|Eyewitness: Journalist Tran Mai Hanh (wearing dark glasses) poses for a photo with VNA colleagues at an entrance to Sai Gon in the early morning of April 30, 1975. — VNA/VNS Photo Van Bao
HA NOI (VNS)— The fall of American-backed Sai Gon regime and the fates of most of its leaders are vividly described in a new, historical novel just released by the National Political Publishing House.
Bien Ban Chien Tranh 1-2-3-4.75 (War Minutes January-April, 1975), is authored by former Vietnam News Agency (VNA) journalist Tran Mai Hanh, who was part of the agency's special mission following key military units marching to liberate Sai Gon in the spring of 1975.
The 19-chapter novel is based on interviews with and confessions by many figures in key positions in the Sai Gon regime. It depicts in detail the collapse of defence lines around Sai Gon; drawing on original telegraphs, meeting minutes of the Sai Gon regime leaders and news printed in newspapers and broadcast on Sai Gon radio between January and April 1975.
"I had been working on the novel for dozens of years," Hanh told Viet Nam News. "Time has not faded but highlighted further the Vietnamese people's Great Victory of Spring 1975 under the wise guidance of the Party. I think I was lucky to witness the victory and get close access to original materials of the rival side so that I could sketch both a general and detailed picture of the (US-backed) regime's collapse."
Journalist and poet Doan Ngoc Thu, who is with the Viet Nam Plus online newspaper, said this is a book that is worth reading because "it is a long news story without any comment or subjective opinion from the author".
In an article introducing the book, she wrote: "It exposes an indispensable truth that there is no ‘win-lose' notion, there is only a certain fall of injustice and the final official overwhelming prevalence of justice, which has been based on historical evidence by a talented and passionate journalist."
An introductory blurb in the book by poet Mai Linh, general director of the To Quoc (Father Land) online newspaper, also underlines the value of the book. It says: "History is never old. If it lays a great value on truth, which is worth searching for, the older the history is, the newer value it brings along. Antiques are invaluable."
A journalist with the VNA between 1965 and 1995, Hanh now works as a senior advisor of the To Quoc.
He has published several collections of short stories and reportage including Nang Thu Bon (Sunshine over Thu Bon River), Tinh Yeu va An Tu Hinh (Love and the Death Sentence) and Ngay Tan The (Apocalypse). — VNS