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Southern Voices

Biet Dong and the National Liberation Front

Southern Voices: Biet Dong and the National Liberation Front presents oral histories from former members of an elite squad of Viet Cong operatives, focusing on their experiences during what is known, in Vietnam, as the American War. Author Michael Robert Dedrick conducted interviews with eight former Biet Dong (the equivalent of Ranger or Special Forces divisions in the US military) and sheds new light on this clandestine group.

Best known for their role in the 1968 Tet Offensive, the Biet Dong in the south were organized units hiding in plain sight. Members included farmers, tradespeople, agents, spies, monks, students, intellectuals, and journalists—both young and old, men and women. They were highly patriotic, politically motivated, and very secretive, operating in three-person cells under aliases. Their voices and experiences emerge in this bilingual volume.

In recent years, historians have made greater use of Vietnamese primary sources and transformed the study of one of the twentieth century's most controversial conflicts. Ably curated by Dedrick—who also offers his own perspectives as a veteran and peace activist—the firsthand accounts in Southern Voices add a new layer to the history of the Vietnam War and its aftermath.

About the Authors

Michael Robert Dedrick is vice president of Veterans for Peace Chapter 92, located in Seattle, Washington. He served during the Vietnam War as a US Army analyst and interrogator-linguist in Cholon, Saigon, through the Tet and May Offensives of 1968. His work has previously appeared in the Mekong Review.

Reviews

"With all the emphasis on big unit warfare and the role of North Vietnamese forces that dominates American perspectives on the war, it is easy to forget that the backbone of the revolution in the south—in many ways its secret weapon—was ordinary, lower class individuals like these Biet Dong."—William Turley, professor emeritus at Southern Illinois University

"After the victory of 1975, the vital contributions of southern revolutionary nationalists were systematically marginalized in historical accounts since they stood in the way of simplistic US and RVN narratives of a binary conflict, as well as threatened to weaken the northern-based triumphalist claims of the VCP. This book with rare materials on the Biet Dong will help correct this long-imbalanced historical record."—Christoph Giebel, Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington

"Through Mike Dedrick's Southern Voices at last we can experience the commitment, rigorous discipline, and breadth of the Southern revolutionaries' resistance."—Lady Borton, author of Beyond Sorrow

9780813155951 : southern-voices-dedrick-dedrick-giebel
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188 Pages
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