I read 3 books this past month, the first of which was a real page turner. I couldn't put it down. If you want a great biography, check out the "The Girl in the Picture". The third book had lots of timely reminders so that I don't get too run down. I had hoped to finish a fourth book but I was pre-occupied for most of August with writing and refining a research proposal in preparation for applying for a doctoral program.
The Girl in the Picture
"The Girl in the Picture” is about a girl and her family caught in the midst of the war in Vietnam. The girl, Kim Phuc, was the subject of the famous war-time photo of a young girl running naked out of a village that had been hit by napalm. It is a riveting, page-turning, biography, and gives a good window into what life was like for a normal family before, during, and after the war in Vietnam (not to mention an interesting picture of life in Castro's Cuba). I learned many details about the Vietnam War that I had previously just heard in passing but not really understood (such as the significance of the Tet Offensive). Interestingly, when Kim grows up she becomes a Christian through a church in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), although this part of her experience makes up only a minor part of the narrative. This book is a biography as well as a cultural and political history, and author Denise Chong gives a sympathetic and well-written account of Kim Phuc’s life and the global events in which she became an unexpected participant. You definitely learn about Cold War politics in this book, but the author seems to do a good job of telling the facts without turning the book into a political statement. It is Kim’s story, rather than a political agenda, that drives the narrative.