River of Time: A Memoir of Vietnam
by Jon Swain
Jon Swain left Britain as a teenager, driven by his ambition to travel to far-away places, explore life on the borders of death, and escape from the ... Show synopsis Jon Swain left Britain as a teenager, driven by his ambition to travel to far-away places, explore life on the borders of death, and escape from the straitjacket of a conventional and orderly English existence. After a brief stint with the French Foreign Legion he became a journalist in Paris, but soon ended up in Vietnam and Cambodia. So began an adventure and a love affair with the countries of former French Indo-China, to which he has been faithful ever since. Motivated by a sense of close involvement with the Cambodian people, he went back into Phnom Penh on the last plane just before the fall of the city to the Khmer Rouge in April 1975. Swain was captured and would have been executed had his life not been saved by Dith Pran, the New York Times interpreter, a story told by the critically acclaimed film The Killing Fields. Even to this day Swain feels that perhaps he should not be alive. The vigorous demands of a war correspondent and Swain's commitment to a pillaged country ran rampant over his personal life. A love affair with a French-Vietnamese girl ended in disillusion and disaster, leaving him with an overwhelming sense of personal failure. This memoir is one man's attempt to make peace with a tumultuous past, to come to terms with his memories of fear, pain, and death, and to say good-bye to the Indo-China he loved.