While Across the Mekong River is a work of fiction, the circumstances of the story in Laos and Thailand are based on the 1960–1973 civil war in Laos, part of the wider second Indochina War, and the takeover of the government by the Communists in 1975.  For those interested in learning more about the history of Laos, the Hmong/Laotian refugee experience or Hmong culture, I recommend the following resources:


Legacies of War:   www.legaciesofwar.com  
Hmong National Development:  
Hmong Archives:  
Hmong Studies Center: 
Hmong Cultural Center:  


Branfman, Fred, Voices from the Plain of Jars: Life under an air war. Vientiane, Laos: Cluster Munition Coalition, 2010 (second edition); originally published New York: Harper and Row, 1972. 

Chan, Sucheng (edited by), Hmong means free: Life in Laos and America. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1994.

Conboy, Kenneth, with James Morrison, Shadow War: The CIA’s Secret War in Laos, Boulder, Colorado:  Paladin Press, 1995.

Donnelly, Nancy D., Changing lives of refugee Hmong women. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1994.

Evans, Grant, A short history of Laos: The land in between. Crows Nest, Australia: Allen and Unwin, 2002.

Faderman, Lillian, with Ghia Xiong, I Begin My Life All Over, Boston: Beacon Press, 2005.

Fadiman, Anne, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down. New York: The Noonday Press, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1997.

Hamilton-Merritt, Jane, Tragic Mountains: The Hmong, the Americans, and the Secret Wars for Laos, 1942-1992. Bloomington and Indianapolis, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1999.

Haney, Walt, “The Pentagon Papers and the United States involvement in Laos”. In Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn, eds. Vol. 5. The Pentagon Papers, Gravel edition: Critical essays. Boston: Beacon Press, 1972.

John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Hmong Art Tradition and Change. Sheboygan, Wisconsin: Sheboygan Arts Foundation, Inc. 1985.

Khamvongsa, Channapha and Elaine Russell, “Legacies of War: Cluster Bombs in Laos” Critical Asian Studies, Vol. 41, No. 2, June 2009, pp. 281-306.

Long, Lynellyn D., Ban Vinai, The Refugee Camp, New York: Columbia University Press, 1993.

Mote, Sue Murphy, Hmong and American. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company Inc., 2004.

Moua, Mai Neng (edited by), Bamboo Among the Oaks: Contemporary Writing by Hmong Americans. St. Paul, Minnesota: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2002.

Pholsena, Vatthana, “Life under Bombing in Southeastern Laos (1964-1973) Through the Accounts of Survivors in Sepon”, European Journal of East Asian Studies. Vol. 9, No.2, 2010, pp. 267-290.

Russell, Elaine (forthc.), “Laos -- Living with Unexploded Ordnance: Past Memories and Present Realities”. In: Vatthana Pholsena & Oliver Tappe (eds.), Interactions with a Violent Past: Reading Post-Conflict Landscapes in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.

Quincy, Keith, Harvesting Pa Chay’s Wheat: The Hmong and America’s Secret War in Laos. Spokane, Washington: Eastern Washington University Press, 2000.

Stevenson, Charles, The end of nowhere: American policy toward Laos since 1954. Boston: Beacon Press, 1972.

Stuart-Fox, Martin, A history of Laos. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.

Vang, Chia Youyee, Hmong in Minnesota. St. Paul, Minnesota: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2008.

Warner, Roger, Back Fire: The CIAs Secret War in Laos and Its Link to the War in Vietnam. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995.

Yang, Dao, “Hmong at the Turning Point,” The Journal of American-East Asian Relations Dec 22, 1994,; Vol. v3, No. n4.

Yang, Kao Kalia, The latehomecomer: a Hmong family memoir.  Minneapolis : Coffee House Press, 2008.


Gran Torino” Warner Brothers, directed by Clint Eastwood, 2008.  Drama “Bomb Harvest” Lemur Films, directed by Kim Mordaunt, 2008.  Documentary.  Distributor:  TVF International, 375 City Road, London EC1V 1NB  United Kingdom.  Website:

The Betrayal (Nerakoon)” Pandinlao Films, directed by Ellen Kuras, 2008.  Documentary. Distribution: Cinema Guild, Ryan Krivoshey, 115 West30th Street, Suite 800, New York, NY 10001. Website:  http://www.thebetrayalmovie.com/contact.htm

The Most Secret Place on Earth” Gebrueder-Beetz-Filmprodukion, directed by Mark Eberle, 2007.  Documentary. Gebrueder Beetz Filmproduktion Köln GmbH & Co. KG, Im Mediapark 6a,50670 Cologne, Germany.  Website: 

Bombies” Bullfrog Films, directed by Jack Silberman, 2002.  Documentary. Distributor:  Bullfrog Films, PO Box 149, Oley, PA 19547.    Website:  http://www.bullfrogfilms.com/contact.html

“The Split Horn,” Alchemy Films, produced by Taggart Siegel and Jim McSilver, 2001.  Documentary.  Distributor: Independent Television Service (ITVS) 651 Brannan Street, Suite 410, San Francisco, CA 94107.  Website:  http://www.itvs.org/films/split-horn