The UnAustralian

Tuesday, June 17, 2003
Review: Following Ho Chi Minh

Following Ho Chi Minh, by Bui Tin is a very interesting book. Bui Tin was North Vietnamese Officer who first acted as a scout and later as a military journalist. Now he is a dissident living in Paris. He achieved fame, by being the highest ranking officer into the Presidential Palace in Saigon, and accepting the surrender of the South Vietnamese government. He was later one of the first people into Phnom Penh, after the fall of the Khmer Rouge. He was the editor of a significant Vietnamese newspaper. However, his dissatisfaction with the communist regime (which started before the war) grew as he witnessed the harsh treatment of South Vietnamese, corruption, incompetence in Cambodia etc. Eventually, during a conference in Paris, he announced that he wouldn't return to Vietnam.

His book covers very little of his actual life (which from the small parts which he provides would be fascinating), but rather concentrates on being a critique of Vietnam. Tin strikes me as an honest patriot who is attempting to reform the country which he clearly loves. His descriptions of Ho Chi Minh are particularly interesting (see here for an example).

The book was published in the early 1990's, so it would be interesting to hear Tin's thoughts on the recent reforms in Vietnam.

| 9:48 PM