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Vietnamerica: The Untold Story of the Nation’s Largest Refugee Group cover photo

Vietnamerica: The Untold Story of the Nation’s Largest Refugee Group 2016

Highly Recommended

Distributed by Tugg, Inc., 855-321-8844
Produced by Nancy Bui, for Vietnamese American Heritage Foundation & Edwards Media
Directed by Scott Edwards
DVD , color, 88 min.

Middle School - General Adult
Immigration, Vietnamese-Americans

Date Entered: 08/15/2017

Reviewed by Cliff Glaviano, formerly with Bowling Green State University Libraries, Bowling Green, OH

Vietnamese-Americans form the largest group of refugees in the US today. More than 2 million Vietnamese fled South Vietnam between 1975 and 1995 to avoid living under the Communist regime imposed by the victorious North Vietnamese. Many were Vietnamese boat people who fled in small boats, chiefly in 1978 and 1979. Others fled overland through Cambodia, and some came to the United States after their releases from “re-education camps” were negotiated.

A good portion of the story involves Hoa Tien Nguyen, a Master of the Vietnamese martial art Vovinam, as he searches for the graves of his wife and daughter who were lost trying to escape Vietnam by boat in 1981. Hoa hopes that their bodies were recovered and buried in Malaysia. Finding their graves and performing Vietnamese/Catholic rituals would bring his heart rest and cure his violent depression. Others featured in the film include social activist Khuc Minh Tho, scientist Nguyet Anh Duong, and U.S. Army General Viet Xuan Luong.

Vietnamerica is highly recommended, especially for communities with sizeable Vietnamese-American populations. The hard work and dedication of these citizens is a wonderful example of the successes refugees can have in the United States. Though the Vietnam War ended in 1975 for most Americans and Vietnamese, many of our Vietnamese-Americans continue to fight the war and contemplate their losses daily. The example of these Vietnamese-Americans should serve as an inspiration to other immigrant populations to the US as they try to successfully integrate and begin to contribute to 21st century American society.