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Vietnamese and US author co-operate on Agent Orange book

Update: October, 10/2018 - 09:00
Joining hands at last: Cover of the book ‘From Enemies to Partners: Việt Nam, the US and Agent Orange’. — VNS Photo Công Thành
Viet Nam News

ĐÀ NẴNG — Authors Lê Kế Sơn and Charles Bailey have introduced the book From Enemies to Partners: Việt Nam, the US and Agent Orange to Vietnamese readers after three years of work.

The 258-page book, which was released in English by the publisher G. Anton in the US in early 2018, and in Vietnamese by the Thế Giới Publishing house in Việt Nam in August, is the result of endless efforts by the two authors in seeking documents and interviewing AO victims, officials, veterans and local people in Việt Nam and the US.

“It’s been long and hard working days for two of us. We just try to tell the story of dioxin and AO victims as well as the disastrous consequences of the toxic chemical,” Sơn said as he introduced the book in Đà Nẵng early October.

“Đà Nẵng was not a major site for the dioxin-spraying campaign during the American war in Việt Nam, but the airport of Đà Nẵng had been contaminated with dioxin as it was a warehouse for the chemical,” Sơn said.

“Many people in the city and neighbouring provinces had contact with dioxin in the jungle when they joined the Army of Việt Nam during the war, and their descendants consequently suffered birth defects due to the dioxin,” he said.

Sơn said the 10-chapter book aims to call for dioxin-producing companies to accept more responsibility for easing the pain of AO victims both in Việt Nam and the US.

He hoped that the US and Việt Nam would sign an agreement for long-term support for disabled persons and AO victims.

Dr Sơn, who worked for the Việt Nam National Steering Committee for Agent Orange Impact Relief, said Agent Orange/dioxin was a point of  bitterness between the US and Việt Nam in the past, but the two sides have come closer together in dealing with dioxin contamination in Đà Nẵng’s airport and Biên Hòa airport. They plan to work on other hot spots in Việt Nam in the near future.

He said many efforts had been made by both sides to ease the harmful effects of herbicides containing dioxin and to help AO/dioxin victims.  

Charles Bailey, an advisor on AO in Việt Nam, said: “We thought we could write the book in 18 months but it took three years. We wanted our book to be a complete and comprehensive source of information on Agent Orange/dioxin. We believe we have achieved this.”

“The initial print run for the Vietnamese edition was 500 copies. The English edition is available as an e-book as well as in hard and softcover from either Barnes and Noble or Amazon,” Bailey replied to the Việt Nam News in an e-mail interview. 

“The US and Việt Nam have made a start on addressing the Agent Orange/ dioxin legacy. Our book provides a reference point and guidelines to make sure the two countries finish the job.”

In the book’s preface, Christine Todd Whitman, former governor of New Jersey and administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), notes, There are no two people more qualified to speak on this subject than Charles Bailey and Dr. Lê Kế Sơn. Their work has changed lives for the better.”

In the book’s preface, Dr. Edwin A. Martini, author of Agent Orange: History, Science, and the Politics of Uncertainty, writes: “This is exactly the book that is needed to advance the conversations surrounding Agent Orange, dioxin and the legacies of the American War in Việt Nam…. This book should be read by leaders, policy makers and all students of wars and their legacies”

The thoroughness with which Sơn and Bailey examine the Agent Orange/dioxin situation is spellbinding. They have assembled a wealth of data that arguably amounts to more information on the topic than may be found in any other single publication,” says a note from the Vietnam Veterans of America.— VNS

Reaching readers: Lê Kế Sơn and Charles Bailey, the two authors of the book ‘From Enemies to Partners: Việt Nam, the US and Agent Orange’, present books to readers at the book introduction event in Đà Nẵng city. — VNS Photo Công Thành

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