Vietnamese Doctor's Diary from the War Causes a Sensation

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Over 35 years since returning home from the Vietnam War, a former US soldier has returned a poignant diary he recovered from a young Vietcong military doctor. The diary has sparked a patriotic revival in Vietnam, turning the two former enemies into national heroes.

The diary was written by Dang Thuy Tram, an army doctor who fought Americans in the Vietnam War and died defending her hospital from a US attack. Since its reemergence this year after 35 years in the hands of a US veteran, the diary has become a phenomenon, selling over 300,000 copies, generating numerous translations and a television show, and sparking a wave of patriotic nostalgia among young Vietnamese.

Those who have read it say it is the most compelling, honest account yet of a conflict that killed an estimated two to three million Vietnamese and other Asians, as well as 58,000 Americans. “She was my enemy but her words would break your heart,” says Fred Whitehurst, the ex-soldier who saved the diary from the incinerator. “She is a Vietnamese Anne Frank. I know this diary will go everywhere on planet earth.”

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