100 books like River of Time

By Jon Swain,

Here are 100 books that River of Time fans have personally recommended if you like River of Time. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Quiet American

David Hagerty Author Of They Tell Me You Are Wicked

From my list on political crime fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in Chicago in the waning days of Mayor Richard J. Daley’s machine, which politicized everything from schools to loading zones. Everyone—whether they were civil servants or small business owners—had to pledge loyalty to Da Boss, Hizzoner, or suffer the consequences. As a result, I’ve always gravitated to crime stories with a political element, one showing the effects of big conflicts on regular people. And I’ve written about the same. 

David's book list on political crime fiction

David Hagerty Why did David love this book?

Before the U.S. entered the war in Vietnam, Graham Greene forecast its disastrous consequences. His love triangle, set amid the escalating conflict, perfectly captures the naiveté of American interventionism overseas. I love the subtext of the tale, which is narrated by an embittered British journalist. Although it’s never spoken, we intuit that he is addicted to opium and living the life of a dissolute expatriate. Fowler watches in horror as a U.S. diplomat tries to steal both the woman and the country he has adopted. He claims impartiality and indifference until he cannot any longer.

By Graham Greene,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked The Quiet American as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Graham Greene's classic exploration of love, innocence, and morality in Vietnam

"I never knew a man who had better motives for all the trouble he caused," Graham Greene's narrator Fowler remarks of Alden Pyle, the eponymous "Quiet American" of what is perhaps the most controversial novel of his career. Pyle is the brash young idealist sent out by Washington on a mysterious mission to Saigon, where the French Army struggles against the Vietminh guerrillas.

As young Pyle's well-intentioned policies blunder into bloodshed, Fowler, a seasoned and cynical British reporter, finds it impossible to stand safely aside as an observer. But…


Book cover of Saigon: An Epic Novel of Vietnam

Mandaley Perkins Author Of Hanoi, Adieu - A Bitterweet Memoir Of French Indochina

From my list on the French in Vietnam.

Why am I passionate about this?

In the crucial period after the end of WW2 the stage became set for thirty years of war in Vietnam, yet there’s very little written of it. My stepfather was there, and Hanoi, Adieu is a memoir of his experiences and his sentiments about what happened in the country he’d grown to love. I have a fascination for Southeast Asian history and he was keen for me to tell his story such that readers could absorb the history through his book. I have recommended here those I enjoyed and found useful from a historical or atmospheric perspective in the larger context of French Indochina. I hope you will too.

Mandaley's book list on the French in Vietnam

Mandaley Perkins Why did Mandaley love this book?

If you don’t mind a long read and are after a novel rather than non-fiction then this is my pick. It is an epic saga of the last decades of the French in Indochina, following the story of American Joseph Sherman who becomes enchanted by the country and entangled in the lives of two different families, one French and one Vietnamese. It is essentially a love story involving a Mandarin’s daughter but it will give you a flavour of the political plot twists and military conflicts that were the reality of this turbulent period of history. The book spans 50 years to the end of the Vietnam War in 1975, but refreshingly does not try to push any real political perspective. Once again, it is a novel but it will certainly give you a taste of Indochine and an idea of the grand sweep of Vietnam’s tumultuous history. 

By Anthony Grey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Saigon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An epic saga of love, blood, and destiny in twentieth-century Vietnam: "This superb novel could well be the War and Peace of our age" (San Francisco Chronicle).

Joseph Sherman first visits Saigon-the capital of French colonial Cochin-China-as a young man on his father's hunting trip in 1925. But the exotic land lures him back again and again as a traveler, soldier, and reporter. He returns because of his fascination for the enchanting city-and for Lan, a mandarin's daughter he cannot forget.

Over five decades Joseph's life becomes enmeshed with the political intrigues of two of Saigon's most influential families, the…


Book cover of Vietnam: A History in Documents

Mandaley Perkins Author Of Hanoi, Adieu - A Bitterweet Memoir Of French Indochina

From my list on the French in Vietnam.

Why am I passionate about this?

In the crucial period after the end of WW2 the stage became set for thirty years of war in Vietnam, yet there’s very little written of it. My stepfather was there, and Hanoi, Adieu is a memoir of his experiences and his sentiments about what happened in the country he’d grown to love. I have a fascination for Southeast Asian history and he was keen for me to tell his story such that readers could absorb the history through his book. I have recommended here those I enjoyed and found useful from a historical or atmospheric perspective in the larger context of French Indochina. I hope you will too.

