Annamese Origin

My post on the origin of my novel No-Accounts brought a question about another of my books, Last of the Annamese.

First an explanation of the word “Annamese.” An alternative name for Vietnam is An Nam. The name Việt Nam is derived from the Chinese Yuènán (越南), which means (those who) cross over to the south or the troublemakers in the south. That’s the name the Chinese gave to the non-Chinese tribe living in southern China many centuries ago who eventually moved south into what is now Vietnam. The Chinese words Ān Nán (安南) mean “peace in the south.” In Vietnamese, that becomes An Nam, one of the names for the Vietnamese nation during the many centuries of its existence. A resident of An Nam is called an Annamese.

One of the principal characters in Last of the Annamese is South Vietnamese Marine Colonel Thanh. He loathes the name Việt Nam because he doesn’t like being considered a troublemaker. He much prefers the name An Nam—he sees himself as a peacemaker. The question left for the reader to answer is, as South Vietnam falls to the northern Vietnamese communists, which of the characters in the story is the last of the Annamese.

Last of the Annamese is the story of my escape under fire when Saigon fell to the North Vietnamese on April 29, 1975, fictionalized by attributing the events of that disaster to people other than myself. I wrote the book to help me cope with my Post-Traumatic Stress Injury (PTSI) by venting. No event described in that novel is fabrication—it all really did happen.

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