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Finding the Dragon Lady
"Deeply intriguing...one hell of a story." - Daily Beast
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Author Biography

Ask the Author

Created: 07/25/14

Replies: 5

Posted Jul. 25, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
BookBrowse

Join Date: 11/16/10

Posts: 49

Ask the Author

Monique Brinson Demery will be joining us to answer questions about Finding the Dragon Lady. If you have questions please post them below by Monday Nov 3. Thank you!


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

Join Date: 10/27/14

Posts: 3

Did you have any contact with Madame Nhu's children? You have made me very curious about other things about Vietnam and I am ready to read more accounts. Thank you!

It wasn't until after Madame Nhu's death that I began corresponding with the children. She had always told me that they were anxious to put the past behind them, but after my emails with her sons and son in law, I got the feeling that they did want their mother's story told. Their objection to my book was my decision to include mention of the mysterious diary that turned up in New York. To them, that was their mother's stolen property, but to me, it was a fascinating piece of the story. What did you think?


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

Join Date: 12/03/11

Posts: 160

Expert

I know you touched on this, but could you explain in more detail how/why you came to be so interested in the Viet Nam of the war years?

That's a great question! I think it is because my mom is French and my dad is American. Both cultures have a history entangled with Vietnam's and yet, when I was growing up, there wasn't much of a dialog about Vietnam as a country- just as a war. I guess I found it mysterious that there was so much that wasn't said.


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

Join Date: 12/03/11

Posts: 160

Expert

I'm curious as to your own overall impression of Madame Nhu. Did her bad side outweigh her good side, or the other way around?

Q. In Chapter 12 ("Burning Monks") in particular, your disillusionment and disappointment with Madame Nhu seems to come through especially when you realize that there are probably no memoirs to be had, and realize that Madame Nhu is using you to get things she wants, such as the tiger skin pictures and the Bishop's speech. You showed a not very flattering but likely accurate picture of Madame Nhu. You did keep going despite her hanging up on you and breaking all contact for a year, so there must have been something that sustained you despite the difficulty. In that light, I'm curious as to your own overall impression of Madame Nhu. Did her bad side outweigh her good side, or the other way around?

A. On the personal side, I liked her. She could be funny, she was considerate and always asking about my children were. By the time I knew her, she was lonely and glad to talk, so the personal connection was fulfilling, for both of us. But I don't agree with dictatorships in general and I don't think she was a good leader. I don't think she would have given me the time of day before she found herself in the situation she was in. But I often wonder if she would have been famous at all if she hadn't been so outrageous and cruel when she was in power?


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

Join Date: 10/25/14

Posts: 5

Did your view of the American leaders and our nation's role in the war change after doing the extensive research and interviewing Madame Nhu and others who were influential in Vietnam and the U. S. at that time?

I was very surprised and shocked by Jacqueline Kennedy's views on political women. I've always seen the romantic side of Camelot, so digging through the Kennedy administration's sordid history with Vietnam was eye opening.


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

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1335

Expert

I understand that she was very secretive but was there nothing about what happened to her after the regime fell?

There was stuff in the US National Archives about her failed attempts to get a visa to the US in the mid 1960s, and there were copies of her annual Women's Day speeches that she continued to write and copy various congress members on, but publicly she faded almost completely away until the journalist Stanley Karnow's collaboration with PBS on a Vietnam documentary series in the early 1980s, and then of course there was the murder of her parents in 1986. That fits with Madame Nhu's characterization of herself as a recluse, leaving the house only to go to church or to be with her family.


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