Personal stories from the Vietnam Exodus edited by Carina Hoang
INTERNATIONAL AWARD WINNER – SILVER MEDALIST
‘Boat People’ book review: Voyages of Hope and Fear
Reviewed by Kim Huynh
Refugees who are fortunate enough to find new homes and rebuild their lives tend to fall into two categories. The majority almost never speak of their persecution and displacement. They see little benefit and significant risk in reliving past pains. Often they suspect that people who were indifferent to their plight then would care even less now. Then there are those who have a burning desire to bear witness. These individuals believe that all who are like them must speak and all others should listen. They believe that through acts of remembering we give future generations the best chance of avoiding the calamities of history. […excerpt]
Bookbite review and article
From 1975 to 1996 the largest mass migration in modern history occurred when more than a million people left war-torn Vietnam by boat in search of safety. Many were crammed onto decrepit vessels where they endured pirate attacks, theft, physical assault, unimaginably squalid living conditions and death. [Download PDF]
Sydney Morning Herald
Pick of the Week
Reviews by Bruce Elder
Sunday Morning Post – Shelter from the Storm
Carina Hoang is proud to have been labelled a “boatperson”, because she credits the experience with having shaped her life. The Saigon-born 47-year-old said it made her stronger, more compassionate and more resilient than she would otherwise have been. It also led to her first book, Boat People: Personal Stories from the Vietnam Exodus 1975- 96, which is being released this month. Boat People is a powerful collection of testimonials by 38 people with direct involvement in the flight of some 1.5 million people from communist Vietnam. [Download PDF]
Review in Scoop Magazine
Boffin bookstore – Perth WA
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Personal stories from the Vietnam Exodus – Edited by Carina Hoang
Coffee Table book, 252 pages of 38 short stories with color illustrations, and hundreds of black and white photos.
This important book brings together a collection of survival tales from the largest mass migration of human beings in modern history.
“They piled on top of one another in wooden boats, men, women and children. So desperate to escape their war-torn home, more than a million people would risk everything to tackle the high seas in search of safe haven. Many never made it to land. Those who did endured unimaginable horrors. Told simply in their own words, Boat People gives voice to some of the survivors of the Vietnamese exodus, the largest mass migration in modern history. Their stories will make you weep. They will make you angry. Above all, they will make you wonder at the ability of the human spirit to go on against all odds. This book is a powerful document of a time we should never be allowed to forget – and of a people we should be proud to have given a new home.” THE WEST AUSTRALIAN
The book includes extracts from diaries, letters, and other testimony of former UNHCR officers located in Canada, Indonesia, the US and Australia. Among them is 84-year-old Talbot Bashall, who served as Controller of the Refugee Control Centre in Hong Kong. After so many years, these privileged perspectives on the exodus can finally be shared.
Carina Hoang has also assembled a powerful collection of photographic images, most of which are published for the first time. They are vital to the book’s first objective, which is to preserve the historical record for the education of future generations of the global boat-people diaspora.
The book’s other goal is to tell how the survivors of the exodus have been, on the whole, able to make valuable contributions to the societies that accepted them.
“Although many stories about boat people have been documented, Boat People will offer possibly the broadest account of the historic exodus, to enhance general understanding of what we, the boat people, went through. It will be especially beneficial for our children; they need to know about this significant part of their heritage, and to appreciate the sacrifices made by their forebears.” Carina Hoang – 2010