Ashes of War

Book Summary

by MH Murphy

Ashes of WarThe ashes of war are the millions of South Vietnamese people whose lives were irrevocably changed by the coming and passing of a single major event in their history, the surrender of their country to its mortal enemies, North Viet Nam and the Viet Cong, on April 30, 1975.

The Communists, once in control, completely ignored the articles of the 1973 Paris Peace Accords, which ensured democratic freedoms, freedom from reprisal and the right to self-determination for the people of South Viet Nam. Then they set about punishing the vanquished.

During the Viet Nam War, there were an estimated 10 million war refugees, and few had any desire to leave their homeland. Only days before the end of the war, people who believed they would have no future under Communist rule began to flee the country. This began an exodus that continued for more than two decades with more than 2.5 million people fleeing Viet Nam. Some fled over land, but most fled by water on anything that would float. It also became the greatest humanitarian crisis in history, and a new term was coined and recognized all over the world: "Boat People."

This book tells of the plight of the South Vietnamese people at the end of, and after, the Viet Nam War. It shares the stories of the people who fled their beloved country, and those who stayed behind and attempted to create a new life in the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam.

"Painstakingly and meticulously researched, the book is an authentic and compassionate portrait of a people in turmoil. Murphy has a personal and deeply felt relationship with the country and its people, and this comes over loud and clear in his passionate account of their plight."

- Amanda Jenkinson

The Author: MH Murphy

MH Murphy is a Viet Nam War veteran who served with the U.S.  Marine Corps in the areas around Qui Nhon and Chu Lai in 1965–66. His experiences and the images of Viet Nam’s natural beauty have never left him. Murphy grew up and went to school on the south side of Chicago and in the south suburbs, and attended college after his discharge from the Marines. He opted out of full-time school in favor of part time, and pursued a career in real estate. He decided to fulfill a personal promise and began to write all the stories he had been entertaining people with for years. He wrote a number of short stories and then decided to tap into his fascination with the plight of the South Vietnamese people at the end of and after the Viet Nam War.

Read an Excerpt

The setting sun over this city of Sai Gon on April 27, 1975, turned an extraordinary blood red, an ominous warning of things to come. With the dawn that followed, Communist aircraft bombed the Tan Son Nhut Air Base, and a single early-morning rocket strike touched off a firestorm that burned hundred of homes to the ground. Artillery from the People's Army of Viet Nam (PAVN) continually pummeled the surrounding cities and villages and drove the refugees who poured into our city day and night, from all directions.

It was an unusually hot day in Sai Gon, and the Red Army was amassing around our capital city, preparing to lay siege. The Viet Nam War, which had raged on for more than 20 years, was rapidly drawing to its tragic close, and the anti-Communist Republic of Viet Nam would soon be drawing its last breaths.