NCAS historian launches new book on the Vietnam War

Monash Historian, Associate Professor Nathalie Nguyen, celebrated the launch of her book, South Vietnamese Soldiers: Memories of the Vietnam War and After, on May 9th 2016.


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Associate Professor Nathalie Nguyen with Ms Thanh-Kham Tran-Dang, Ms Kim Vu, and Mrs Cam Nguyen from the Australian Vietnamese Women’s Association Inc.

“South Vietnamese soldiers are the forgotten soldiers of the Vietnam War,” notes Monash University historian Associate Professor Nathalie Nguyen. “My book breaks new ground by exploring their untold histories.”

The launch of her new book South Vietnamese Soldiers: Memories of the Vietnam War and After (Praeger, 2016) was celebrated at a major community outreach event at the Multicultural Hub Drill Hall in Melbourne on 9 May 2016.

The 130 attendees included members of the Vietnamese community, Vietnamese and Australian Vietnam veterans, scholars, politicians and members of the general public. The launch was sponsored by the Australian Vietnamese Women’s Association Inc. (AVWA), a partner organization for Associate Professor Nguyen’s two ARC fellowships (2005-15). The National Centre for Australian Studies also provided a subsidy for the event.

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The launch of Associate Professor Nathalie Nguyen’s new book was celebrated at the Multicultural Hub Drill Hall in Melbourne on 9 May 2016.

The book was launched by Peter Edwards, Official Historian of Australia’s Involvement in Southeast Asian Conflicts 1948-75 with an opening address by Alistair Thomson, Professor of History at Monash.

South-Vietnamese-Soldiers-Book-COverSpeakers included Members of Parliament from both sides of politics who have supported the Vietnamese community in Victoria: the Hon. Luke Donnellan, Minister for Roads, Road Safety and Ports and State Member for Narre Warren North, and the Hon. Murray Thompson, Member of the Legislative Assembly for Sandringham.

South Vietnamese Soldiers is the outcome of Associate Professor Nguyen’s four-year ARC Future Fellowship project on “Forgotten Histories: Vietnamese Veterans in Australia” (2011-15). Two generations and all branches of the armed forces are represented in the book: the Army, Navy, Air Force, Rangers, Marines, Airborne Division, Regional and Popular Forces, and the Women’s Armed Forces Corps.

Oral history interviews were conducted in English and Vietnamese, with some French terms used by older veterans. The oldest veteran featured was born in 1917 and first saw service in North Africa during the Second World War. He was present at the launch.

Associate Professor Nathalie Nguyen with Mr Vu Hoai Duc, one of the veterans who is featured in her book, and his grandson.
Associate Professor Nathalie Nguyen with Mr Vu Hoai Duc, one of the veterans who is featured in her book, and his grandson.

Associate Professor Nguyen’s project resulted in the creation and establishment of a key new oral history collection at the National Library of Australia. “The accounts of South Vietnamese veterans are a part of Vietnam’s history that can now be preserved for a time when Vietnam can finally acknowledge them,” she says.

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