Mandaley's book list on the French in Vietnam

Mandaley Perkins Why did Mandaley love this book?

If you are a serious student of history then you will be fascinated by this book because it tells a story in letters and official documents of how events in Vietnam unfolded the way they did. The book is a history of communications and policy documents between all the key decision-makers from the end of the 2nd World War in 1945 through two more wars, one with the French and another with the United States, ending in 1975. It reminds us how easily things could have swung a different way and, for me, raises many questions. Could thirty years of war have been avoided had there not been a power vacuum in North Vietnam at the end of WW2 when the French military was left in incarceration by the small anti-colonial US occupation force, leading to the outbreak of violence and chaos between Nationalist Vietnamese, Communists posing as Nationalists,…

By Gareth Porter (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Vietnam as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of Little China: The Annamese lands

Mandaley Perkins Author Of Hanoi, Adieu - A Bitterweet Memoir Of French Indochina

From my list on the French in Vietnam.

Why am I passionate about this?

In the crucial period after the end of WW2 the stage became set for thirty years of war in Vietnam, yet there’s very little written of it. My stepfather was there, and Hanoi, Adieu is a memoir of his experiences and his sentiments about what happened in the country he’d grown to love. I have a fascination for Southeast Asian history and he was keen for me to tell his story such that readers could absorb the history through his book. I have recommended here those I enjoyed and found useful from a historical or atmospheric perspective in the larger context of French Indochina. I hope you will too.

Mandaley's book list on the French in Vietnam

Mandaley Perkins Why did Mandaley love this book?

If you want to immerse yourself in the old French Indochina then this could be the book for you. Published in 1942 it is written by a Brit who describes it as a travel book, but it is a travel book that is replete with history. That the author travelled the Annamese (Vietnamese) lands during a time of peace made it of particular interest to me when working with Michel on his early years from 1936 in Vietnam for my book. In Little China one can immerse oneself in the life of the Annamese people through Brodrick’s descriptive prose of everyday scenes. The book has not only a historical Chronological Table, but an Appendix, a short Bibliography, a map, and a comprehensive Index in case you happen to be looking for something specific. It was published by Oxford University Press.

By Alan Houghton Brodrick,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Little China as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of Street Without Joy: The French Debacle in Indochina

Myra MacPherson Author Of Long Time Passing: Vietnam and the Haunted Generation

From my list on Vietnam from a multitude of sources.

Why am I passionate about this?

Myra MacPherson is an acclaimed author of five books and a journalist. She was hired by Ben Bradlee for the Washington Post where she spent twenty years and specialized in politics, in-depth human interest stories, profiles, and covered five presidential campaigns. During four decades of reporting she interviewed famous figures such as Fidel Castro, Helen Keller, and the mother of serial killer, Ted Bundy, as well as several Presidents.  Of all the milestone political moments MacPherson covered nothing impressed friends and family more than the 1964 landmark and legendary first American live concert of the Beatles (in the Nation’s Capital), which propelled them into international fame. MacPherson has continued her long career as a journalist, with articles in national magazines on the internet. Her most current -- Forgotten Father of the Abortion Movement, in The New Republic -- tackles abortion rights, which remains a highly controversial politicized battle nearly a half-century since abortion was declared legal in 1973.

Myra's book list on Vietnam from a multitude of sources

Myra MacPherson Why did Myra love this book?

This brilliant classic of military history and human folly, first published in 1961, should have been read by America’s “best and brightest” architects of America’s 10-year fiasco. French Journalist and historian Bernard Fall vividly captured the sights, sounds, and smells of the brutal conflict between the French and the Communist-led Vietnamese nationalists. I get angry every time I think of the arrogance of America’s leaders who never examined Fall’s insightful warnings of the futility of jungle fighting that would defeat the United States in the bloody years to follow. Fall’s blueprint for disaster graphically shows that even with lethal modern military force, the French could not defeat the hit-and-run tactics, ambushes, booby traps, and nighttime raids that would become drastically familiar to American troops. The final French downfall ended at Dien Bien Phu in 1954. Street Without Joy has remained in print for half a century and I stress…

By Bernard B. Fall,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Street Without Joy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

First published in 1961 by Stackpole Books, Street without Joy is a classic of military history. Journalist and scholar Bernard Fall vividly captured the sights, sounds, and smells of the brutal-- and politically complicated--conflict between the French and the Communist-led Vietnamese nationalists in Indochina. The French fought to the bitter end, but even with the lethal advantages of a modern military, they could not stave off the Viet Minh insurgency of hit-and-run tactics, ambushes, booby traps, and nighttime raids. The final French defeat came at Dien Bien Phu in 1954, setting the stage for American involvement and a far bloodier…


Book cover of The Lover

Victor Lodato Author Of Honey

From my list on packing an emotional punch.

