Tuesday 23 June 2020

American Dreamer by Tim Tran + #Giveaway

Join us for this tour from Jun 18 to Jul 8, 2020!

Book Details:

Book Title:  American Dreamer: How I Escaped Communist Vietnam and Built a Successful Life in America by Tim Tran (Tran Manh Khiem) with Tom Fields-Meyer
Category:  Non-Fiction (18 +),  390 pages
Genre:  Memoir
Publisher:  Pacific University Press
Release date:   June 2020
Content Rating:  PG + M: The book contains some bad language and recounts episodes of murder, rape, and suicide.

“My goal in life is to make a humble contribution to the society that accepted and helped me when I was a person without a country.” — Tim Tran

Book Description:

"American Dreamer" is an inspirational, first-hand account of the motivating power of an immigrant’s dream for a better life. From the rural Vietnam of Tim Tran’s childhood to his eventual escape to America and his rise as CFO of a multi-billion-dollar company, Tran’s memoir is a lesson in perseverance and ingenuity. After he initially left Vietnam in 1970 to attend American universities on a USAID scholarship, Tran’s sense of commitment led him home shortly before the fall of Saigon in 1975. Suspected of being a CIA agent, he found life under Communism increasingly difficult and dangerous, and was forced to flee. During multiple attempts to escape, he encountered deceit, betrayal, and even murder. Finally, in 1979 Tran and his wife, Cathy, escaped with 350 others in a rickety, overcrowded boat, and faced pirate attacks and months in a Malaysian refugee camp before reaching their new home in Oregon. "American Dreamer," written with passion, unflinching candor, and wit, is an extraordinary debut that confirms the American dream is alive and gives hope to anyone willing to work for a better life. 
Release Date: Jun 20, 2020

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I find myself, at the moment, reading more memoirs and biographies than usual which I think is the result of wanting to be inspired by the courage and bravery of others. In a year when so much is uncertain, memoirs such as Tim Tran's highly engaging memoir of his incredible life help me to understand what people are capable of when they are determined. And Tran is one truly determined man. I have noticed that a recurring theme of immigration memoirs is the importance placed on education and the lengths to which families will go in order to try ensure a good education for their children. Tran's father provided this driving force for his son and I loved how Tran then acknowledged the place that books and libraries have played in his life journey.

The chaotic scenes of upheaval as Tran's family relocated from North to South Vietnam in the 1960s provided a taste of the traumas in store once the North Vietnamese army overran the South a few years later, but in the meantime Tran provides readers with an interesting account of his college years in early 1970s America. Such a complete change of culture could have been overwhelming, but Tran explains how his outgoing nature coupled with quiet observation of the people around him and a good sense of humour helped him to make friends and fit in, crossing barriers of race and affluence. I appreciated his demonstrations of how he repeatedly relied on these skills as his life turned into something of a rollercoaster.

I cannot begin to imagine what it must take emotionally to remain positive and hopeful under the circumstances that all the boat people endured. Their sea journey, albeit with different hazards, reminded me of the journey undertaken by Yusra Mardini in Butterfly and, like Yusra and her sister, I realised that although the Trans were effectively destitute upon their second arrival in America, they had been successful people back in Vietnam. There has to be a better solution for refugees to travel globally without losing everything they own, paying vast amounts to be smuggled, and then spending months or even years in camps. It's such a waste of these people's lives and talents.

American Dreamer is a very readable memoir. It does, understandably, visit painful memories of awful situations, but also shows the good side of humanity with various people coming together to help in any way they can. Tran acknowledges how small kindnesses in desperate times were just as valuable to him as grand gestures. I think that is one of the strongest lessons I will take from reading his memoir. 

Meet the Author:

In 1970, Tim (Khiem) and Cathy (Thuy) Tran were top international students from South Vietnam who were awarded scholarships to study in the United States. They studied for two years at Pacific University in Oregon, after which Tim pursued his undergraduate degree at the University of California, Berkeley, and Cathy finished her degree at the University of Oregon. Per the conditions of their scholarships, the two returned to South Vietnam in 1974. When Saigon was overrun by communist forces in 1975, the family endured great hardships. In 1979, Tim and Cathy managed to escape via boat. After a harrowing, life-threating voyage they were placed in a refugee camp in Malaysia.

Eventually the Trans were able to immigrate to the United States and became naturalized citizens in 1986. Tim went on to become the Chief Financial Officer of Johnstone Supply, and Cathy worked for U.S. Bank, then Standard Insurance, and became an accounting manager. In 2017, the Trans established a Library Endowment Fund at Pacific University. In honor of their gift, the library building on the Pacific University Forest Grove campus was dedicated as the Tim and Cathy Tran Library.

Connect with the author: website

Tour Schedule:

Jun 18 – Rockin' Book Reviews – book review / guest post / giveaway
Jun 19 – Jazzy Book Reviews – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Jun 22 – T's Stuff – book spotlight / giveaway
Jun 22 - My Fictional Oasis - book review / author interview / giveaway
Jun 23 – Literary Flits – book review / giveaway
Jun 24 – Pick A Good Book – book review / author interview / giveaway
Jun 24 - Lamon Reviews - book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Jun 25 – Book Corner News and Reviews – book review / giveaway
Jun 28 – Sefina Hawke's Books – book spotlight
Jun 29 – Books and Zebras – book review / giveaway
Jun 30 –La libreria di Beppe - book spotlight / giveaway
Jul 1 –Library of Clean Reads - book spotlight / giveaway
Jul 2 – Svetlanas reads and views – book review
Jul 3 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review / guest post / giveaway
Jul 6 – The avid reader – book spotlight / giveaway
Jul 7 – Mowgli with a book – book review / giveaway
Jul 7 - Connie's History Classroom - book review
Jul 8 – Books for Books – book review

Enter the Giveaway:
Win 1 of 15 copies of American Dreamer by Tim Tran.
Open to the USA and Canada until the 15th July.

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Books by Tim Tran / Biography and memoirs / Books from Vietnam

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