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Southeast Asia

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  1. 24.6 hrs • 1/15/2015 • Unabridged

    Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma’s “woman of destiny” and one of the most admired voices for freedom in the world today, comes alive through this brilliant rendering of Burma’s tumultuous history. Award-winning journalist and former State Department speechwriter Rena Pederson brings to light fresh details about the charismatic Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi: the inspiration for Burma’s (now Myanmar) first steps towards democracy. Suu Kyi’s party will be a major contender in the 2015 elections, a revolutionary breakthrough after years of military dictatorship. Using exclusive interviews with Suu Kyi since her release from fifteen years of house arrest, as well as recently disclosed diplomatic cables, Pederson uncovers new facets to Suu Kyi’s extraordinary story. The Burma Spring also reveals the extraordinary steps taken by First Lady Laura Bush to help Suu Kyi, as well as how former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton injected new momentum into Burma’s democratic rebirth. Pederson provides a never-before-seen view of the harrowing hardships the people of Burma have endured and the fiery political atmosphere in which Suu Kyi has fought a life-and-death struggle for liberty in this fascinating part of the world.

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    The Burma Spring by Rena Pederson

    The Burma Spring

    Foreword by Laura Bush
    Read by Karen White
    24.6 hrs • 1/15/15 • Unabridged
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  2. 11.9 hrs • 4/1/2014 • Unabridged

    The vivid, fast-paced account of the siege of Khe Sanh told through the eyes of the men who lived it. For seventy-seven days in 1968, amid fears that America faced its own disastrous Dien Bien Phu, six thousand US Marines held off thirty thousand North Vietnamese Army regulars at the remote mountain stronghold called Khe Sanh. It was the biggest battle of the Vietnam War, with sharp ground engagements, devastating artillery duels, and massive US air strikes. After several weeks of heroic defense, the besieged Americans struck back in a series of bold assaults, and the North Vietnamese withdrew with heavy losses. Last Stand at Khe Sanh is the vivid, fast-paced account of the dramatic confrontation as experienced by the men who were there: Marine riflemen and grenadiers, artillery and air observers, platoon leaders and company commanders, Navy corpsmen and helicopter pilots, and a plucky band of US Army Special Forces. Based on extensive archival research and more than one hundred interviews with participants, Last Stand at Khe Sanh captures the courage and camaraderie of the defenders and delivers the fullest account yet of this epic battle.

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    Last Stand at Khe Sanh by Gregg Jones

    Last Stand at Khe Sanh

    11.9 hrs • 4/1/14 • Unabridged
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  3. 8.4 hrs • 3/25/2014 • Unabridged

    From Robert D. Kaplan, named one of the world's Top 100 Global Thinkers by Foreign Policy magazine, comes a penetrating look at the volatile region that will dominate the future of geopolitical conflict.

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    Asia's Cauldron

    8.4 hrs • 3/25/14 • Unabridged
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  4. 1 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5 (1)
    14.8 hrs • 2/4/2014 • Unabridged

    The story of the indomitable American POWs who endured “Alcatraz,” the Hanoi prison camp where North Vietnam locked its most dangerous and subversive prisoners, and the wives who fought to bring them home During the Vietnam War, hundreds of American prisoners of war faced years of brutal conditions and horrific torture at the hands of communist interrogators who ruthlessly plied them for military intelligence and propaganda. Determined to maintain their code of conduct, the inmates of the Hanoi Hilton and other POW camps developed a powerful underground resistance. To quash it, the North Vietnamese singled out its eleven leaders, Vietnam’s own “dirty dozen,” and banished them to an isolated jail that would become known as Alcatraz. None would leave its solitary cells and interrogation rooms unscathed; one would never leave. As these men suffered in Hanoi, their wives launched an extraordinary campaign that would ultimately spark the POW/MIA movement. When the survivors finally returned, one would receive the Medal of Honor, another became a US senator, and a third still serves in congress. A story of survival and triumph in the vein of Unbroken and Band of Brothers, Defiant will inspire anyone wondering how courage, faith, and brotherhood can endure even in the darkest of situations.

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    Defiant

    14.8 hrs • 2/4/14 • Unabridged
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  5. 13.2 hrs • 5/13/2013 • Unabridged

    In this classic account of the French war in Indochina, Bernard B. Fall vividly captures the sights, sounds, and smells of the savage eight-year conflict in the jungles and mountains of Southeast Asia from 1946 to 1954. The French fought well to the last, but even with the lethal advantages of airpower, they could not stave off the Communist-led Vietnamese nationalists, who countered with a hit-and-run campaign of ambushes, booby traps, and nighttime raids. Defeat came at Dien Bien Phu in 1954, setting the stage for American involvement and opening another tragic chapter in Vietnam’s history.

