* Last Century of Lao Royalty, The: A Documentary History
* Indochina’s Refugees: Oral Histories from Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam
* Before the Quagmire: American Intervention in Laos, 1954-1961
* Gathering Leaves and Lifting Words: Histories of Buddhist Monastic Education in Laos and Thailand
* Sky Is Falling: An Oral History of the CIA’s Evacuation of the Hmong from Laos
|Last Century of Lao Royalty, The: A Documentary History|
by Grant Evans
Silkworm Books, 2012
Lao royalty’s engagement in all the major events of the country in the last century forms a rich and complex narrative. But with the 1975 Communist revolution this history fell into oblivion and has all but disappeared from public memory.
The Last Century of Lao Royalty recovers this history by presenting a wealth of rare documents and photographs. They bring to life the political, social, and cultural activities of the members of the royal families and provide a unique perspective on the role of royalty in modern Laos. Royalty was, in fact, a force for moderation, modernization, and democracy during the period of the Royal Lao Government (1947-1975). The last king, King Sisavang Vatthana, for instance, refused to give his imprimatur to a military dictatorship because he was so doggedly committed to constitutional rule.
|Indochina’s Refugees: Oral Histories from Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam|
by Joanna Catherine Scott
This poignant collection of oral histories tells the stories of nine Laotians, four Cambodians and nine Vietnamese: what their lives were like before 1975, what happened after the Communist takeover that made them decide to flee their native countries, and how they escaped. The storytellers (housewife, Amerasian child, schoolteacher, government clerk, military officer, security agent, Buddhist monk, artist) create a broad and moving picture of the new realities of contemporary Indochina.
|Before the Quagmire: American Intervention in Laos, 1954-1961|
by William J. Rust
The University Press of Kentucky, 2012
In the decade preceding the first U.S. combat operations in Vietnam, the Eisenhower administration sought to defeat a communist-led insurgency in neighboring Laos. Although U.S. foreign policy in the 1950s focused primarily on threats posed by the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China, the American engagement in Laos evolved from a small cold war skirmish into a superpower confrontation near the end of President Eisenhower’s second term. Ultimately, the American experience in Laos foreshadowed many of the mistakes made by the United States in Vietnam in the 1960s.
In Before the Quagmire: American Intervention in Laos, 1954–1961, William J. Rust delves into key policy decisions made in Washington and their implementation in Laos, which became first steps on the path to the wider war in Southeast Asia. Drawing on previously untapped archival sources, Before the Quagmire documents how ineffective and sometimes self-defeating assistance to Laotian anticommunist elites reflected fundamental misunderstandings about the country’s politics, history, and culture. The American goal of preventing a communist takeover in Laos was further hindered by divisions among Western allies and U.S. officials themselves, who at one point provided aid to both the Royal Lao Government and to a Laotian general who plotted to overthrow it. Before the Quagmire is a vivid analysis of a critical period of cold war history, filling a gap in our understanding of U.S. policy toward Southeast Asia and America’s entry into the Vietnam War.
|Gathering Leaves and Lifting Words: Histories of Buddhist Monastic Education in Laos and Thailand|
by Justin Thomas Mcdaniel
University of Washington Press, 2008
“Gathering Leaves and Lifting Words” examines modern and pre-modern Buddhist monastic education traditions in Laos and Thailand. Through five centuries of adaptation and reinterpretation of sacred texts and commentaries, Justin McDaniel traces curricular variations in Buddhist oral and written education that reflect a wide array of community goals and values. He depicts Buddhism as a series of overlapping processes, bringing fresh attention to the continuities of Theravada monastic communities that have endured despite regional and linguistic variations. Incorporating both primary and secondary sources from Thailand and Laos, he examines pre-modern inscriptional, codicological, anthropological, art historical, ecclesiastical, royal, and French colonial records. He traces how pedagogical techniques found in pre-modern palm-leaf manuscripts are pervasive in modern education by looking at modern sermons, and even television programmes and websites.
|Sky Is Falling: An Oral History of the CIA’s Evacuation of the Hmong from Laos|
by Gayle L. Morrison
Starting in 1960, Hmong guerrilla soldiers, under the command of General Vang Pao, functioned as the hands and feet of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency’s secret war against communist forces in Laos. Operating out of Long Cheng, the Hmong soldiers allowed the CIA to accomplish two objectives: to maintain the perception of United States neutrality in Laos and to tie up North Vietnamese troops in Laos who would otherwise have been sent to fight in South Vietnam. The U.S. government had quietly pledged to General Vang Pao and the Hmong that the Americans would take care of them in the event that Laos fell. In May 1975, this promise was redeemed when the CIA generated an air evacuation that moved more than 2,500 Hmong officers, soldiers and family members out of their mountain-ringed airbase. Fifty or so Hmong and Americans involved in the evacuation provide herein a firsthand account of the 14-day evacuation and the events leading up to it. Their accounts document both the political and human aspects of this unusual historical event.