When Heaven and Earth Changed Places: A Vietnamese Woman's Journey from War to Peace

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“One of the most important books of Vietnamese American and Vietnam War literature...Moving, powerful.” —Viet Thanh Nguyen, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Sympathizer

In these pages, Le Ly Hayslip—just twelve years old when U.S. helicopters landed in her tiny village of Ky La—shows us the Vietnam War as she lived it. Initially pressed into service by the Vietcong, Le Ly was captured and imprisoned by government forces. She found sanctuary at last with an American contractor and ultimately fled to the United States. Almost twenty years after her escape, Le Ly found herself inexorably drawn back to the devastated country and loved ones she’d left behind, and returned to Vietnam in 1986. Scenes of this joyous reunion are interwoven with the brutal war years, creating an extraordinary portrait of the nation, then and now—and of one courageous woman who held fast to her faith in humanity.
First published in 1989, When Heaven and Earth Changed Places was hailed as an instant classic. Now, some two decades later, this indispensable memoir continues to be one of our most important accounts of a conflict we must never forget.

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3 comments on “When Heaven and Earth Changed Places: A Vietnamese Woman's Journey from War to Peace”

  1. Mesmerizing Tale of a Horrible War An incredibly mesmerizing book! Do you want to know how brutal this war was? Do you want to know the good and the bad from the point of view of a Viet Cong family? Do you want to see the travesty of what war does to a young child selling her body or dating American soldiers? How about a revisit years later after living in the USA and exploring the differences in the family based upon where they live and the government they live under?This book is so good on so many levels and I...

  2. War questions reconciled! To the Vietnam Veteran Li Ly Hayslip gives priceless insight into the mind of the enemy we fought and the villagers we tried to help. Being a Viet Cong spy and villager herself Ms Hayslip reveals the mindset of a people we could not hope to understand even if we served ten tours. Taught from birth the ideals of the importance of Mother Earth, ancestral accomplishments and sacrifices and village life and tradition, coupled with over one hundred years of oppression perpetrated by colonial...

  3. Oliver Stone's Movie "Heaven And Earth" Was Made From This Book This book tells the story of a Vietnam woman during and after the Vietnam war. I became aware of this book after seeing the movie made from it. I was astounded by this personal account of the war and its aftermath and how, in particular, it affected this woman, her family, her country, and our own USA. The author ended up coming to America and succeeding against high odds and personal tragedy. I greatly admire the author and this book that she wrote.

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