Vietnamese Refugees in Orange County: Background information when reading The Recruit

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The Recruit

A Novel

by Alan Drew

The Recruit by Alan Drew X
The Recruit by Alan Drew
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  • First Published:
    Jun 2022, 432 pages

    Aug 1, 2023, 432 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Peggy Kurkowski
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About this Book

Vietnamese Refugees in Orange County

This article relates to The Recruit

Black and white photo of refugees deboarding planeAfter the South Vietnamese capital of Saigon fell to North Vietnamese military forces in April 1975, hundreds of thousands of South Vietnamese escaped to American ships off the coast, either by boat or helicopter. In Alan Drew's The Recruit, the character Bao Phan is one of these refugees. The International Rescue Committee (IRC) estimates that over two million people left Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia in the 20 years after the fall of Saigon, and by 1992, more than a million had been admitted to the U.S.

One of the points of arrival for refugees was the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station near Irvine, California. In the late 1970s, El Toro received tens of thousands of refugees fleeing the war-torn region. After their first steps on American soil at El Toro, the refugees were bundled onto buses for a 30-minute drive to relocation centers at Camp Pendleton (also a storyline feature in Drew's novel). In these relocation centers, relief organizations such as the IRC helped the new arrivals ...

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