Set during the French and American wars in South Vietnam, Fourth Uncle in the Mountain is the true story of an orphan, Quang Van Nguyen, adopted by a sixty-four-year-old monk, Thau, who carries great responsibility for his people as a barefoot doctor. Thau manages against all odds to raise his son to follow in his footsteps and in doing so saves him, as well as a part of Vietnam's esoteric knowledge from the Vietnam holocaust. Thau is wanted by the French regime and occasionally must flee in to the jungle, where he is perfectly at home living among the animals. As wise and resourceful as Thau is, he meets his match in his mischievous son. Quang is more interested in learning Cambodian sorcery and martial arts than in developing his skills and wisdom according to his father's plan. Fourth Uncle in the Mountain is an odyssey of a single-father folk hero and his foundling son in a land ravaged by the atrocities of war. It is a classic story complete with humor, tragedy, and insight, from a country where ghosts and magic are real.
""[A] charming book . . . the volume contains a wealth of information about Vietnamese history and culture â€¦ an adventure book strung through with passages on selflessness and mindfulness, this volume is an excellent choice for readers interested in Vietnam and Buddhism.""--Publishers Weekly
""This is a magical, mesmerizing story; a complicated tale of Vietnam's anguished history, of healing and faith, and of a young boy's miraculous coming of age.""--Ken Burns, director of Jazz and The Civil War
""When I had read the first few chapters of this engrossing biography, I had stopped a dozen times to recall my times in the Delta and the towns and villages that are mentioned in the book. By the time I had finished - I wanted to go backâ€¦. A thoroughly enjoyable read.""--Captain E.G. Adams, The Air America Log
""Fourth Uncle in the Mountain is a great story about two simply good men. It is told simply, but simplicity should never be mistaken for a lack of emotional complexity, intellectual refinement, or overwhelming humanity. It is all that.""--The Asian Reporter
""â€¦an unputdownable tale, told in an intimate, oral style with an unassuming wisdom, a thrilling, Castaneda-like search for knowledge as well as a moving tribute to the most profound love between a father and son.""-- Nick DeMartino, University Bookstore, Seattle (selected as University Bookstore's 2004 Book of the Year)