Why am I passionate about this?

In addition to writing novels, I’m also a playwright. Whatever form I work in, I’m drawn to character, drama, and emotion. I aspire to write literary page-turners that feel as rich and complicated as real life.  Also, I want the endings of my books to slay readers and break their hearts. Of course, when I say that, I’m not necessarily speaking of sorrow; sometimes your heart breaks from expanding, from a surfeit of feeling. Your heart breaks only to grow larger.

Victor's book list on packing an emotional punch

Victor Lodato Why did Victor love this book?

This novel about a fifteen-year-old girl’s affair with an older, wealthy man is a provocative exploration of memory. The novel’s language is arch and lyric, always making me feel as if I’ve been hypnotized.

The book is a love story, but in this story, love doesn’t lead to salvation. Still, the splendid, haunting language lifts the tale into the realm of the mythic.

By Marguerite Duras, Barbara Bray (translator),

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Lover as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A sensational international bestseller, and winner of Frances' coveted Prix Goncourt, 'The Lover' is an unforgettable portrayal of the incandescent relationship between two lovers, and of the hate that slowly tears the girl's family apart.

Saigon, 1930s: a poor young French girl meets the elegant son of a wealthy Chinese family. Soon they are lovers, locked into a private world of passion and intensity that defies all the conventions of their society.

A sensational international bestseller, 'The Lover' is disturbing, erotic, masterly and simply unforgettable.


Book cover of Running on Empty: Canada and the Indochinese Refugees, 1975-1980

Valerie Knowles Author Of Strangers at Our Gates: Canadian Immigration and Immigration Policy, 1540-2015

From my list on capturing Canada’s colourful immigration history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Canadian freelance writer, who has a BA in honours history from Smith College, an MA in history from McGill University, and a Bachelor in Journalism from Carleton University. As I have a special interest in Canadian history and Canadian biography, I have authored books in these subject areas. These include an award-winning biography of Sir William Van Horne, a polymath and railway general who pushed through the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and Cairine Wilson. Canada’s first woman senator, who was celebrated for her work with refugees in the 1930s and 1940s, and a best-selling survey of Canadian immigration and immigration policy, Strangers At Our Gates.

Valerie's book list on capturing Canada’s colourful immigration history

Valerie Knowles Why did Valerie love this book?

The fall of Saigon in 1975, inspired the largest and most ambitious refugee resettlement program in Canada’s history. In this compelling book, former Canadian immigration officers recount the experiences of a few dozen men and women who visited 70 remote refugee camps to arrange for the selection and resettlement of thousands of individuals displaced by oppression and war in eight different countries. The long days and humid and trying conditions under which these officers worked — sometimes sleeping on their work tables and subsisting on green tea and dried noodles – make for a gripping narrative. But the history also describes the 1976 Immigration Act, which established new refugee procedures and introduced private sponsorship. Ultimately, Canada accepted and resettled 60,000 refugees, half of whom were privately sponsored.

By Michael Molloy, Peter Duschinsky, Kurt Jensen , Robert Shalka

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Running on Empty as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The fall of Saigon in April 1975 resulted in the largest and most ambitious refugee resettlement effort in Canada's history. Running on Empty presents the challenges and successes of this bold refugee resettlement program. It traces the actions of a few dozen men and women who travelled to seventy remote refugee camps, worked long days in humid conditions, subsisted on dried noodles and green tea, and sometimes slept on their worktables while rats scurried around them - all in order to resettle thousands of people displaced by war and oppression. After initially accepting 7,000 refugees from camps in Guam, Hong…


Book cover of Anti-Memoirs

Jere Van Dyk Author Of Captive: My Time as a Prisoner of the Taliban

From my list on courage, camaraderie, and survival in the face of danger.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in Washington State. My father and my uncles fought in WWII; one was captured in Africa, and one was the first to fly over the Himalayas. My father wanted me to be a missionary, but I was drawn to the world. I became a runner and loved the camaraderie in track and field, but I was uncomfortable in college and didn't like my coach. I wanted to go far away. I began my career as an aide in the U.S. Senate but left and became a journalist in Afghanistan. Each of these books is a story of courage, camaraderie, and survival. I hope you enjoy them.

