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Yellow Rain

Fiction: Poetry
Unabridged   3.5 hour(s)
Publication date: 01/24/2023

Yellow Rain


Available from major retailers or BUY FROM AMAZON
Digital Download ISBN:9781696609777


A reinvestigation of chemical biological weapons dropped on the Hmong people in the fallout of the Vietnam War.

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Product Description

In this staggering work of documentary and poetry, Mai Der Vang reopens a wrongdoing that deserves a new reckoning. As the US abandoned them at the end of the Vietnam War, many Hmong refugees recounted stories of a mysterious substance that fell from planes during their escape from Laos in the mid-1970s. This substance, known as "yellow rain," caused severe illnesses and thousands of deaths. These reports prompted an investigation into allegations that a chemical biological weapon had been used against the Hmong in breach of international treaties. A Cold War scandal erupted, wrapped in partisan debate around chemical arms development versus control. American scientists argued that yellow rain was the feces of honeybees defecating en masse—still held as the widely accepted explanation. The truth of what happened to the Hmong, to those who experienced and suffered yellow rain, has been ignored and discredited.

Integrating archival research and declassified documents, Vang calls out the erasure of a history, the silencing of a people who at the time lacked the capacity and resources to defend and represent themselves. In poems that sing and lament, that contend and question, Vang restores a vital narrative in danger of being lost, and brilliantly explores what it means to have access to the truth and how marginalized groups are often forbidden that access.


"Der Vang reads her work in a gentle tone and unhurried pace that underscores the tension between citations and verse, that disrupts the fiction of 'facts,' that humanizes discarded lab samples." —Booklist Starred Review

Author Bio

Mai Der Vang is the author of Afterland, which won the Walt Whitman Award, was named a finalist for the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, and was long-listed for the National Book Award. She teaches at Fresno State University.