April 2024
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Memoirs of an Insignificant Dragon – Book Review

Marjorie Doughty was a USAID wife and mother of a 5 year old son who’s husband was assigned to Viet-nam. The book starts while Marjorie and her son, Jack, are at the American Clinic in Saigon when suddenly the November 1963 Coup breaks out in the streets of Saigon, as they leave the clinic driving home in their little green VW to the JDP Compound.

Civilian families were in Vietnam before the military arrived and when Vietnam fell. Much has been written about the “blood and guts” role of the military, but little about other Americans who were there during the war era. That American women were a part of the scene comes as a surprise to most people. They had to fight their own battles behind the lines while ordered to ignore the tragedy of war and “bombs bursting in air.” It was difficult enough living in Vietnam as a cohesive family. But after evacuation from that country, lengthy separations from husbands who stayed behind to work sometimes resulted in strained relationships and/or divorces. But these women stood tall during both good and bad times.

Reader Reviews


The other side of a war … by Michael Payne

I got to read this book early because I designed it. That is my business. I rarely comment on any of the many books I design, but I was especially taken with this particular book. I felt the need to speak up because of the many unhappy feelings which I have had about Viet Nam all these years. I lost many friends there.

This book shows the human, non-combat side of that unhappy period in our national experience. The people are made somehow more human by showing, as the author does, those people in ordinary activities rather than at war. With compassion.

It’s a very touching and healing work done by a master storyteller. A very worthwhile read for anyone whose life was changed in any way by that war.


The Vietnam War Comes To Life Via an American Mother and Son … by M.A. Perez

Marjorie Doughty’s personal account of her and her family’s Vietnam War experiences brings to life a close and personal perspective of the conflict that changed America forever. Through her accounts and observations, Memoirs of an Insignificant Dragon reads like a fast-paced action-packed movie. Doughty, combines poignant moments and hilarious incidents in such a way that her audience can taste, feel and smell the sounds of Vietnam during that graphic moment of history. This book is a Must Read item for those wanting to learn more about that era through a civilian perspective.


Memoirs of an Insignificant Dragon … by Marqaret Reynolds

What wonderful book, written with humor, insight and wonderful descriptions of life in Vietnam. My eyes have been opened to a new culture. It is so easy to forget that the people of Vietnam – before and after the Vietnam War – are just that…people. And this book brings a new awareness to life on the continent of Southeast Asia. I highly recommend this book, for its easy reading style and very entertaining descriptions.


Heart and Soul … A. C.

Marjorie Doughty has written a book with heart and soul. Her memoirs are not so much the accounts of battles and bodies, they are the insight of a woman “from a rather unusual perspective”. I recommend this book even to soldiers who have served in Vietnam to see the “other side”.


After reading part of this late 20s something USAID wife and mother’s book filled with Marjorie’s stories of Saigon life, I was taken back to my own family memories – many very similar – of our days in Saigon and Southeast Asia.

I’m sure all Saigon Kids will relate to many of the stories in “Memoirs of an Insignificant Dragon” and be taken down memory lane as I was when I read it.

I highly recommend “Memoirs of an Insignificant Dragon” to all Saigon Kids.

Memoirs of an Insignificant Dragon” is now available at “Tu Do Street Book Store” for your reading enjoyment. Be sure to ‘look inside’ the book to read the first Chapter – You will relate to it – guaranteed!!!

As always, you are welcome to leave your Comments below.


2 comments to Memoirs of an Insignificant Dragon – Book Review

  • Sandy Hanna

    I just ordered a used copy of the “Memoirs..” book from our Tu Do Book Store and am looking forward to the read. I would like to recommend another book to be put into the Tu Do Street Book Store grouping. For anyone wondering how we came to be in Vietnam and why we aren’t there now this is an incredible book that will help to make sense of the whole thing..”Fire in the Lake” by Frances FitzGerald. The war is portrayed not only from the American point of view but also through the eyes of the Vietnamese themselves. I found it fascinating.

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