Cover image for The dust of life : America's children abandoned in Vietnam
Title:
The dust of life : America's children abandoned in Vietnam
Author:
McKelvey, Robert S.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Seattle : University of Washington Press, [1999]

©1999
Physical Description:
xx, 135 pages ; 24 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780295978253

9780295978369
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Item Holds
Searching...
DS556.45.A43 M35 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
Searching...
Searching...
DS556.45.A43 M35 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...

On Order

Summary

Summary

The Dust of Life is a collection of vivid and devastating oral histories of Vietnamese Amerasians. Abandoned during the war by their American fathers, discriminated against by the victorious Communists, and ignored for many years by the American government, they endured life in impoverished Vietnam. Their stories are sad, sometimes tragic, but they are also testimonials to the strength of human resiliency.

While unique in many respects, the Vietnamese Amerasian story also illustrates themes that are tragically universal: neglect of the human by-products of war, the destructiveness of prejudice and racism, the pain of abandonment, and the horrors of life amidst extreme poverty, hostility, and neglect.


Summary

The Dust of Life is a collection of vivid and devastating oral histories of Vietnamese Amerasians. Abandoned during the war by their American fathers, discriminated against by the victorious Communists, and ignored for many years by the American government, they endured life in impoverished Vietnam. Their stories are sad, sometimes tragic, but they are also testimonials to the strength of human resiliency.

While unique in many respects, the Vietnamese Amerasian story also illustrates themes that are tragically universal: neglect of the human by-products of war, the destructiveness of prejudice and racism, the pain of abandonment, and the horrors of life amidst extreme poverty, hostility, and neglect.


Author Notes

Robert S. McKelvey, M.D., is Professor and Director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, Oregon.


Robert S. McKelvey, M.D., is Professor and Director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, Oregon.


Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Of all the mistakes made during the U.S. experience in Vietnam, one of the most shameful was the treatment after the war of the Amerasian children who were products of soldiers' liaisons with Vietnamese women. Already abandoned by their American fathers, most were also abandoned by their mothers at the end of the war. McKelvey eloquently profiles many of those now grown children and their battles to survive in a country that didn't want them. Many Amerasians and their families were banished to "economic development zones" to eke out an existence by farming. Most were teased and tormented so much that few finished school, locking them even further in poverty. Their stories are mostly of heartbreak and loss, toiling hard in an impoverished country, and discrimination. McKelvey sees the Amerasian Homecoming Act of 1987 as too little, too late. Nonetheless, he profiles those who did make it to the U.S. By contrast, they seem luckier than those who were not granted sanctuary here. For all history collections. --Marlene Chamberlain


Library Journal Review

While television accounts of war and civil strife tend to devote substantial time to the plight of the helpless civilian, published accounts largely concentrate on the military and political aspects of the fighting, relegating the civil sector to token treatment. McKelvey, a former Marine Corps officer who served in Vietnam, offers an account of one largely forgotten aspect of the non-military side of that warÄthe children born out of liaisons between American servicemen and Vietnamese women. Now adults, they have spent their lives caught between two societies whose racial and cultural practices have left many of them emotionally shattered. McKelvey, a child psychiatrist at the Oregon Health Sciences University, provides a psychological overview as he narrates the extraordinary problems these folks faced as children and adults. He covers the Amerasian experience in both Vietnam and the United States and concludes with an emotional chapter on a few attempts to locate American fathers. A useful introduction to a neglected subject. Recommended for academic and public libraries.ÄJohn R. Vallely, Siena Coll. Lib., Loudonville, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Booklist Review

Of all the mistakes made during the U.S. experience in Vietnam, one of the most shameful was the treatment after the war of the Amerasian children who were products of soldiers' liaisons with Vietnamese women. Already abandoned by their American fathers, most were also abandoned by their mothers at the end of the war. McKelvey eloquently profiles many of those now grown children and their battles to survive in a country that didn't want them. Many Amerasians and their families were banished to "economic development zones" to eke out an existence by farming. Most were teased and tormented so much that few finished school, locking them even further in poverty. Their stories are mostly of heartbreak and loss, toiling hard in an impoverished country, and discrimination. McKelvey sees the Amerasian Homecoming Act of 1987 as too little, too late. Nonetheless, he profiles those who did make it to the U.S. By contrast, they seem luckier than those who were not granted sanctuary here. For all history collections. --Marlene Chamberlain


Library Journal Review

While television accounts of war and civil strife tend to devote substantial time to the plight of the helpless civilian, published accounts largely concentrate on the military and political aspects of the fighting, relegating the civil sector to token treatment. McKelvey, a former Marine Corps officer who served in Vietnam, offers an account of one largely forgotten aspect of the non-military side of that warÄthe children born out of liaisons between American servicemen and Vietnamese women. Now adults, they have spent their lives caught between two societies whose racial and cultural practices have left many of them emotionally shattered. McKelvey, a child psychiatrist at the Oregon Health Sciences University, provides a psychological overview as he narrates the extraordinary problems these folks faced as children and adults. He covers the Amerasian experience in both Vietnam and the United States and concludes with an emotional chapter on a few attempts to locate American fathers. A useful introduction to a neglected subject. Recommended for academic and public libraries.ÄJohn R. Vallely, Siena Coll. Lib., Loudonville, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xix
1 Who Are the Vietnamese Amerasians?p. 3
Amerasians in Vietnam
2 Growing Up without a Mother or Fatherp. 21
3 Prejudice and Discriminationp. 36
4 Adventurers and Entrepreneursp. 52
Amerasians in the United States
5 Adapting to Life in the United Statesp. 69
6 Expectations and Later Adjustmentp. 79
7 Disabled Amerasiansp. 91
8 Searching for Fatherp. 102
Conclusionp. 115
Glossaryp. 123
Bibliographyp. 127
Indexp. 131
Prefacep. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xix
1 Who Are the Vietnamese Amerasians?p. 3
Amerasians in Vietnam
2 Growing Up without a Mother or Fatherp. 21
3 Prejudice and Discriminationp. 36
4 Adventurers and Entrepreneursp. 52
Amerasians in the United States
5 Adapting to Life in the United Statesp. 69
6 Expectations and Later Adjustmentp. 79
7 Disabled Amerasiansp. 91
8 Searching for Fatherp. 102
Conclusionp. 115
Glossaryp. 123
Bibliographyp. 127
Indexp. 131