The Vietnamese Gulag

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Le Goulag Vietnamien
(First edition)
AuthorDoan Van Toai, as told to Michel Voirol
PublisherParis : R. Laffont
Media typePrint
Pages341 p.
The Vietnamese Gulag
(First English translation)
AuthorDoan Van Toai, David Chanoff
Original titleLe Goulag Vietnamien
TranslatorSylvie Romanowski and Françoise Simon-Miller.
Countrytr. from France
Languagetr. from French
PublisherSimon & Schuster
Publication date
tr. from 1979
Published in English
Media typePrint
Pages351 p.

The Vietnamese Gulag is the autobiography of the Vietnamese pro-democracy activist Doan Van Toai. The book focuses specifically on his arrest and imprisonment by the Communist Vietnamese government, events which precipitated a change in his political belief from lukewarm communist to advocate of democracy.

Writing in The New York Times, Robert Shaplan said that the book "is reminiscent, at its best, of E. E. Cummings's Enormous Room and Arthur Koestler's Darkness at Noon."[1] Shaplan also notes that the book's "value derives from [the author] having been one of the first Vietnamese to write effectively of his experience, and to describe what he calls 'the method of the betrayal' of his revolutionary hopes and ideals."[1] John P Roche, who reviewed the book for the Los Angeles Times, called the narrative "moving" and "written with a striking lack of self-pity".[2]

The Vietnamese Gulag was originally written in French (Le Goulag Vietnamien) and published in 1979.[1][3] A German translation followed in 1980;[4] the English translation was published in 1986 and generally met with critical approval.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Robert Shaplan (July 13, 1986). "Rethinking the Revolution". The New York Times. Retrieved April 10, 2011.
  2. ^ John P Roche (June 1, 1986). "The Vietnamese Gulag by Doan Van Toai and David Chanoff (Simon & Schuster: $18.95; 312 pp., illustrated)". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 10, 2011.
  3. ^ Le Goulag Vietnamien OCLC 476545048
  4. ^ Der Vietnamesische Gulag OCLC 14405683