Cloth $25.00 ISBN: 9781916346307 Published March 2021
An e-book edition will be published.

On The Ho Chi Minh Trail

The Blood Road, The Women Who Defended It, The Legacy

Sherry Buchanan

On The Ho Chi Minh Trail

Sherry Buchanan

Distributed for Asia Ink

280 pages | 47 color images, 12 maps | 5 1/4 x 8 3/4
Cloth $25.00 ISBN: 9781916346307 Published March 2021
E-book $25.00 ISBN: 9781916346314 Will Publish March 2021
Part travelogue, part history, and part reflective meditation on conflict and reconciliation, Sherry Buchanan’s new book offers both a personal and historical exploration of the Ho Chi Minh Trail, highlighting the critical role women militia and soldiers played in defending the Ho Chi Minh Trail during the Vietnam War. Accompanied by two travelling companions, Buchanan winds her way from Hanoi in the north to Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon, in the south. Driving through the spectacular scenery of Vietnam and Laos, she encounters locations from the Truong Son mountains, the Phong Nha Caves, ancient citadels and Confucian temples to the Khmer Temple of Wat Phu at the western-most point of the Trail in Laos.

Buchanan records her interactions—both scheduled and spontaneous—with those who experienced the Vietnam War firsthand, and these conversations with combatants and civilians provide new perspectives on the War. She listens to the women who defended the Trail roads against the greatest bombing campaign in modern times, walks through minefields with the demolition teams hunting for unexploded ordnance, and meets American veterans who have returned to Vietnam with an urge to “do something.” Buchanan weaves informative, and often humorous, tales from her journey with excerpts from the accounts of others, situating the locations she visits in their historical and political context. On the Ho Chi Minh Trail brings together geography, history, and personal accounts to readdress the culture of indifference to the War, bringing to light the scale of the tragedy, its lasting legacies, and our memory of it.
Contents
Preface Mapping the Trail Chapters and MapsChapters 1 to 6 The Trail through the north of Vietnam Chapters 7 to 9 The Trail through Laos Chapters 10 & 11 The Trail through the south of Vietnam Doing the Trail Notes Readings & References
Review Quotes
Foreword Reviews
"Buchanan’s interview style gives the women space to tell their own stories in their own words, reviving their youthful energy and dedication. . . . Also included are photographs that capture Vietnam’s beauty and contrasts—of mountain ranges swathed in blue mists that hide steep, death-dealing ravines; of a tank abandoned fifty years ago that rusts at the edge of a rice field. On the Ho Chi Minh Trail is a satisfying cultural history with insights into Vietnam and the women who fought for it."
The Bookseller
"Combining travelogue, history, interviews, art, and 'endless empathy', this reveals the hidden history of the women who defended the Ho Chi Minh Trail against the most ferocious bombardment in modern times, during the Vietnam War."
Erin Hogan, author of Spiral Jetta
“I look forward to giving a copy of On the Ho Chi Minh Trail to my father, who served in the Navy in Da Nang. I have no doubt that it would offer him—and all of the book’s readers—an illuminating, creative, and revelatory view of this conflict that continues to haunt the American psyche.”
Melanne Verveer, former US Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues
“This is a fascinating account of the largely untold story of the courageous women who played a strategic role for the North by safeguarding the major supply route from North Vietnam to the combatants waging the war in the South. Buchannan provides new insights into the long conflict by illuminating the critical contributions of women who not only undertook a very dangerous mission in an extremely harsh environment, but also became a powerful force for reconciliation at the war’s end. We get to travel the Ho Chi Minh Trail with the author, becoming present-day witnesses to the compelling history of women who defended the Blood Road decades ago.”
Christian G. Appy, professor of history at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and author of American Reckoning: The Vietnam War and Our National Identity
"Buchanan takes us to a beautiful and haunted land where  hundreds of thousands of young women and men risked their lives in a staggering effort to forge a route to national unification against the greatest military power on earth. Combining travelogue, history, interviews, art, and endless empathy, On The Ho Chi Minh Trail is a compelling meditation on the relationship between past and present, war and peace, memory and reconciliation."
Myra McPherson, author of Long Time Passing: Vietnam and the Haunted Generation
"Buchanan takes us on the Ho Chi Minh Trail in a riveting and as relevant a journey today as it was fifty years ago. She charts new territory—-especially in the vivid, often heartbreaking stories of women who fought in the war as teenagers and the forced roles of housewives who stood on rooftops to shoot down U S planes that bombed their homes. Buchanan details—at times too much to absorb—the countless centuries of Vietnam's perilous path to freedom. But her vibrant writing and crystal clear interviews with women—their youthful dreams and present day realities—shine a powerful light on a war and a previously unexplored dimension that should never be forgotten."
Jessica Harrison-Hall, curator, British Museum
"A riveting read of a hidden history. Buchanan reveals the untold story of the young women in Vietnamese war drawings who patriotically defended the Ho Chi Minh Trail during the American–Vietnam War (1965–1975). This book is essential reading for anyone wishing to understand Asian history from new perspectives."
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