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Most general studies came from the 1990s and, therefore, are somewhat dated in at least a few respects. They should be read with an eye towards more recent scholarship.

  • Do, Hien Duc. The Vietnamese Americans. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1999.
  • Freeman, James M. Changing Identities: Vietnamese Americans 1975-1995. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1995.
  • Rutledge, Paul James. The Vietnamese Experience in America. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1992.


  • Nguyen, Bich Minh. Stealing Buddha’s Dinner: A Memoir.  New York: Viking, 2007.  This memoir is about a three-generation refugee family that settled in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1975.  Food figures large in the narrative, as suggested by the title. But there is a lot more about the small refugee community such as labor, schooling, cultural adaptation, and the marriage of the author’s father to a Mexican American woman.
  • Sawyer, Anh Vu (with Ann Proctor). Song of Saigon: One Woman’s Journey to Freedom.  New York: Warner Books, 2003.  In some respects – and for reasons scholars of gender history may like to look into – Vietnamese women in America took the lead in publishing English-language memoirs about their lives in South Vietnam and the U.S.   This is one such example.
  • Stockton, Josephine. A Long Way from Saigon: Phin’s Memoirs from Bar Girl to Dignity.  Kansas City: Truman Publishing Company, 2002. 
  • Click here for the website Vietnamese Refugees, a Toronto-based and recent (2016) effort to collect memories.


  • Chan, Sucheng, ed. The Vietnamese American 1.5 Generation: Stories of War, Revolution, Flight, and New Beginnings. Philadephia: Temple University Press, 2006.  Collection of narratives from Chan’s students at UC Santa Barbara in the 1980s and 1990s. The preface and first chapter are available from the title link, and the opening story in the preface should be read even if you have no plan to read the book.
  • Sachs, Dana. The Life We Were Given: Operation Babylift, International Adoption, and the Children of War in Vietnam. Boston: Beacon Press, 2011.


  • Cargill, Mary Terrell and Jade Quang Huynh. Voices of Vietnamese Boat People: Nineteen Narratives of Escape and Survival. McFarland, 2000.
  • Dang, Chat V, Hien V. Ho, Nghia M. Vo, An T. Than, and Anne R. Capdeville, eds. The Vietnamese Mayflowers of 1975, Expanded Ed. Scotts Valley, CA: CreateSpace LLC, 2010.  A collection of short recollections – most are 2-4 pages long – of refugees, mostly physicians, of their lives in South Vietnam and after 1975.
  • Hoang, Carina.  Boat People: Personal Stories from the Vietnamese Exodus 1975-1996. Carina Hoang Communications, 2010.
  • Lao, Don.  I Became the Boat People: A Refugee’s Path to America. Abbott Press, 2014
  • Vinh Liem.  Lament of the Boat People / Bi Ca Nguoi Vuot Bien: Poetry and Essays. 2008.  This collection is bilingual.


  • Chan, Yuk Wah, ed. The Chinese/Vietnamese Diaspora: Revisiting the Boat People. New York: Routledge, 2011.
  • Elleman, Bruce A. “The Looting and Rape of Vietnamese Boat People.” Piracy and Maritime Crime: Historical and Modern Case Studies, eds., Bruce A. Elleman, Andrew Forbes, David Rosenberg. Newport: Naval War College Press, 2010. pp. 97-108.
  • Tran, Quan Tue. “Remembering the Boat People Exodus: A Tale of Two Memorials.” Journal of Vietnamese Studies 7:3 (Fall 2012): 80-121.


  • Chung Hoang Chuong and Le Van. The Amerasians from Vietnam: A California Study. Folsom, CA: Southeast Asia Community Resource Center, 1994.