A Tract of Time

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A Tract of Time
A Tract of Time.jpg
Cover of 1966 Houghton Mifflin
first edition. Dust jacket illustration by William Hofmann.
Author Smith Hempstone
Country United States
Language English
Genre Vietnam War novel
Publisher Houghton Mifflin
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardcover)

A Tract of Time is an antiwar novel from 1966 by Smith Hempstone, that covers the time period about 1960, when there was an attempted coup of South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem.[1] Even as the United States backed Diem's government during the war, its American advisers worked with the Montagnard people who opposed Diem, to help them fight the Viet Cong, whom they also opposed.[1] The book follows one CIA operative, Harry Coltart, as he works with the Montagnard mountain tribesmen in the Central Highlands.[citation needed] Harry is initially successful in getting the Montagnards to fight against the Viet Cong, but then the Montagnards are betrayed and South Vietnamese troops are sent in. Harry has to be rescued as the Montagnards join the Viet Cong.[2]

The book has been considered to be an important novel from the time,[1] and has been cited in at least one history book.[3] It was listed in Firsts: The Book Collector's Magazine in a list of the top 51 Vietnam War novels.[1]


  • Avon paperback


  1. ^ a b c d Recollection Used Books. "Recollection Used Books". Retrieved 2008-02-29. [unreliable source?]
  2. ^ Only novelists can write about politics…. Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved 2008-02-29. 
  3. ^ Christie, Clive J. (1998). A Modern History of Southeast Asia: Decolonization, Nationalism and Separatism. London: I.B. Tauris. p. 242. ISBN 1-86064-354-X.