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Postwar Journeys

American and Vietnamese Transnational Peace Efforts since 1975

Hang Thi Thu Le-Tormala

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University Press of Kansas img Link Publisher

Geisteswissenschaften, Kunst, Musik / Geschichte

Beschreibung

Postwar Journeys: American and Vietnamese Transnational Peace Efforts since 1975 tells the story of the dynamic roles played by ordinary American and Vietnamese citizens in their postwar quest for peace—an effort to transform their lives and their societies. Hang Thi Thu Le-Tormala deepens our understanding of the Vietnam War and its aftermath by taking a closer look at postwar Vietnam and offering a fresh analysis of the effects of the war and what postwar reconstruction meant for ordinary citizens. This thoughtful exploration of US-Vietnam postwar relations through the work of US and Vietnamese civilians expands diplomatic history beyond its rigid conventional emphasis on national interests and political calculations as well as highlights the possibilities of transforming traumatic experiences or hostile attitudes into positive social change. Le-Tormala’s research reveals a wealth of boundary-crossing interactions between US and Vietnamese citizens, even during the times of extremely restricted diplomatic relations between the two nation-states. She brings to center stage citizens’ efforts to solve postwar individual and social problems and bridges a gap in the scholarship on the US-Vietnam relations. Peace efforts are defined in their broadest sense, ranging from searching for missing family members or friends, helping people overcome the ordeals resulting from the war, and meeting or working with former opponents for the betterment of their societies.

Le-Tormala’s research reveals how ordinary US and Vietnamese citizens were active historical actors who vigorously developed cultural ties and promoted mutual understanding in imaginative ways, even and especially during periods of governmental hostility. Through nonprofit organizations as well as cultural and academic exchange programs, trailblazers from diverse backgrounds promoted mutual understanding and acted as catalytic forces between the two governments. Postwar Journeys presents the powerful stories of love and compassion among former adversaries; their shared experiences of a brutal war and desire for peace connected strangers, even opponents, of two different worlds, laying the groundwork for US-Vietnam diplomatic normalization.

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Schlagwörter

landmine unexploded ordnance, mia, peace, ngo, boat people, transnational, vietnam, amerasians, family reunion, humanitarian effort