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Saigon, by Ralph Pezzullo

Saigon is a story told in a time of war by New York Times bestselling author Ralph Pezzullo, who lived as a boy in Vietnam from 1963-1965.

Our protagonist is a sensitive, intelligent thirteen-year-old with a self-centered, domineering father who serves as a diplomat with the US Embassy. Eager to engage his exotic new environment, he befriends locals working at the Embassy maintenance shop and serves as a batboy for the US Special Forces softball team. Over time, he develops a unique perspective of the political crisis gripping the country and the role of the US. He witnesses terrifying events and scenes of aching beauty — a brutal attack on the softball field, the wedding of two Vietnamese friends, the self-immolation of a Buddhist monk, the bombing of a US movie theater, the sensual elegance of daily life in Saigon, and his budding romance with an American friend.

In this coming-of-age story, follow this boy as he learns empathy is the only way to truly understanding another people and their culture, and that he must blaze a new path in order to avoid repeating the mistakes of men like his father.

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