The most recommended books about the Fall of Saigon

Who picked these books? Meet our 10 experts.

10 authors created a book list connected to the all of Saigon, and here are their favorite all of Saigon books.
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Book cover of Catfish and Mandala: A Two-Wheeled Voyage Through the Landscape and Memory of Vietnam

Peter Zheutlin Author Of Spin: A Novel Based on a (Mostly) True Story

From my list on bicycles and cycling.

Who am I?

About thirty years ago I learned that my great-grandaunt Annie was, arguably, the first woman to circle the world by bicycle (1894-1895) and I spent years rescuing her story from the trash bin of history, for she was virtually forgotten for more than a century. An avid cyclist myself, Annie became both my muse and my inspiration. She was an outlandish character who stepped far outside the bounds of what was expected for women of her time; among other things, she was the married mother of three young children when she took off from Boston for fifteen months on the road, and she pioneered sports-related marketing for women, securing corporate sponsors and adorning her body and her bicycle with advertisements wherever she traveled.

Peter's book list on bicycles and cycling

Peter Zheutlin Why did Peter love this book?

This New York Times Notable Book of the Year by a Vietnamese-American who was forced to flee his native country after the fall of Saigon is both travelogue and memoir, beautifully written, and a profound meditation on identity.

By Andrew X. Pham,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Jack Kerouac meets "Wild Swans".' The Times. A voyage through Vietnam's ghost-ridden landscape, at once a moving memoir, travelogue and compelling search for identity.

Vietnamese-born Andrew Pham finally returns to Saigon, not as a success showering money and gifts onto his family, but as an emotional shipwreck, desperate to find out who he really is. When his sister, a post-operative transsexual, committed suicide, Pham sold all his possessions and embarked on a year-long bicycle journey that took him through the Mexican desert; around a thousand-mile loop from Narita to Kyoto in Japan; and, after five months and 2,357 miles, to…


Book cover of Vietnam: A Complete Photographic History

Angel Giacomo Author Of The Jackson MacKenzie Chronicles: In the Eye of the Storm

From my list on war that go beyond the battles.

Who am I?

I am a retired police officer, except I don’t write about law enforcement. I write about the military. My degree is in Political Science and History. I am a meticulous researcher. My emphasis has been on the Vietnam War. My father served in both the U.S. Navy and the Army National Guard. One of my great uncles served in Africa during WWII. His brother during the Occupation of Germany. I have a step-uncle who spent time as a POW in Laos during the Vietnam War. My step-father served in the Army National Guard, and my step-brother in the U.S. Army, Korea and Ft. Hood.

Angel's book list on war that go beyond the battles

Angel Giacomo Why did Angel love this book?

Twenty chapters and 732 pages, not including the Preface, Acknowledgements, Introduction, and Chronology, of the history of the Vietnam War. From the Preface, you are thrown into a photograph-rich hardback book that covers the beginnings of what lured the French to Indochinatrade, to the final surrender in April 1975. Gritty, sometimes horrifying black and white pictures jump out at you from the pages. There are over 2,000 photographs and maps inside the book. It is truly the book for anyone interested in the Vietnam War.

By Michael Maclear, Hal Buell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Vietnam by Michael Maclear Complete Photographic History Hardcover Tess Press


Book cover of The Sympathizer

Zeese Papanikolas Author Of An American Cakewalk: Ten Syncopators of the Modern World

From Zeese's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Grew up in Salt Lake City Left Salt Lake City Reader Writer

Zeese's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Zeese Papanikolas Why did Zeese love this book?

Like many of my generation of Americans I demonstrated against the Vietnam War which I saw unfolding at a distance through the newspapers and the television screen. 

Viet Thanh Nguyen’s novel has a remarkable sense of being inside the skin of his title character, a young Vietnamese sympathizer of the North Vietnamese as they attempt to free the South. This is a book of great complexity.

Through the eyes of the protagonist, a double agent working for the South Vietnamese, we see the fall of Saigon, the escape of those who have connections on the final flights out and, in the United States, the escaped officers and former South Vietnamese movers-and-shakers who now own hole-in-the-wall restaurants in San Jose and work in menial jobs while plotting the overthrow of the communist regime.  

But we also see the revolution hardening, the re-education camps, the human sympathy drained out of the victors.…

By Viet Thanh Nguyen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE FOR FICTION 2016

It is April 1975, and Saigon is in chaos. At his villa, a general of the South Vietnamese army is drinking whiskey and, with the help of his trusted captain, drawing up a list of those who will be given passage aboard the last flights out of the country. The general and his compatriots start a new life in Los Angeles, unaware that one among their number, the captain, is secretly observing and reporting on the group to a higher-up in the Viet Cong. The Sympathizer is the story of this captain:…


Book cover of A Rumor of War: The Classic Vietnam Memoir

Wendell Affield Author Of Muddy Jungle Rivers: A river assault boat cox'n's memory journey of his war in Vietnam

From my list on the Vietnam war that explore waste and loss.

Who am I?

As I write this, I massage aching bits of shrapnel still embedded beneath silvered scars. I’ve read many Vietnam War stories—praising the war, glorifying combat, condemning the war. My stories are 1st person limited POV, voice of a twenty-year-old sailor. My title is a spin-off of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. By the time I wrote my memoir, I realized that our national goals in Vietnam had been Muddy from the beginning. I too, traveled Jungle Rivers. During my time on the riverboat, I witnessed Rivers of blood—rivers of life, trickle across our deck. And yes, Jungle is a fitting metaphor for our life at that time.

Wendell's book list on the Vietnam war that explore waste and loss

Wendell Affield Why did Wendell love this book?

This is the first Vietnam War book I read. For almost ten years I remained silent about my military service—many coworkers did not know I had served, let alone two tours and wounded in action. Caputo’s voice and sense of loss and waste and rage touched so close to my feelings. His gift of words made me live again the countless hours of boredom punctuated by moments of terror—for me, ambushes, mines, incoming artillery, and mortar rounds. Twenty years in the future, when I began writing my stories, I read Caputo’s book again because I hoped to emulate his sense of angst.

By Philip Caputo,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked A Rumor of War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The 40th anniversary edition of the classic Vietnam memoir―featured in the PBS documentary series The Vietnam War by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick―with a new foreword by Kevin Powers

In March of 1965, Lieutenant Philip J. Caputo landed at Danang with the first ground combat unit deployed to Vietnam. Sixteen months later, having served on the line in one of modern history’s ugliest wars, he returned home―physically whole but emotionally wasted, his youthful idealism forever gone.

A Rumor of War is far more than one soldier’s story. Upon its publication in 1977, it shattered America’s indifference to the fate of…