Reviews

“‘Finding the Dragon Lady’ is a brave book. Demery realized that “I had been handed the chance to breathe some life into the remote, exotic place in history to which she had been assigned,” and she took that opportunity to push beyond the conventional understanding of this painful and polarizing era. It’s a testament to her deep knowledge of Vietnamese and American culture that she leaves us wondering what might have been.” – San Francisco chronicle

“Engagingly provocative…Smart and well-researched, Demery’s biography offers insight into both an intriguing figure and the complicated historical moment with which she became eternally identified. A welcome addition to the literature on Vietnam.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Deeply intriguing…one hell of a story.” –Daily Beast

“She was an enigma, extremely powerful in her heyday but almost forgotten since then: Madame Nhu, wife to the brother of the president of South Vietnam and in practical terms the first lady, a woman small of stature but hugely influential, whose participation in events preceding the 1963 coup that saw her own husband and brother-in-law executed contributed directly to the escalation of the war in Vietnam and to the radical alteration of the American and Vietnamese political and social landscapes. Based on Madame Nhu’s unpublished memoirs and on personal interviews with the woman known as the Dragon Lady, the book restores Madame Nhu to her proper place in history, as a ruthless and brilliant woman without whose manipulations the war in Vietnam might have turned out very differently. Madame Nhu, who died in 2011, spent more than 40 years (roughly the second half of her life) living far out of the public eye; this frequently surprising book brings its subject back from exile.– David Pitt, Booklist

“Even those familiar with the history of Vietnam will be astonished at the bizarre case of Madame Nhu. Monique Demery tracks down the original Vietnamese ‘Dragon Lady’ who confesses to weaknesses and heartbreak but refuses to take responsibility for her role in the war that ruined so many lives in her country and ours.” – Elizabeth Becker, author of “When the War Was Over: Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge”

“Finding the Dragon Lady is a truly monumental achievement. Demery has vividly captured the life and times of one of Vietnam’s most intriguing figures. Beautifully told, and exhaustively researched in French, Vietnamese, and American sources—including interviews with Madame Nhu—Demery’s book is now the standard for understanding the cultural politics of South Vietnam’s first family.” — Robert K. Brigham, Shirley Ecker Boskey Professor of History and International Relations, Vassar College

“Monique Demery’s account of her search for one of the pivotal figures in the Vietnam War, the beautiful and dangerous Madame Nhu, is a riveting detective story and a fascinating portrait of a woman far more complicated than her media image as the Dragon Lady.”— Philip Caputo, author of “A Rumor of War” and “The Longest Road”

In the Media

Discussing Finding the Dragon Lady on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

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