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    Street without Joy

    13.2 hrs • 5/13/13 • Unabridged
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  6. 15.2 hrs • 11/1/2012 • Unabridged

    While most historians of the Vietnam War focus on the origins of US involvement and the Americanization of the conflict, Lien-Hang T. Nguyen examines the international context in which North Vietnamese leaders pursued the war and American intervention ended. This riveting narrative takes the listener from the marshy Mekong Delta swamps to the bomb-saturated Red River Delta, from the corridors of power in Hanoi and Saigon to the Nixon White House, and from the peace negotiations in Paris to high-level meetings in Beijing and Moscow, all to reveal that peace never had a chance in Vietnam. Hanoi’s War renders transparent the internal workings of America’s most elusive enemy during the Cold War and shows that the war fought during the peace negotiations was bloodier and much more far-reaching than thought before. Using never-before-seen archival materials from the Vietnam Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as materials from other archives around the world, Nguyen explores the politics of warmaking and peacemaking not only from the North Vietnamese perspective but also from that of South Vietnam, the Soviet Union, China, and the United States, presenting a uniquely international portrait.

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    Hanoi’s War by Lien-Hang T. Nguyen

    Hanoi’s War

    15.2 hrs • 11/1/12 • Unabridged
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  7. 8.8 hrs • 6/1/2012 • Unabridged

    Invariably, armies are accused of preparing to fight the previous war. In Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife, Lieutenant Colonel John A. Nagl—a veteran of both Operation Desert Storm and the conflict in Iraq—considers the now crucial question of how armies adapt to changing circumstances during the course of conflicts for which they are initially unprepared. Through the use of archival sources and interviews with participants in both engagements, Nagl compares the development of counterinsurgency doctrine and practice in the Malayan Emergency from 1948 to 1960 with what developed in the Vietnam War from 1950 to 1975. In examining these two events, Nagl argues that organizational culture is key to the ability to learn from unanticipated conditions, a variable which explains why the British army successfully conducted counterinsurgency in Malaya and why the American army failed to do so in Vietnam, treating the war instead as a conventional conflict. Nagl concludes that the British army, because of its role as a colonial police force and the organizational characteristics created by its history and national culture, was better able to quickly learn and apply the lessons of counterinsurgency during the course of the Malayan Emergency. With a new preface reflecting on the author’s combat experience in Iraq, Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife is a timely examination of the lessons of previous counterinsurgency campaigns that will be hailed by both military leaders and interested civilians.

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    Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife by John A. Nagl

    Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife

    By John A. Nagl, with a new preface
    Foreword by General Peter J. Schoomaker
    Read by John Pruden
    8.8 hrs • 6/1/12 • Unabridged
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  8. 16.8 hrs • 12/1/2011 • Unabridged

    Anna Leonowens, a proper Englishwoman, was an unlikely candidate to change the course of Siamese (Thai) history. A young widow and mother, her services were engaged in the 1860s by King Mongkut of Siam to help him communicate with foreign governments and be the tutor to his children and favored concubines. Stepping off the steamer from London, Anna found herself in an exotic land she could have only dreamed. It was a lush landscape of mystic faiths and curious people, and king’s palace bustling with royal pageantry, ancient custom, and harems. One of her pupils, the young prince Chulalongkorn, was particularly influenced by Leonowens and her Western ideals. He learned about Abraham Lincoln and the tenets of democracy from her, and years later he would become Siam’s most progressive king. He guided the country’s transformation from a feudal state to a modern society, abolishing slavery and making many other radical reforms.  Weaving meticulously researched facts with beautifully imagined scenes, Margret Landon recreates an unforgettable portrait of life in a forgotten exotic land. Written more than fifty years ago and translated into dozens of languages, Anna and the King of Siam (the inspiration for the magical play and film The King and I) continues to delight and enchant readers around the world. 

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    Anna and the King of Siam

    16.8 hrs • 12/1/11 • Unabridged
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    9.9 hrs • 11/20/2010 • Unabridged

    The US Navy SEALs created a legend that would grow throughout the Vietnam War, earning an enemy bounty to anyone who could capture or kill one. As leader of the SEALs, Captain Robert A. Gormly tells his amazing story, taking us into some of the most hair-raising missions ever assigned. After a career including two tours of duty in Vietnam as well as top-secret missions in the Persian Gulf, Gormly examines war from a strategic point of view as well as from his own personal experience. In his vivid, gut-wrenching descriptions, the Mekong comes alive, as hours of careful stalking explode into incredible fusillades of violence. Candid, balanced, and tough-minded, Combat Swimmer is a fascinating and thrilling look into the life of an extraordinary kind of fighting man.

