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Finding the Dragon Lady
"Deeply intriguing...one hell of a story." - Daily Beast
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What did you know about Madame Nhu before reading the book? Did your opinions change after reading the book?

Created: 10/07/14

Replies: 29

Posted Oct. 07, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1358

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What did you know about Madame Nhu before reading the book? Did your opinions change after reading the book?

What did you know about Madame Nhu before reading the book? If you were familiar with her story, did your opinion about her change as a result of the book?


Posted Oct. 27, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
mbt1963

Join Date: 10/28/11

Posts: 9

RE: What did you know about Madame Nhu before reading the book? Did your opinions change after reading the book?

I knew nothing about Madame Nhu before reading this book. I learned a lot about her and the time period. I don't know that I came away liking her that much. But I do think because she was a women with power in the 50's and early 60's that she was more harshly criticized than a man would have been.


Posted Oct. 27, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
barbarab

Join Date: 04/15/11

Posts: 39

RE: What did you know about Madame Nhu before reading the book? Did your opinions change after reading the book?

I knew nothing about Madame Nhu & I was a teenager in the 60s. When she came to the U.S. she visited Chicago, where I grew up & don't remember a thing. I think I would have loved to have seen pictures of her at that time, because she was fashionable & glamorous.
After reading about her, my opinion of her has not changed. I feel as though she was "mean spirited".


Posted Oct. 27, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
janeh

Join Date: 06/15/11

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RE: What did you know about Madame Nhu before reading the book? Did your opinions change after reading the book?

I had read stories with lurid pictures in LIFE MAGAZINE of the burnings. Just the fact that they called her The Dragon Lady colored my opinion of her, of course. I have read a good many books on the Vietnam War and the conflicts in that country leading up to our entry into the country. It is just so easy to look back and say what we did right or wrong -- much more difficult to make those calls in the heat of the moment. All we can do is learn from what happened .... and I'm not sure we have.


Posted Oct. 27, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
BJ

Join Date: 06/11/14

Posts: 16

RE: What did you know about Madame Nhu before reading the book? Did your opinions change after reading the book?

Like barbarab, I knew nothing of Madame Nhu before reading this book. I was in junior high school and oblivious to world news at that point; later, graduating from high school, I was aware of the draft and, of course, Jane F. Upon reading the title of this book, I actually expected a much more evil person. If Demery hadn't included that insane and cruel remark about the monks, would most readers still deem her as "mean spirited"? I dunno...


Posted Oct. 27, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
meredithk

Join Date: 06/10/13

Posts: 27

RE: What did you know about Madame Nhu before reading the book? Did your opinions change after reading the book?

Like the others I knew nothing about Madame Nhu before I read the book but I find it interesting that the American equivalent Jacqueline Kennedy and other women of that generation were mere show things. I think that's where the phrase came " The Dragon Lady from President Kennedy who wasn't used to powerful women who actually had opinions.


Posted Oct. 27, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Suzanne

Join Date: 04/21/11

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RE: What did you know about Madame Nhu before reading the book? Did your opinions change after reading the book?

I had no idea she was part of VietNam and when I asked my husband (who had three tours there), he likened her to Tokyo Rose. So, honestly, I think the US men there had no real concept either.

And John Kennedy-- he was a hero, an angel, a solver. He did no wrong as far as we were concerned. So his remarks about Madam Nhu were new to me. How tarnished our noble super humans can become after we grow up----


Posted Oct. 27, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
eunicev

Join Date: 10/25/14

Posts: 5

RE: What did you know about Madame Nhu before reading the book? Did your opinions change after reading the book?

I worked in Vietnam as a volunteer during the war (69-71) and had heard many stories about her from the Vietnamese I worked with - who were all very critical of her. There were other strong Vietnamese business women who were also referred to as Dragon Ladies! After reading this book, I had more compassion and understanding of Madame Nhu. She lived through such a wide sweep of history it is a shame that she did not write her own memoir. She was certainly a complex, powerful and disturbing character- and maybe even a victim at times.


Posted Oct. 28, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
cynthiaa

Join Date: 04/14/11

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RE: What did you know about Madame Nhu before reading the book? Did your opinions change after reading the book?

I knew nothing of Madame Nhu until reading this book. I grew up in the 60's and went to high school in Chicago. I came away with the impression that she was surrounded by weak men and she just did what she felt she had to do. Women were so judged and criticized then. She probably couldn't do anything right


Posted Oct. 28, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
joyces

Join Date: 06/16/11

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RE: What did you know about Madame Nhu before reading the book? Did your opinions change after reading the book?

