Nhat Ky Thoi Chien Viet Nam (Wartime Diary) consists of four volumes, with each volume having over 1,000 pages. Writer and war veteran Dang Vuong Hung compiled and edited the work from 2004 to 2020.
The poetic and pure language of the diaries which are full of desire for a peaceful life is sure to move readers, according to Hung.
“The truthful diaries help readers to imagine the fierce battles fought during the national resistance against the US,” Hung said.
“The battles were dangerous and there was no boundary between life and death. Everything we read in the book is true and though it may be crude it’s also fresh and alive because it is real people, real events and very real moods.
“No one can compel people to tell the truth about pent-up resentment, injustice, sadness or even ‘living in fear’, but the writers here were willing to speak out.”
The book includes the two most popular diaries entitled Nhat Ky Dang Thuy Tram (Dang Thuy Tram’s Diary) and martyr Nguyen Van Thac’s Mai Mai Tuoi 20 (Forever Twenty).
Nhat Ky Dang Thuy Tram was penned by female doctor Dang Thuy Tram in the 1960s while she was working in a field hospital in Quang Ngai province. The young doctor was killed by US troops in June 1970 at the age of 27.
The diary was found and preserved by American soldier Fred Whitehurst, who donated it to the Vietnam Center and Archives at Texas Tech University 35 years later. Officials, with the aid of veteran Tom Engelmann and American writer Lady Borton, were able to locate Tram’s family, and the diary was returned to them in 2005.
That same year, thousands of copies of the diary were published in Vietnam, and it became a phenomenon. It has been translated into English, Korean, Thai and Spanish.
Diaries by martyrs such as Chu Cam Phong, Duong Thi Xuan Quy and Nguyen Minh Son are also included.
The series is a valuable work conveying a message of good and humanity, said the writers association’s deputy chairman Nguyen Quang Thieu.
“These diaries were written on the battlefield and tell us what the writers most wanted to say knowing they might never return to their families and homeland,” Thieu said.
“Only when death is near the voices of people become the most truthful. And that honesty has proved their patriotism and their love of independence and freedom. They devoted all their young years to the fatherland.”
“Many years after the American War, researchers have said that the greatest discovery the Americans made in Vietnam is the Vietnamese culture. The diaries by Vietnamese soliders have tremendous value to Vietnamese culture, not just the national resistance for liberation,” said the writer.