The Quote from a Passage about Thanh

A friend recently asked me if any single passage in Last of the Annamese offers a microscopic picture of the entire story. I think the answer is no—but if readers disagree with me let me know. The publishers, The Naval Institute Press, picked out one passage they chose to highlight as a way to introduce the reading public to the book. I quoted that passage earlier, but to save you hunting through previous blogs, I quote it again here:

“Thanh boarded his aging C-47 for the flight from Binh Tuy Province back to Saigon. As the aircraft whined upward, its two engines shuddering, he looked down on the wandering La Nga River, the war-scarred town of Hoai Duc, and the mountains northeast, soaking in the January sunshine. Only a matter of time before Hoai Duc and its sister towns of Tanh Linh and Vo Xu fell to the North Vietnamese. Three North Vietnamese regiments and a newly formed division were on the move. He’d talked to the anxious soldiers, urged them to pray and seek serenity, and, although he didn’t use these words, to prepare for defeat and death. The young faces looking up as he spoke, the frightened eyes pleading for hope, had left him depleted. He must not allow himself to sink into despondence as he had the day Phuoc Binh was lost. Too much work left to do. Too many hearts to unburden. Too many souls to comfort.”

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