Paperback, 532 pages, 9x6, English
by Gayle L. Morrison
From 1961–75, the US Central Intelligence Agency trained, armed, and supported Hmong General Vang Pao’s guerrilla soldiers in the fight against communist Pathet Lao and North Vietnamese Army troops during the “secret war” in Laos. When the US abruptly withdrew from Vietnam and neighboring Laos in the spring of 1975, victorious communist regimes took control of both countries. In Laos, US-allied Hmong soon faced reprisals from their former enemies.
This is not history as seen from 30,000 feet above. It is not theory, nor is it abstract. The speakers give critical insight into why the anti-communist resistance was so widely supported by Hmong in Laos, Thailand, and the US in the 1980s—and why it did not succeed.
Using oral history narratives from 101 survivors, Gayle Morrison uncovers and weaves together first-hand accounts from the Hmong perspective of the horror facing more than 100,000 people who fled from their villages into the jungles. There they banded together for protection by creating multiple armed resistance areas. Their raw, compelling portrayals draw the reader into the intimate details of a brutal time in Hmong history when half of those who fled died from military attacks, disease, starvation, chemical poisoning, drowning, or imprisonment. Sometimes resembling dark fiction, this is the terrible reality of what can happen to allies left behind in the wake of an American military withdrawal.