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Reviewed by Alex Ndirangu for Readers' Favorite
It was April 1975 when the South Vietnamese Army surrendered under the rapid advancement of the North Vietnamese. Streets in Saigon that once were filled with roadway noises and songs blasting from kitchen radios and market stands were now quiet and empty. For seventeen-year-old Thanh Nguyen, his future, freedom, and survival depended on his escape. A few years after the communists planted their flag in Saigon, Thanh's mother arranged for a connection to help him escape. But Thanh was captured, and for four years he endured unimaginable pain and suffering as a prisoner. When he is eventually released, he embarks on a voyage that could lead him to the very backyard of the enemy he is seeking to avoid. Read Rain on the Red Flag by Frank Thanh Nguyen to join him in his quest for freedom.
This memoir is absorbing from the first to the last word. Thanh is a young man born into a large, loving family. He is a studious child whose only fears are taking examinations and approaching the girl he likes. At a relatively young age, this young man, who has never received military training, must traverse jungles, mountains, and even turbulent waterways. Thanh bravely ventures into the unknown with tenacity and unflinching courage. He also has a protective shield against the harsh realities that life throws his way: his mother. Despite the sadness and desperation threatening to pull her down, Thanh's mother's determination to keep her children safe is unstoppable. She will even bribe the right people to get the shackles off Thanh's ankles. In the Rain on the Red Flag, Frank Thanh Nguyen masterfully navigates the reader in his journey, constantly reminding us of the value of having a family, friends, and even each other. While telling his story, Nguyen educates us on how war and chaos only bring pain and devastation and how we should preserve and value peace and understanding. Rain on the Red Flag was a great read that will stay with me for a long time. It is the book for anyone searching for a gripping memoir!