Where the Wind Leads

Where the Wind Leads

by Vinh Chung

Overview: My name is Vinh Chung. This is a story that spans two continents, ten decades, and eleven thousand miles. When I was three and a half years old, my family was forced to flee Vietnam in June 1979, a place we had never heard of somewhere in the heartland of America. Several weeks later my family lay half-dead from dehydration in a derelict fishing boat jammed with ninety-three refugees lost in the middle of the South China Sea. We arrived in the United States with nothing but the clothes on our backs and unable to speak a single word of English. Today my family holds twenty-one university degrees. How we got from there to here is quite a story.

Where the Wind Leads is the remarkable account of Vinh Chung and his refugee familyís daring escape from communist oppression for the chance of a better life in America. Itís a story of personal sacrifice, redemption, endurance against almost insurmountable odds, and what it truly means to be American.

Debbie Weiss (06/24/16): This memoir about Vinh Chung and his family's escape from Vietnam was a fascinating read, and very timely today as the refugee crisis is having a such a great impact on our contemporary world. Driven out their native country to escape the communist oppression in the 1970's, they arrived in the US with little other than the clothes on their backs. Yet, like many other immigrant stories that we have heard of, this hard-working family labored diligently and saved every penny they could. Vinh's father's highest dream was for each of his children to become a doctor, the ultimate symbol of success in his eyes. While only Vinh and one brother actually got medical degrees (Vinh's from Harvard) --- the other 6 or so brothers and sisters all obtained B.S. degrees or Master's Degrees or Optometrical degrees and achieved that illusive American dream.

There were some religious overtones in the story. The boat that the Chungs escaped on, and almost died on in the South China sea, was saved by a man named Stan Mooneyham, who worked for a Christian organization called World Vision. Certain "miracles" occurred along their long journey which could not be explained away by coincidence. There were people who cared for them who were of the Christian faith and spoke to them of their belief system. Once in America, there was no question that they would become affiliated with a Christian church. In fact, all author royalties from the sale of the book will go to benefit World Vision.

I was extremely impressed with the author, Vinh Chung. Nothing in his life was ever handed to him on a silver platter. He was focused on making a good life for himself and for his family. With that one goal in mind, he was a success. I learned a lot about the Vietnamese culture through the stories about his family and I learned a little bit of background regarding the Vietnam War. This is a book I would recommend.
Rating: ****

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