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    Combat Swimmer

    9.9 hrs • 11/20/10 • Unabridged
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  10. 8.3 hrs • 5/10/2010 • Unabridged

    A deeply reported account of life inside Burma in the months following the disastrous Cyclone Nargis and an analysis of the brutal totalitarian regime that clings to power in the devastated nation On May 2, 2008, an enormous tropical cyclone made landfall in Burma, wreaking untold havoc and leaving an official toll of 138,300 dead and missing. In the days that followed, the sheer scale of the disaster became apparent as information began to seep out from the hard-hit delta area. But the Burmese regime, in an unfathomable decision of near-genocidal proportions, provided little relief to its suffering population and blocked international aid from entering the country. Hundreds of thousands of Burmese citizens lacked food, drinking water, and basic shelter, but the xenophobic generals who rule the country refused emergency help. Emma Larkin, who has been traveling to and secretly reporting on Burma for years, managed to arrange for a tourist visa in those frenzied days and arrived hoping to help. It was impossible for anyone to gauge just how much devastation the cyclone had left in its wake; by all accounts, including the regime’s, it was a catastrophe of epic proportions. In Everything Is Broken, Larkin chronicles the chaotic days and months that followed the storm, revealing the secretive politics of Burma’s military dictatorship and the bizarre combination of vicious military force, religion, and mysticism that defined its unthinkable response to this horrific event. The Burmese regime hid the full extent of the storm’s devastation from the rest of the world, but the terrible consequences for Burma and its citizens continue to play out months after the headlines had faded from newspapers around the world. In Everything Is Broken, Larkin—whose deep knowledge of the Burmese people has afforded her unprecedented access and a rare understanding of life under Burmese oppression—provides a singular portrait of the regime responsible for compounding the tragedy and examines the historical, religious, and superstitious setting that created Burma’s tenacious and brutal dictatorship. Writing under an assumed name, Larkin delivers the heretofore untold story of a disaster that stunned the world, unveiling as she does so the motivations of the impenetrable generals who govern this troubled nation.

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    Everything Is Broken

    8.3 hrs • 5/10/10 • Unabridged
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  11. 9.0 hrs • 11/26/2007 • Unabridged

    November 1944. Army airmen set out in a B-24 bomber on what should have been an easy mission off the Borneo coast. Instead they found themselves unexpectedly facing a Japanese fleet—and were shot down. When they cut themselves loose from their parachutes, they were scattered across the island’s mountainous interior. Then a group of loincloth-wearing natives silently materialized out of the jungle. Would these Dayak tribesmen turn the starving airmen over to the hostile Japanese occupiers? Or would the Dayaks risk vicious reprisals to get the airmen safely home? The tribal leaders’ unprecedented decision led to a desperate game of hide-and-seek and, ultimately, the return of a long-renounced ritual: head-hunting. A cinematic survival story that features a bamboo airstrip built on a rice paddy, a mad British major, and a blowpipe-wielding army that helped destroy one of the last Japanese strongholds, The Airmen and the Headhunters is a gripping, you-are-there journey into the remote world and forgotten heroism of the Dayaks.

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    The Airmen and the Headhunters

    9.0 hrs • 11/26/07 • Unabridged
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  12. 12.3 hrs • 7/31/2007 • Unabridged

    Ronald H. Spector follows up his classic account of the American struggle against the Japanese in World War II with a revealing chronicle of the startling aftermath of this crucial twentieth-century conflict. Americans are accustomed to thinking that World War II ended on August 14, 1945, when the Japanese surrendered unconditionally. Yet on the mainland of Asia, in the vast arc stretching from Manchuria to Burma, peace was a brief, fretful interlude. In some parts of Asia, such as Java and Southern Indonesia, only a few weeks passed before new fighting broke out between nationalist forces and the former colonial powers. In China, a fragile and incomplete peace lasted only a few months, and peace fared no better in Northern Indochina and Korea. The result was years of grim and bitter struggles, during which many suffered far more greatly than they had during the war itself. In the Ruins of Empire is a sequel to the author’s well-known Eagle Against the Sun. In it, Ronald Spector describes how Vietnamese farmers struggled to survive another war with the French, while US soldiers and marines were amazed to find themselves sent to China and Korea instead of back to their hometowns. In the meantime, five million Japanese soldiers, farmers, and diplomats who were stranded on mainland Asia found themselves in new roles as insurgents, victims, mercenaries, and peacekeepers. Much of the material in this book has never been published before, and it casts new and startling light on events that shook the countries of Asia. Spector examines recently released material on these events from Soviet and Chinese archives and two top secret intelligence records released by the United States, as well as newly available Japanese documents. In addition, the author chronicles the individual stories of some of the Americans who were sent in to rescue prisoners of war and to tend to the surrender and repatriation of millions of Japanese.

