and at many times very disturbing, account of life in Vietnam during the war. Better than a history book. It gave me a great insight into the workings of the country before I visited it.
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on 31 August 2008
Kim Phuc was 9 on 8 june 1972 when her village was napalm bombed by South Vietnamese planes on the orders of the Americans.Many of the villagers of Trang Bang were killed or injured one of whom Kim Phuc had all her clothes burnt and her severely burned.She was photographed running naked away from the flames and became known as "the girl in thw picture" This picture and 2 others of seperate incidents fully documented the horrors and barbarity of war. Kims story is well written documenting her life in Vietnam,Germany, Russia,Cuba and eventuallyCanada where she sought asylum.Although she was well treated she was ruthlessly exploited for propaganda purposes.The central government treated her well but there was much jealousy from local officials.Abook to be recommended.
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on 27 December 2012
Chose to read it as was visiting vietnam, and thought it would add colour to my holiday.
It was interesting to read about the war and the vietnamese perspective.
The poverty and strict regime/taxes were dredful.
I think the later part of the book could have been condensed more to keep the pace going.
I ended up stopping reading it and coming back to it later as it was hard going.
Kim is an inspiration
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on 16 October 2014
If your interest lies in reading about the war in Vietnam of the 60's and 70's, this book is a must read. To have knowledge of how the Vietnamese experience that period broadens the mind considerably and may even change an opinion or two.
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