A Swallow Press Book
“An excellent, thoughtful book about the Vietnam War.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“This work is a brilliant companion to the most iconic depictions of life in a war zone, including Joseph Heller’s Catch-22, Robert Altman’s film M*A*S*H, and Barry Levinson’s Good Morning, Vietnam.”
Military Writers Society of America
“Postmodern and poetic, heartfelt and compassionate, full of sad longing and dawning awareness.”
Jeanne Rosenberg, screenwriter for The Black Stallion and Natty Gann
“A love song to Southeast Asia, sung through the absurd horrors of war.”
Joe Cummings, editor, Lonely Planet Thailand
Silver Medalist in Literary Fiction, 2020 Military Writers Society of America Awards
Brendan Leary, assigned to an Air Force photo squadron an hour from L.A., thinks he has it made. But when the U.S. invades Cambodia and he joins his buddies who march in protest, he is shipped off to an obscure air base in upcountry Thailand. There, he finds himself flying at night over the Ho Chi Minh Trail in a secret war that turns the mountains of Laos into a napalm-scorched moonscape. As the emotional vise tightens, his moral fiber crumbles and he sinks ever deeper into a netherworld of drugs, sex, and booze.
When a visit by Nixon looms, Brendan dreams up an all-squadron bicycle race to build morale, win hearts and minds in rural Thailand, and make him and his underpaid buddies a pile of money. The Big Buddha Bicycle Race is a last gasp of hope that turns into a unifying adventure—until the stakes turn out to be far higher than anyone imagined.
The Big Buddha Bicycle Race is a new take on the Vietnam War. A caper on the surface, it is also a tribute to the complex culture and history of Southeast Asia and a sober remembrance of those groups who have been erased from American history—the brash active-duty soldiers who risked prison by taking part in the GI antiwar movement, the gutsy air commandos who risked death night after night flying over the Ho Chi Minh Trail, and the people of Laos, whose lives and land were devastated in ways that have yet to be fully acknowledged in Western accounts of the war.
Terence A. Harkin served with the 601st Photo Flight at Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, during the latter years of the Vietnam War. He went on to spend twenty-five years as a Hollywood cameraman (M*A*S*H, From Here to Eternity, Seinfeld). He has returned many times to Thailand and Laos, living in Buddhist monasteries, interviewing veterans on both sides of the conflict, and trekking the Ho Chi Minh Trail. More info →
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When the alluring, eleventh-century Cambodian stone head of Radha, consort to Krishna, shows up at the Searles Museum, young curator Jenna Murphy doesn’t suspect that it will lead her to a murder. Asian art is her bailiwick, not criminal investigation, and her immediate concern is simply figuring out whether the head is one famously stolen from its body, or a fake.When
Kabul, Afghanistan, 1979: CIA station chief Lucius Burling, an idealistic but flawed product of his nation’s intelligence establishment, barely survives the assassination of the American ambassador. Burling’s reaction to the murder, and his desire to understand its larger meaning, propel him on a journey of intrigue and betrayal that will reach its ultimate end in the streets of Shanghai, months after 9/11.
Phu Rieng was one of many French rubber plantations in colonial Vietnam; Tran Tu Binh was one of 17,606 laborers brought to work there in 1927, and his memoir is a straightforward, emotionally searing account of how one Vietnamese youth became involved in revolutionary politics. The connection between this early experience and later activities of the author becomes clear as we learn that Tran Tu Binh survived imprisonment on Con Son island to help engineer the general uprising in Hanoi in 1945.
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