Tragic Mountains: The Hmong, the Americans, and the Secret Wars for Laos, 1942-1992

Paperback, 580 pages, 6x9, English
by Jane Hamilton-Merritt
ISBN: 978-0-253-20756-2

From Publishers WeeklyThe Hmong, a mountain people of Laos, were U.S. allies during the Vietnam war. A noble, friendly folk with a 4000-year-old culture, they are the object of a genocidal campaign by the communist Laotian and Vietnamese governments. In this bitter, tragic and disturbing saga, Asian scholar/journalist/photographer Hamilton-Merritt documents the horrible suffering endured by the Hmong since they were abandoned by the U.S. in 1975. Her collection of eyewitness testimonies establishes that the Laotian-Vietnamese forces have field-tested chemical and biological toxins by using Hmong villages as targets (the "yellow rain" dismissed by the Western media as bee dung). The situation is especially urgent because those thousands of Hmong who succeeded in escaping to Thailand are now being forcibly repatriated to their homeland, where they face extermination as a despised minority and former "running dogs of the imperialist." Hamilton-Merritt's impressive study, one hopes, will lead to the belated U.S. recognition of responsibility for the plight of the Hmong. Photos included. 
From Library JournalIn a sideshow to the Vietnam War, the United States and North Vietnam fought a secret war in Laos, with the Hmong people the valiant allies of the Americans. In the end they were deserted by the United States. Some came to this country, but many stayed in Southeast Asia, either as unwelcome refugees in Thailand or subject to imprisonment and genocide (including "yellow rain" attacks) in their native land. The author, a journalist with intimate knowledge of the Hmong, uses hundreds of interviews and her own experience in relating their wartime struggles and frustrated efforts to have their postwar tragedy recognized by the United States and the United Nations. This is an important story, little acknowledged--let alone reported--in the world press. Highly recommended for those who want to know about the history of the Hmong and how they ended in the United States of America.