This book is really heavy, for it contains not only accounts of the war, but it contains the views of the war. And it is views that we struggle the most to understand, to agree or disagree, to sympathize or to feel indifferent, to admire or to hate. Throughout the book, I have all kinds of emotions. What surprises me is that I am very easy to be moved, but difficult to be angered. This book perhaps has that kind of effect on me, I accept that we're so diverse and different as humans.
I appreciate how the author incorporates stories from all kinds of people to the war, on both sides, of course. There are Vietnamese and Americans, there are North and South Vietnam, there are pro and antiwar. Not so perfectly balanced, but the book to me seems to be a miniature of life, with voices from everywhere. A great part of the book tries to show how the war affected the whole society in US, not just the people directly engaged in combats. Perhaps not all is so-called "traumatized" by the past, but the war certainly leaves its mark on everyone. I am aware of the lack and limit of sources on the Vietnam's side, but all stories are valuable anyway. Still, there is a certain reluctance on the Vietnam's side, as people do not so easily pour out their hearts and thoughts, compared to what I sometimes find in the accounts of some Americans. It's culture, maybe, or it's political, probably, or both.
What is so scary is that history seems to drift away. I don't want us to be obsessed by the past. But there are so many things, so many things to be learnt, to be felt, to be understood. And surely there are still so many things uncovered. Please read the past, please remember that we're rightful and unjust, we're amiable and monstrous, we're idealistic and disillusioned, please remember that right and wrong is so hard to draw a line, please accept who we are. Because only when we accept who we are can we move forward. Ignoring the past will only make us to return to the starting line, and learn everything, bitterly, all over again.