This is the extraordinary autobiography of Dr Xuan Phuong, descendant of mandarins on both her parents’ sides, who leaves her family as a teenager to help the Vietminh fight first the Japanese, and then the French. During the American phase of the war, she worked as a propagandist for the North and, dressed as a Vietcong, entered Saigon with their army. Throughout her time with the Resistance Phuong declared herself to be non-communist and – against her own best interest – refused to join the Party. In 1975, as she was witnessing the fall of Saigon, her parents and siblings were escaping to America on one of the last flights out. Twenty-five years later Phuong was at last reunited with her brothers and sisters and gravely ill mother on a visit to California, where she got to experience the good life in the land of a former ‘enemy’. Ao Dai traces how this young lady of privilege adjusted to the rigors of the Resistance and survived. She married in the jungle and bore children. There she met Ho Chi Minh and, later, in Hanoi, Joan Baez. She worked as a chemist, a physician, and a film-maker. After the war Dr Phuong opened an art gallery in Ho Chi Minh City, the former Saigon, where she lives to this day.