I knew of her but little or nothing about her even though I was a high school and college student during the Vietnam Era and had a brother and several friends and acquaintances who served there. I think she was less well known to the general population than she was to the Washington and Military officials directly involved. So I had no opinion of her but this book left me thinking she was fairly self serving, egotistical and conniving and I really did not like her.


Posted Oct. 28, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
juliaa

Join Date: 12/03/11

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RE: What did you know about Madame Nhu before reading the book? Did your opinions change after reading the book?

I knew very little about Madame Nhu before this book, even though I was a high school and college student during the 60s. I did not like her very much after reading the book. She came across as self-serving and manipulative, even in the way she strung the author along for so long before the interviews and kept doing so with the promise of the memoirs. While I recognize that Madame Nhu suffered from the attitude of the time that women should be seen and not heard, she still does not excite my sympathy or empathy.


Posted Oct. 28, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
debrals

Join Date: 11/28/11

Posts: 35

RE: What did you know about Madame Nhu before reading the book? Did your opinions change after reading the book?

I knew nothing about Madame Nhu before reading this book. I found her story and the history of Vietnam very interesting. It sparked an interest for me to learn more about her country. She was a strong woman with many flaws.


Posted Oct. 29, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
patricial

Join Date: 03/22/12

Posts: 2

RE: What did you know about Madame Nhu before reading the book? Did your opinions change after reading the book?.

Nor did I know anything about Madame Nhu before I read this book. As a teenager I experienced the Vietnam War as it unfolded on television. I especially remember the "domino" theory of fear that the Communists were going to spread throughout the world. This book shed some light for me on why that war happened. In many ways the story could be happening today, same conditions, just different people, time and place. When will we ever learn?


Posted Oct. 29, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
alycet

Join Date: 04/23/12

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RE: What did you know about Madame Nhu before reading the book? Did your opinions change after reading the book?

I was a young mother with a year old baby when Madame Nhu visited the US. What I knew was mostly from Life and Time magazines. I recall the Buddhist persecution but what I recall mostly was her outstanding beauty, carriage and poise in the magazines, TV and Newsreels. I don't recall at all the coup and the deaths of Nhu and Diem. At that period Vietnam seemed very remote from the USA. She did make an impression on young women in the US including fashions. We were mostly stay at home subservient wives and mothers. Reading the book filled in the gaps of my memories and gave me a more accurate picture of her.


Posted Oct. 29, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
deeh

Join Date: 03/03/12

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RE: What did you know about Madame Nhu before reading the book? Did your opinions change after reading the book?

I knew nothing about Madame Nhu before I read the book, even though I actively participated in anti-war demonstrations throughout the 60s. I am grateful to Ms. Demery for broadening my horizons. As I had no opinion of the Dragon Lady before I read the book, I can tell you that I didn't like her. She was a very unsympathetic character.


Posted Oct. 30, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rebeccar

Join Date: 03/13/12

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RE: What did you know about Madame Nhu before reading the book? Did your opinions change after reading the book?

I did not know about Madame Nhu. I asked a Vietnam Veteran (American soldier) if he knew the name, and he immediately said yes but corrected the name I said. When I showed him the book, he said, "Oh that is someone different." No matter what someone might think of Madame Nhu, an important lesson to take away is that the American government thought that because she was "a bitch" and we did not like the Vietnamese government that it was o.k. to back a coup. Americans would call that terrorism if it happened in our country. How would we would like it if a foreign government had said that about Jacqueline Kennedy or Barbara Bush or current First Lady Michelle Obama, and then used dislike of a First Lady's supposed haughty attitude and dislike of her husband as an excuse to attack our country?


Posted Oct. 30, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lynnw

Join Date: 09/01/11

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RE: What did you know about Madame Nhu before reading the book? Did your opinions change after reading the book?

I had heard of Madame Nhu but knew very little about her and what I was told was not good. It is interesting to learn how a young girl who was worth nothing to her family could become so powerful and feared. So often in history a woman with power is a bitch, but a man, oh well, he is so strong and powerful.


Posted Oct. 31, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
terriej

Join Date: 07/28/11

Posts: 142

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RE: What did you know about Madame Nhu before reading the book? Did your opinions change after reading the book?

I had never heard of Madame Nhu before reading the book and I'm so glad that I learned about her through this book. It was well written and showed her powerful side, but also a bit of her feminine side.


Posted Nov. 01, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
mariannes

Join Date: 12/17/12

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RE: What did you know about Madame Nhu before reading the book? Did your opinions change after reading the book?

I actually had Madame Nhu confused with Imelda Marcos. I'm about the same age as most of the people who have written above. I had heard of The Dragon Lady, but I thought she owned a thousand pairs of shoes. That was Imelda, though. It was obviously good for me to read the book so I could figure out who she was.
I didn't particularly like her after reading about her, but I could sympathize with her for not having an easy life.


