This biography, a reader would notice at the outset, was not written by a historian, an investigative reporter, or a professional biographer. It originates instead from the pen of a younger sibling seeking to resolve the mystery surrounding his brother's untimely death. This legitimate curiosity has evolved into a collection of articles depicting General Hieu as a family man, a patriot, a military strategist, and a man of integrity.
This collection of articles authored by siblings, friends and fellow military men unexpectedly converges to project a dynamic image of an intelligent soldier and brilliant strategist engaged in the twofold quixotic tasks of overcoming a corrupted military hierarchy and fighting the invading North Vietnamese communist army.
The book presents the reader with glimpses of a man living the yin aspect of the Vietnamese society (egalitarian, flexible, spiritual, congenial) and, at the same time, confronting the yang aspect of the neo-Confucianist military and government hierarchy (male dominant, rigid, self-serving, elitist, concerned with face and status).
Without any claim to being systematic or thorough in his research, the author has nevertheless gathered a number of revealing personal anecdotes, testimonies from living witnesses, declassified documents from the National Archives, letters from former military academy classmates, phone interviews, excerpts from books, and so forth. From this cacophony of voices emerges the image of a virtuous man, caring father, loving spouse, and competent general respected by Vietnamese and American military personnel of all ranks. The reader would no doubt be surprised to discover this unsung hero in the stark background of negative memories of the Vietnam War and betrayal of the people by the neo-Confucianist military and government hierarchy.
Though modest in its presentation, the book managed to do justice to a dedicated soldier and competent general, who was mostly unknown to both the Vietnamese and the American public. After reading this fascinating biography, the reader comes away wondering what might have been had this uncommon general, who epitomized the true Vietnamese people, been allowed to fully exercise his military competence.