Fatal Crossroads: A Novel of Vietnam 1945

Topping, Seymour

Published by Eastbridge, 2005
ISBN 10: 1891936697 / ISBN 13: 9781891936692
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Synopsis: In official U.S. military annals there is only the barest mention of the intrepid agents of the Office of Strategic Services who in 1945 lived in the jungles of Vietnam with Ho Chi Minh. Their mission was to train and arm a cadre of his Vietminh guerrillas for combat against the Japanese. This novel is based on that clandestine operation and on OSS interviews with Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam and South China.

The story unfolds at an historic moment in the last months of World War II when President Truman was deciding whether to pursue the Roosevelt aim of transforming Vietnam into a U.N. trusteeship leading to independence or yield to Charles De Gaulle’s demands for restoration of French suzerainty. On a secret mission to realize President Roosevelt’s vision, Travis Duncan, special agent of the OSS, undertakes a perilous journey, eluding Japanese forces and bandits, for a meeting with Ho Chi Minh in his remote headquarters. Duncan becomes witness in North and South Vietnam to the intrigue and brutality of the decisive power struggle between the Vietnamese nationalists and the French colonialists. Two women out of Duncan’s past, a Vietnamese who had become a deputy to Ho Chi Minh, and a French Gaullist agent, emerge as key actors in his mission.

The reader will recognize the historic figures portrayed in this novel. The other characters are based on real individuals or are fictional. All serve to recall a turning point in history and a lost opportunity in dealing with Ho Ch-Minh that could have spared us the agony of the Vietnam War.

About the Author: Seymour Topping covered the Chinese civil war for three years and in 1950 opened The Associated Press bureau in Saigon. After reporting the French Indochina War for two years, he was posted in London and Berlin. He joined the New York Times in 1959 and following three years in Moscow became Chief Correspondent Southeast Asia. He was appointed Foreign Editor in 1969 serving later as Managing Editor. He is now SanPaolo Professor Emeritus of International Journalism at Columbia University and lives with his wife, Audrey, a photojournalist, in Scarsdale, New York.

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Title: Fatal Crossroads: A Novel of Vietnam 1945
Publisher: Eastbridge
Publication Date: 2005
Book Condition: Good

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