Jere's book list on courage, camaraderie, and survival in the face of danger

Jere Van Dyk Why did Jere love this book?

I was sitting in a cafe in Paris with a friend from Texas. I had just finished my time in the Army and was studying on the GI Bill. My friend was reading a book. I asked what it was about. He looked at the cover. I would like it, he said and gave it to me. I couldn't put the book down.

He dedicated the book to Mrs. John Fitzgerald Kennedy, I learned that John Kennedy toasted him at a White House dinner in his honor as "the man we all wanted to be," For years I too wanted to be like him. As a young man, he went to French Indochina and lived in China, struggling then.

He wrote Man's Fate, his first novel, which made him famous. He was a pilot in the early days of the Spanish Civil War. He made a documentary about the…

By Andre Malraux, Terence Kilmartin (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Anti-Memoirs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Reprint from the French edition. Five printings plus a book club edition. André Malraux (1901 - 1976) was a French adventurer, award-winning author, and statesman. Having traveled extensively in Indochina and China, Malraux was noted especially for his novel entitled La Condition Humaine (Man's Fate) (1933), which won the Prix Goncourt. He was appointed by General Charles de Gaulle as Minister of Information (1945-1946), then as Minister of State (1958-1959), and the first Minister of Cultural Affairs, serving during De Gaulle's entire presidency (1959-1969).


Book cover of Hell In A Very Small Place: The Siege Of Dien Bien Phu

Joel Struthers Author Of Appel: A Canadian in the French Foreign Legion

From my list on life in the French Foreign Legion.

Why am I passionate about this?

One has to learn about France's Military history to understand the Legion. I served in her ranks, and my efforts are to help educate those interested in facts. That is why I wrote the book Appel: A Canadian in the French Foreign Legion and continue to laisse with the Legion to try and help increase recruitment.

Joel's book list on life in the French Foreign Legion

Joel Struthers Why did Joel love this book?

My 5th choice which I’m currently listening to is not directly Legion related however for those who are interested in the Legion’s history The 1954 Siege of Dien Bien Phu is an important one. Having visited Dien Bien Phu as a tourist, and to pay my respects to the Legionnaires who fought. So, the more I can read and or listen to about this pitch battle the better. The author, acclaimed scholar, and reporter was a prominent war correspondent in Indochina during the 1950s and 1960s. 

By Bernard B. Fall,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Hell In A Very Small Place as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The 1954 battle of Dien Bien Phu ranks with Stalingrad and Tet for what it ended (imperial ambitions), what it foretold (American involvement), and what it symbolized: A guerrilla force of Viet Minh destroyed a technologically superior French army, convincing the Viet Minh that similar tactics might prevail in battle with the U.S.


Book cover of Legend: The Incredible Story of Green Beret Sergeant Roy Benavidez's Heroic Mission to Rescue a Special Forces Team Caught Beh

John Podlaski Author Of Cherries: A Vietnam War Novel

From my list on about the Vietnam War.

Why am I passionate about this?

I served as an infantryman in Vietnam with both the 25th ID and the 101st Airborne. Curiosity about what other units did during the war drove me to read about their exploits and learn about what else took place outside of my little part of the war. I am also the admin of a website dedicated to the Vietnam War and its Warriors. My intent over the last eleven years is to educate the public and continue our legacy.  

John's book list on about the Vietnam War

John Podlaski Why did John love this book?

Tells the story of a Special Forces group inserted into Cambodia who unknowingly landed on the fringes of an NVA Division basecamp. They are compromised and fight to survive. Meanwhile, other units are trying to rescue the beleaguered troops and Americans are dying in their attempt. Sgt. Benevidez repels to the ground, treating wounded soldiers, organizing their retreat, and battling the enemy – severely wounded and left for dead. His actions warranted the Medal Of Honor. An uplifting story about a special soldier who actually survived the ordeal.

By Eric Blehm,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Legend as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The true story of the U.S. Army’s 240th Assault Helicopter Company and a Green Beret Staff Sergeant's heroic mission to rescue a Special Forces team trapped behind enemy lines during the Vietnam War, from New York Times bestselling author Eric Blehm. 

On May 2, 1968, a twelve-man Special Forces team covertly infiltrated a small clearing in the jungles of neutral Cambodia—where U.S. forces were forbidden to operate. Their objective, just miles over the Vietnam border, was to collect evidence that proved the North Vietnamese Army was using the Cambodian sanctuary as a major conduit for supplying troops and materiel to…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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