Posted Nov. 01, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
pennyp

Join Date: 03/22/12

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RE: What did you know about Madame Nhu before reading the book? Did your opinions change after reading the book?

I knew nothing about her at the time. Interestingly, we spent a month in Vietnam about 3 years ago. I found the Vietnamese people to be very open about the war. We went to a number of famous sites and war monuments but I never remember anything being mentioned about Madame Nhu. While I am glad I read this book, mostly because I usually find books about war to difficult to follow, I didn't really like her any better at the end of the book. She seemed pretty cold and calculating.


Posted Nov. 01, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lindah

Join Date: 04/17/14

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RE: What did you know about Madame Nhu before reading the book? Did your opinions change after reading the book?

I vaguely recall a glamorous, fashionable woman; a celebrity but didn't know much beyond her name. The book was an excellent primer of Vietnam's history particularly as it intersected with US History. I thoroughly dislike Madame Nhu but enjoyed reading the book.


Posted Nov. 01, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kimk

Join Date: 10/16/10

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RE: What did you know about Madame Nhu before reading the book? Did your opinions change after reading the book?

I had never heard of Madame Nhu before reading this book, and I'm pleased that I had the opportunity to learn about this part of history.


Posted Nov. 01, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
mal

Join Date: 09/09/13

Posts: 155

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RE: What did you know about Madame Nhu before reading the book? Did your opinions change after reading the book?

new the basics on Madame prior to reading this book. She is such an enigma does any one truly know who she was? Every piece of information I have read on this woman is gathered all together and filtered. Little pieces make up the woman but doubtful we will ever know the woman she was etc. I believe this was intentional on here part in various ways. Forever shrouded in mystery, leaving many fascinated for a lifetime.


Posted Nov. 02, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
alices

Join Date: 06/15/13

Posts: 11

RE: What did you know about Madame Nhu before reading the book? Did your opinions change after reading the book?

I knew nothing about Madame Nhu before reading the Dragon Lady. I have learned a great deal about the Viet Nam war since. Most of which is tragic. The loss of so many lives and homes is tragic. As for Madame Nhu, I feel she was a maniputive, egotistical woman who cared very little for the natives of South Viet Nam or Cambodia. She came across as a self centered, cruel woman.

Aliceq105


Posted Nov. 04, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
marys

Join Date: 05/24/11

Posts: 35

RE: What did you know about Madame Nhu before reading the book? Did your opinions change after reading the book?

I had never heard of Madame Nhu when I read the book and I also knew little about Vietnam. It was interesting to me to learn more about the history of Vietnam and the many actions and mistakes that caused a war to be fought there. However, my opinion of Madame Nhu has not changed. She is truly a Dragon Lady. Did circumstances shape her to act in certain ways? Absolutely. But I still find that most of what she did and why she did it was because it was beneficial for Madame Nhu, not for her country.


Posted Nov. 04, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Peggy H

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 188

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RE: What did you know about Madame Nhu before reading the book? Did your opinions change after reading the book?

I knew of her role in Vietnam and how she was disliked by Washington. I was a bit surprised by her youth and the reasons given for her actions. I remember the "barbecue" statement and wonder about better guidance for her in her role. Too bad people like Margueritte Higgins and Clare Booth Luce did not give her better guidance. One forgets that she was still a fairly young woman at the time.


Pegh
Posted Nov. 05, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
sweeney

Join Date: 05/24/11

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RE: What did you know about Madame Nhu before reading the book? Did your opinions change after reading the book?

I was vaguely aware of her, and read the book specifically to become more familiar....


Posted Nov. 05, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
caroln

Join Date: 04/14/11

Posts: 48

RE: What did you know about Madame Nhu before reading the book? Did your opinions change after reading the book?

I knew very little and was amazed at how she was compared to other "women" of the war periods.
I was interested in learning more about the Vietnam Conflict - especially from the standpoint of a Vietnamese
person.


Posted Nov. 06, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
vickio

Join Date: 05/19/11

Posts: 9

RE: What did you know about Madame Nhu before reading the book? Did your opinions change after reading the book?

I had heard of her, but didn't know much about her. As the book progressed, I liked her less and less. She really didn't care about her country; she thought the world should and did revolve around her.


Posted Nov. 07, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
tyrad

Join Date: 07/17/14

Posts: 9

RE: What did you know about Madame Nhu before reading the book? Did your opinions change after reading the book?

I knew nothing about her before reading this book and now realize that I knew very little about what went on historically before the US involvement in the war. I was a teenager at the time and all my friends were trying desperately to stay in school and not get drafted. As interesting as Madame Nhu's story was, I found all that I learned about Vietnam during this period to be equally interesting.


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