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'A romantic, evocative and touching book, the story of a young man's coming-of-age in the shocking but desperately alluring war zones of Cambodia and Vietnam' Sunday Telegraph
Jon Swain left Britain as a teenager. After a brief stint with the French Foreign Legion he became a journalist in Paris, but soon ended up in Vietnam and Cambodia. In five years as a young war reporter Swain lived moments of intensity and passion such as he had never known. He learnt something of life and death in Cambodia and Vietnam that he could never have perceived in Europe. He saw Indo-China in all its intoxicating beauty and saw, too, the violence and corruption of war, and was sickened by it. Motivated by a sense of close involvement with the Cambodian people he went back into Phnom Penh just before the fall of the city to the Khmer Rouge in April 1975. He was captured and was going to be executed. His life was saved by Dith Pran, the New York Times interpreter, a story told by the film The Killing Fields. In Indo-China Swain formed a passionate love affair with a French-Vietnamese girl. The demands of a war correspondent ran roughshod over his personal life and the relationship ended. This book is one reporter's attempt to make peace with a tumultuous past, to come to terms with his memories of fear, pain, and death, and to say adieu to the Indo-China he loved and the way of life that has gone for ever.
"A remarkable heart-breaking book" -- Gavin Young "Jon Swain's powerful and moving book goes further than anything else I have read towards explaining the appeal of Indo-China and its tragic conflicts... A brilliant and unsettling examination of the age-old bonds between death, beauty, violence and the imagination, which came together in Vietnam and nowhere else" -- J. G. Ballard Sunday Times "An absolutely riveting book... Haunting, compulsive and beautifully written, River of Time looks set to become a classic" -- Alexander Frater Observer "His book is a damning indictment and a triumphant witness. Brief, wrenching, it is surely the freshest and most sensitive account of those times" -- Michael Binyon The Times "A sombre, magnificent book" Daily Mail