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A War Away
A War Away

A War Away

An American Woman in Vietnam, 1967-1974


232 Pages, 5.75 x 8.25

Formats: EPUB, Mobipocket, Trade Paper

Trade Paper, $24.99 (US $24.99) (CA $33.99)

Publication Date: July 2018

ISBN 9789888422869

Rights: WOR X UK, EUR & CN

Earnshaw Books (Jul 2018)


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Tess Johnston has spent her life seeking adventure and excitement and she had plenty of that in Germany before the Wall came down and in China for more than thirty years. But the pinnacle of her experiences was seven years in Vietnam, 1967-74, during the war, where she found even Saigon too tame and snared a job with one of the most famous (or infamous) American wartime leaders, John Paul Vann. In her latest book, Tess recounts stories of her Vietnam years, including her eye-witness account of the Tet Offensive, and what it was like to be one the few American women there during those harrowing years.


"Tess Johnston clearly had the time of her life as a gutsy young staffer at the hub of US operations in South Vietnam. In this breezy memoir, she relates tales of dating pilots, hitching lifts around the Delta by chopper, and occasionally getting shot at or dodging mortar shells. Her narrative conveys the addictive buzz of discovery familiar to many Westerners in Asia, intensified by a devastating war."  —Christopher MacDonald, author, The Science of War

"A riveting memoir of a Southern belle doing her bit to fight the war in Vietnam. Johnston gives a deeply personal and frank account of the highlights and low points of her life as a "Round Eye" girl in a country at war. Her openness and eye for detail make you feel you lived in country - including surviving the Tet Offensive and the death of a lover - with her. I recommended it highly."  —Douglas Clark, author, Justice by Gunboat

"A gripping memoir of Tess Johnston's seven years "on the ground" during the Vietnam War. A genteel Southern belle, Tess opted for the road (much) less traveled and her account of the following seven years of living and working in Vietnam is fascinating, sometimes ribald and always fascinating."  —Joseph Borich, former US Consul General, Shanghai

"Tess Johnston is known to many as an American denizen of Shanghai, but she has a Vietnam story that has long been waiting to be told and it is a great read. Much has been written about the Vietnam war (or the American War as they call it here), but almost none of it from the perspective of an American woman."  —Fred Burke, long-term American resident of Saigon

Author Biography

Tess Johnston has served abroad for more than half a century, including seven years in East and West Berlin and more than 40 years in Asia, 33 in Shanghai, and seven in Vietnam (1967-74). Tess moved to Shanghai in 1981 to work at the US Consulate General and in 1996, after over 30 years in the Foreign Service, retired and stayed on until her 2016 repatriation. She now writes, researches, and lectures in Washington, DC. She and her co-author, photographer Deke Erh (Er Donqiang), have published more than twenty books, including 10 volumes on Western architecture and the expatriate experience in old China.