Thierry de Roland Peel launched his first book “Ashes from Annam” at Raffles in Phnom Penh on Feb. 10, 2022. This is a terrific read and explores a part of history which is central to the Punji Trap.
In the dying days of World War II Saigon was convulsed. British and French forces landed and seized control from the Japanese who surrendered leaving a chasm open for a small cadre loyal to Ho chi Minh to appear and demanding independence.
This is a story of one family’s attempt to survive the horrors of Japanese occupation, the mayhem that followed, and how their lives depended upon their intrepid dog Mephisto.
Central to the story is the family dog, Mephisto, a lively Groenendael, who delivered secret messages to the outside world as the frontlines surrounding their home changed constantly with the Japanese, French, British, and Vietnamese communists vying for control and influence.
De Roland Peel also serves-up a delightful history lesson about a time and place that deserves greater attention, in particular how Japan kickstarted the first Indochina war, drawing the United States into Vietnam and a conflict that would last for another two decades.