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    In the Ruins of Empire

    12.3 hrs • 7/31/07 • Unabridged
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  13. 5.9 hrs • 5/15/2006 • Abridged

    At the outset of the Vietnam War, the Army created an experimental fighting unit that became known as “Tiger Force.” The Tigers were to be made up of the cream of the crop—the very best and bravest soldiers the American military could offer. They would be given a long leash, allowed to operate in the field with less supervision. Their mission was to seek out enemy compounds and hiding places so that bombing runs could be accurately targeted. They were to go where no troops had gone, to become one with the jungle, to leave themselves behind and get deep inside the enemy’s mind. The experiment went terribly wrong. What happened during the seven months Tiger Force descended into the abyss is the stuff of nightmares. Their crimes were uncountable, their madness beyond imagination—so much so that for almost four decades, the story of Tiger Force was covered up under orders that stretched all the way to the White House. Records were scrubbed, documents were destroyed, men were told to say nothing. But one person didn’t follow orders. The product of years of investigative reporting, interviews around the world, and the discovery of an astonishing array of classified information, Tiger Force is a masterpiece of journalism. Winners of the Pulitzer Prize for their Tiger Force reporting, Michael Sallah and Mitch Weiss have uncovered the last great secret of the Vietnam War.

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    Tiger Force

    5.9 hrs • 5/15/06 • Abridged
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  14. 2.8 hrs • 3/20/2006 • Unabridged

    Thailand, Laos, and Burma have been known as the “Golden Triangle” because of their historically prominent role in the drug trade. For centuries, these countries have produced the opium that has attracted traders from Europe and elsewhere. Economics, religion, and politics combine to make this area not only important but also, to the western mind, exotic. The World’s Political Hot Spots series explains the basis of conflicts in some of the world’s most politically sensitive areas. Many of these regions are in today’s headlines, and tensions recently have become violent in virtually all of them. Each presentation covers up to ten centuries of background, revealing how and why today’s problems occur.

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    The Golden Triangle by Bertil Lintner
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  15. 10.3 hrs • 11/1/2005 • Unabridged

    This 1870 memoir, which was the basis for the musical The King and I, vividly recounts the experiences of Anna Harriette Leonowens, who served as a governess for the sixty-plus children of King Mongkut of Siam and as translator and scribe for the King himself. Bright, young, and energetic, Leonowens was well-suited to her role, and her writings convey a heartfelt interest in the lives, legends, and languages of Siam’s rich and poor. She also tells of how she and the king often disagreed on matters domestic—this was the first time King Mongkut had met a woman who dared to contradict him, and the governess found the very idea of male domination intolerable. Her exchanges with His Majesty on topics like grammar, charity, slavery, politics, and religion add much to her diary’s rich, cross-cultural spirit and its East-meets-West appeal.

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    The English Governess at the Siamese Court by Anna Harriette Leonowens
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  16. 12.2 hrs • 9/14/2004 • Unabridged

    The history of the Vietnam War has rarely been told from the Vietnamese perspective—and never by a leader of that country. In Buddha's Child, Nguyen Cao Ky reveals the remarkable story of his tumultuous tenure as prime minister of South Vietnam, and offers unprecedented insight into the war’s beginning, escalation, and heartbreaking end. A thirty-four year old pilot and Air Force commander, known for his fighter-pilot’s moustache, flowing lavender scarf and his reputation as a ladies’ man, Ky in 1965 agreed to lead South Vietnam after a series of coups had dangerously destabilized the nation. Ky’s task was to unite a country riven by political, ethnic, and religious factions and undermined by corruption. With little experience in governing and none in international affairs, and while continuing to fly combat missions over Vietnam, Ky plunged into a war to save his homeland. He served as Premier until 1967, continued to be active in the war after his resignation, and finally left Vietnam in 1975 during the fall of Saigon. Buddha’s Child offers Ky’s perspective on the crucial events and memorable images of the Vietnam War: the coup against and execution of President Diem; the self-immolation by the Buddhist monk, and the radical Buddhists’ attempt to topple Ky’s government; the bloody and pivotal Tet Offensive; the shooting of a Vietcong prisoner, captured in one of the war’s most notorious photographs; the Paris Peace talks that sold out South Vietnam; and the last, desperate days of Saigon. In frank language, Ky discusses his own successes and failures as a leader and dramatically relates the progress of the war as it unfolded on the ground and behind the scenes—including anecdotes about Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, William Westmoreland, Henry Cabot Lodge, William Colby, Henry Kissinger, and many others.

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    Buddha’s Child

    12.2 hrs • 9/14/04 • Unabridged
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