Last Night I Dreamed of Peace by Dang Thuy Tram is a diary of a Vietnamese doctor who treated patients during the Vietnam War. The diary spans roughly two years, where she documents and discusses the patients she treats and the longing for loved ones who have been killed by the American forces. The diary works to counteract the generally accepted narratives of the Vietnam War by exposing the pain and suffering America caused within the region.
The entries talk about someone she deeply loved before they split for the war, and the people she grew to understand and work with. Throughout, there is a thread of vitriol and anger for the American forces, which can be seen most represented in the sentence, “We certainly must defeat the American invaders, must bring ourselves to the days of independence and freedom.” In other entries, she talks of the Americans as demons. What is interesting to me, and possibly a sore spot for America, was that in America’s eyes, we were bringing peace and freedom to a land ruled by communism. However, Thuy flips the script on that by stating the Americans were, in fact, the ones oppressing and stopping freedom to occur. The diary ends on June 20th, 1970 and two days later, Thuy is shot and killed.
Final Rating: 4/5
Maxwell Suzuki is a writer, poet, and photographer based in Los Angeles.