Voices From The Plain of Jars

About the Book

During the Vietnam War the United States government waged a massive, secret air war in neighboring Laos. Two million tons of bombs were dropped on one million people. Fred Branfman, an educational advisor living in Laos at the time, interviewed over 1,000 Laotian survivors. Shocked by what he heard and saw, he urged them to record their experiences in essays, poems, and pictures. Voices from the Plain of Jars was the result of that effort.


Why we recommend it: A classic, must-read account of the bombings in the voices of the survivors themselves, curated by the activist who first testified in Congress that civilians were being targeted. Excellent for educators and those seeking to understand the human side of the secret war.

About the Author

Fred Branfman

Fred Branfman

During this period Chi, who had left home years earlier, returned as a transgender male with the name Minh. After several months, Minh committed suicide. His tragic death was the catalyst for Pham's journey to Vietnam and self-discovery. After Minh's death, Pham decided to take a trip to the Pacific Northwest and then to Vietnam. He chronicled this journey in his book, Catfish and Mandala: A Two-Wheeled Voyage Through the Landscape and Memory of Vietnam.