This is the story of Ho Chi Minh's adventurous journey across the mountains and jungles of northeastern Siam in 1928 and 1929.
It narrates how cleverly Ho managed to evade his enemies wherever he went, through subterfuge, meticulous planning, and resourcefulness. At the Port of Bangkok, disguised as a Chinese businessman, he slipped past Inspector Arnoux of French security by the skin of his teeth. Little could the inspector, who was waiting to arrest him, have known how close he was to changing the course of history.
This is the untold story of Uncle Ho's sojourn in Siam, a highly clandestine operation, and how his experience in the rough terrain of northeast Siam helped hone his political and revolutionary skills. It ends with the attainment of his dream: a free and independent Vietnam.
It is also the story of Wong, a young Thai-Viet idealist who falls under the magnetic spell of Uncle Ho. We follow Wong's progress from his home town of Phichit to the battlefields of Vietnam. On his travels, he meets several historical figures in the Free Thai movement and is trained to be a guerrilla. He ends up becoming Ho's special political agent. Although Wong is a fictional character, the historical events that shaped his life are real. Was Ho Chi Minh a hero, or a cruel, calculating dictator? That argument will no doubt continue to be debated by historians for a long time to come. Meanwhile, The Siamese Trail of Ho Chi Minh will hopefully reveal the man behind the legend, and perhaps even help the reader understand him better.
“Teddy’s latest book is a worthy contribution to the ASEAN community.”
Tej Bunnag, former Minister of Foreign Affairs
“A very enjoyable read.”
Denis Gray, Associated Press correspondent
“With diligent research and knowledge of the terrain, Teddy demonstrates this was a formative period for Ho in learning jungle survival, while developing propaganda skills among the peasant farmers. Against the background of events in 20th century Southeast Asia, Teddy weaves in the lives of others who cross his path. In the latter part of the book he warns the reader elements of fiction are introduced around these people. This technique works because Teddy is diligent enough not to deviate from history, merely amplifying it, so making one more aware of the characters and the events that transform their lives.”
Robert Graham, author and former Financial Times foreign correspondent
“By resorting to fiction, and to make up for the lack of historical records on Ho Chi Minh’s visit to Siam in 1928-29, the author ably evokes the mood of this era. He expands his story by transposing it around a fictitious adventure of two half-brothers. This fictitious work is interesting because it allows the reader to enter into a number of secondary dimensions: the experience of families that have been sadly tossed about by a conflict not of their making; a man who is fighting his own war (and bringing the truth to light); and of people whose lives are pointlessly ruined (and for what?) A great endeavour by an accomplished writer.”
Jean-Claude Pomonti, author of Vietnam L’ephemere et l’insubmersible and former Le Monde Asia correspondent
“This book retraces Ho Chi Minh’s revolutionary grooming through a distinctly Siamese lens. Researched in evident depth and articulated in classy style, it is a gripping and absorbing read that wraps some fiction with substantial historiography.”
Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Director, Institute of Security and International Studies, Chulalongkorn University
“It’s tough to write interesting history. And it’s similarly difficult to write flowing fiction. Teddy has merged these two disciplines in The Siamese Trail of Ho Chi Minh, and the result is fresh, imaginative, and historically important. . . Teddy has created a Thai-Viet man named Wong to serve as Ho Chi Minh’s guide…and the book becomes a double hero’s journey – Ho’s and Wong’s, as they evolve into men significantly more complicated and astute at the end of the tale than they were when they started.”
Paul Spencer Sochaczewski, author of An Inordinate Fondness for Beetles
“What makes this book about Ho Chi Minh so worthwhile and interesting is in the blending together of research-based facts, academic data and historical information with the writer’s well imagined fictional anecdotes and skilfully crafted narrative, resulting in a book that draws the readers deep into the story easily and most enjoyably.”
Thanyatip Sripana, Professor, Institute of Asian Studies, Chulalongkorn University
“An engrossing book that explains much, not only about a near-mythic figure, but an important period in Southeast Asian history. By painting a comprehensive backdrop, Teddy explores a universal: the quest for national independence and freedom from colonial regimes.”
Steve Van Beek, author of Bangkok Then and Now
"A historical account of Uncle Ho’s time in Siam… a page turner.”
Axel Aylwen, author of The Falcon of Siam
“Teddy takes us down trails and across borders of several kinds … Uncle Ho would have approved.”
Chris Baker, author, with Pasuk Phongphaichit, of A History of Thailand
“An engagingly interwoven historical and fictional evocation of a turbulent, decisive period in the dramatic history of South East Asia”
David Fall, former British Ambassador to Thailand and Vietnam