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  • Cited by 2
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
April 2021
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Book description

Few historians of the Vietnam War have covered the post-1975 era or engaged comprehensively with refugee politics, humanitarianism, and human rights as defining issues of the period. After Saigon's Fall is the first major work to uncover this history. Amanda C. Demmer offers a new account of the post-War normalization of US–Vietnam relations by centering three major transformations of the late twentieth century: the reassertion of the US Congress in American foreign policy; the Indochinese diaspora and changing domestic and international refugee norms; and the intertwining of humanitarianism and the human rights movement. By tracing these domestic, regional, and global phenomena, After Saigon's Fall captures the contingencies and contradictions inherent in US-Vietnamese normalization. Using previously untapped archives to recover a riveting narrative with both policymakers and nonstate advocates at its center, Demmer's book also reveals much about US politics and society in the last quarter of the twentieth century.


‘1975 was not just the end of the Vietnam War, this path breaking book argues, but also the start of a new chapter in US-Vietnamese relations, entered on the messy politics of normalization. After Saigon’s Fall will be essential reading for scholars of human rights, humanitarianism, and 20th century international history.’

Julia F. Irwin - author of Making the World Safe: The American Red Cross and a Nation’s Humanitarian Awakening

‘Demmer’s book beautifully evokes the bodies that loomed over efforts at US-Vietnamese normalization - the POW/MIAs for whom Americans demanded a ‘full accounting’ and the Vietnamese who migrated en masse to the United States in the decades following the war. As she illuminates the war’s final chapter, Demmer exposes the myriad ways in which family reunification was at the center of reconciliation efforts after Saigon’s fall.’

Sarah Snyder - author of From Selma to Moscow: How Human Rights Activists Transformed U.S. Foreign Policy

‘Built on impressive research and showcasing incisive analysis, After Saigon’s Fall shows how migration vitally shaped the post-war relationship between Vietnam and the United States. Astute and engaging, Amanda Demmer’s book is a must read for scholars of immigration, the Cold War, and human rights and humanitarianism.’

Carl J. Bon Tempo - author of Americans at the Gate: The United States and Refugees during the Cold War

‘In After Saigon’s Fall, Amanda Demmer examines the interconnectedness of war and peace. By foregrounding refugees, the politics of humanitarianism, and the memory of war, she offers profound insights of how the aftermath of war is in many ways its continuation.’

Judy Wu - author of Radicals on the Road: Internationalism, Orientalism and Feminism during the Vietnam Era

‘Beyond illuminating a vital dimension of US-Vietnam relations and using it to think more carefully about the war’s legacies, it seems to me that this is the value of Demmer’s book: to alert foreign relations scholars to the ways in which even stateless actors shape the behavior of states, and to offer a model of how to research that dynamic.’

Michael J. Allen Source: H-Diplo

‘Her work is nothing short of a model for how to write a new history of the Vietnam War.’

Heather Marie Stur Source: H-Diplo

‘Amanda Demmer presents us with an entirely new way of looking at U.S.-Vietnamese relations after 1975 … Demmer’s book is a most welcome addition to what is still a relatively scarce scholarship on the post war period, and is undoubtedly the definitive study on the complex intertwined processes of U.S-SRV normalization and South Vietnamese migration to the United States.’

Kathryn C. Statler Source: Passport: The Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations Review

‘… a succinct and readable book that examines a part of the Vietnam War that is largely overlooked if not flatly ignored … Demmer’s book is also a timely one. With continued, and often hostile, domestic political debate regarding Afghan refugees and migrants along the southern US border, Demmer’s book acts as an informative guide on how US policies regarding these issues are formed, debated, and enacted.’

James Pomeroy Source: H-Net Reviews

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