The Vietnamese Gulag

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Le Goulag Vietnamien
(First edition)
Author Doan Van Toai, as told to Michel Voirol
Country France
Language French
Genre Autobiography
Publisher Paris : R. Laffont
Media type Print
Pages 341 p.
ISBN 2-221-00385-3
OCLC 476545048
The Vietnamese Gulag
(First English translation)
Author Doan Van Toai, David Chanoff
Original title Le Goulag Vietnamien
Translator Sylvie Romanowski and Françoise Simon-Miller.
Country tr. from France
Language tr. from French
Publisher Simon & Schuster
Publication date
tr. from 1979
Published in English
Media type Print
Pages 351 p.
ISBN 0-671-60350-7
OCLC 12840146

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.


  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