Advance reader reviews of The Beauty of Humanity Movement by Camilla Gibb.

The Beauty of Humanity Movement

A Novel

By Camilla Gibb

The Beauty of Humanity Movement
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Published in USA  Mar 2011,
    320 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book


Page 1 of 4
There are currently 23 member reviews
for The Beauty of Humanity Movement
Order Reviews by:
  • Patricia S. (Chicago, IL)


    Beauty of Humanity Movement
    This is a wonderful book with a setting that is unique for historical fiction. Set shortly after the opening of Vietnam after the war, on the surface, it is the story of a Viet Nieu (refugee) woman returning to Vietnam to discover the fate of her father, left behind when she and her mother escaped at the end of the war. In reality, it is the story of the Vietnamese coming to grips with the new world of united Vietnam, returning refugees and the modern world. In my mind, the star of the book is Old Man Hung, a pho-seller who ties the other characters together. Maggie's search for her father never quite clicked for me, I never felt that I understood her feelings for her father, but the rest of the characters made up for that. Even the incidental characters are fully realized, and the setting was perfectly described--I felt I was there in the heat and humidity, the old city decaying and the new city rising, and over all of it were the characters who, lacking their original families, make new ones with what is left. This book made me want to run out and find some pho! The writing is beautiful, the characters stayed with me long after putting the book down and the atmosphere was wonderful. I was especially interested in the views of the war from the Vietnamese viewpoints, which I hadn't encountered before. I would have liked a glossary though, as there were many Vietnamese words included in the text and it would have been easier to look them up in a glossary than try to find them again so I could puzzle them out.
  • Elizabeth (upstate NY)


    fascinating study of a country
    A haunting tale of the lingering effects of the Vietnam War for the country of Vietnam and its people. I recently read The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli, which takes place during the Vietnam War, and I found The Beauty of Humanity Movement to be a lovely follow-up. I think my knowledge gained from Soli's novel about Vietnam and the war was helpful and added more meaning to Gibb's work.
  • Florence K. (Encino, California)


    The Beauty of Humanity Movement
    A tautly written book about the long-lasting effects of the war in Vietnam on the Vietnamese people makes for very interesting reading. The three main characters are well developed, especially that of old man Hung. The bitter-sweet romances lighten the harsh realities in which the characters find themselves. A MUST for my reading group not only for story line but also for discussions about the art, government, family life. culture, and traditions of Vietnam.
  • Jerry P. (Santa Rosa, CA)


    The Perfect Pho!
    I enjoyed this book. Ms Gibb is a good writer. (Actually, I have been browsing Amazon.com to select another of her books.) Her characters were very well developed. I was pleasantly surprised by how knowledgeable she was about the conflicts the Vietnamese people engaged against the French and the Americans to regain their country. I lived during those years and was aware of the later conflict since I was a member of the US Army Reserve. However, this book refreshed my memory that people were basically alike regardless of their language, color of their skin, and so forth. As I was reading her book, the statement, "War is Hell", kept surfacing and that common people (like you and I) came to mind for we truly suffer during war time.

    I have been reading recently about other Asian countries who have revolted successfully against repressive governments which have become repressive themselves. Having absolute power is very irresistible and addictive.

    I would recommend this book to book clubs since it raises many interesting discussion topics.
  • Donna D. (Williamsville, NY)


    A Different Perspective on Vietnam
    This was a difficult book to rate because, while it was slow getting going, I loved the central character, and was led to think a lot about the history and culture of Vietnam from a very new perspective. Since I had many peers who faced the draft during the Vietnam war, my previous exposure to the history and culture was a very westernized version and centered on wartime issues. This novel cast things in a very different light and Gibbs very effectively used Hung, the aging pho vendor, to draw the reader through Vietnam's turbulent late colonial, wartime, and post-war periods, always from the point of view of a poor North Vietnamese man who became educated and heavily influenced by the artists and intellectuals who frequented his pho shop. While vacationing in Vietnam, Gibbs was inspired to write this work, by a young tour guide who allowed her to question him, sharing his thoughts and aspirations. She did a nice job presenting the setting, developed a marvelous main character, but fell just a bit short in the secondary characters and developed a somewhat forced conclusion to the story.
  • Maggie P. (Redmond, WA)


    The Beauty of Humanity
    I loved the prospective of this book. It gives back ground into a world I think is unfamiliar to most people. I found myself not wanting to put it down and/or picking up just to read a couple more lines here and there.
    It offers mystery, history and culture.
    I feel this book would appeal to a great many readers.
  • Claire M. (Sarasota, Florida)


    The Beauty of Humanity Movement
    At once both a brilliantly conceived novel about the past and present in Vietnam, and an inquiry into family, love and responsibility, Camilla Gibbs writes with familiarity with the country: in particular the trauma, deprivation and political turmoil the north experienced during the years of the American War. The main characters are well developed, especially Hung, the itinerant pho vendor. One thing that struck me was Hung’s recognition of the difference in 3 generations, with the middle one-the ones who became silenced or compromised by the revolution-not the same as the dissidents of the first and the young influenced by the post war cultural changes since opening to the west. The arts endure and somehow a people survive, nourished by what’s most meaningful to them. Love and redemption for Hung and Lan, Maggie, Tu and Binh transcend the boundaries of traditional family and bring together the stories of a nation in conflict.
    Few Americans have heard stories about how North Vietnam endured during our war there. Having spent time in communist or post-communist countries I'm familiar with the corrosive effects of the system on the population and Gibb has woven those into the story skillfully. This is a good book club read as well as for individuals interested in the country or the period.
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    The Stranger on the Train
    by Abbie Taylor
    The opening chapter of Abbie Taylor's debut novel, The Stranger on the Train, took me right back to ...
  • Book Jacket
    Night Film
    by Marisha Pessl
    One of the central tenets of Hinduism states that the world as we know it is just an illusion –...
  • Book Jacket: Complicit
    Complicit
    by Stephanie Kuehn
    When seventeen year-old Jamie Henry receives word that his older sister Cate, is being released from...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

Tomlinson Hill
by Chris Tomlinson

Published Jul. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  158The City:
    Dean Koontz

All Discussions

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

O O T F P, Into T F

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.