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Publisher's Summary

The first-hand account of a Vietnamese refugee who now lives the American dream.

Where the Wind Leads is the remarkable account of Vinh Chung and his refugee family’s daring escape from communist oppression for the chance of a better life in America. It’s a story of personal sacrifice, redemption, endurance against almost insurmountable odds, and what it truly means to be American.

Vinh Chung was born in South Vietnam, just eight months after it fell to the communists in 1975. His family was wealthy, controlling a rice-milling empire worth millions; but within months of the communist takeover, the Chungs lost everything and were reduced to abject poverty. Knowing that their children would have no future under the new government, the Chungs decided to flee the country. In 1979, they joined the legendary “boat people” and sailed into the South China Sea, despite knowing that an estimated two hundred thousand of their countrymen had already perished at the hands of brutal pirates and violent seas. 

Where the Wind Leads follows Vinh Chung and his family on their desperate journey from pre-war Vietnam, through pirate attacks on a lawless sea, to a miraculous rescue and a new home in the unlikely town of Fort Smith, Arkansas. There Vinh struggled against poverty, discrimination, and a bewildering language barrier—yet still managed to graduate from Harvard Medical School. Where the Wind Leads is Vinh’s tribute to the courage and sacrifice of his parents, a testimony to his family’s faith, and a reminder to people everywhere that the American dream, while still possible, carries with it a greater responsibility.

©2014 Thomas Nelson (P)2014 Thomas Nelson

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Refugees from Vietnam

This story was really wonderful! I got so sucked into it.

Vinh Chung tells the story of his parents and his grandmother and how they established themselves in Vietnam, being Chinese themselves. He explains how they had great wealth and ran a big business in Vietnam until they were forced out by the communist soldiers, eventually deciding to leave the country as an entire family as refugees on a boat. Vinh was only about three years old at the time, and mentions that he has no memories of Vietnam, but plenty of his time on the boats trying to survive with his family. My goodness what they went through opened up my eyes a lot. I always heard about the "boat people" but this is the first actual account I have read/heard about. While going through this book, I brought it up to my dad (a Vietnam Veteran) and he was telling me how my Karate teacher for two summers married a "boat woman" and he told me what he knew of her story. But enough about that.

A portion of this story tells about World Vision, which is how I had known of this story to begin with, because it has been told a few times through their magazine and emails since Vinh Chung works for them now and they also had a part in rescuing his family and in time having them sponsored to go into the US. They never explained it as this book has at all though. I loved learning the background story as a whole, even though parts of it are really sad.

Once the story enters into the US, it was really important to me to know what a refugee family went through in that time starting fresh and being dependent on others when his family were so used to being very independent. I learned a lot from it. His family really are filled with hard working people. It is crazy how large his family is too but how regardless, they made it through and with strength and faith in God.

The end of the book talks about Vinh's years of getting to know his future wife, an immigrant from Korea, and how they were able to meet and fall in love. God really worked that out in a cute and great way too.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • GW73
  • Western Kansas
  • 10-15-17

Love love love!!!!!!!!

Everyone needs to read this book!!!!! It is a must read! If you were at least a teenager in the 70's you remember the boat people but the story behind the headlines is so much more. The message at the end is SO IMPORTANT!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • M K Fox
  • Oak Park, IL, US
  • 01-23-16

Inspiring story; poor narration

Did Where the Wind Leads inspire you to do anything?

While reading this book I had a profound sense that I needed to do something for others. I wasn't very far into the book and this feeling just overwhelmed me. Because of this I'm going to get involved with an organization that helps settle refugees in the United States. I don't know if this is going to be enough for me to do. But it's a start....we'll see where this leads me!

Any additional comments?

This story was very good but it was difficult to listen to the narration. There was something about the narrator's voice that was really boring to me.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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My favorite book of all time!

This inspiring and remarkable story has so much to offer: wisdom, perspective, inspiration and wonder. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll be amazed. We listened to this story on the way to school every day, and my teenagers learned so much about their lives and the lives of refugees. I highly recommend this book to any parents who want their kids to grow up with an understanding of what it's like to be a refugee, and what it truly means to be an American.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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A Book for Today

I just finished listening to this book and broke into tears. Today is the 4th of July. Vinh ‘s memoir reminds us of how what is RIGHT with America is offering an opportunity to go for the Dream and to “get” that unless you’re a Native American Indian, we are all here because our immigrant ancestors desperately wanted that dream.

Vinh’s family went through so much to survive and to get here. I’m not a religious person but he and his family were. It was partly that faith that helped sustain them. I felt like I made the journey with them.



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Wow! Life changing!

This book changed my perspective of humanity, of life, of refugees, and giving back. Incredible story!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Truly Amazing!

I loved everything about this book. I was fascinated at how Vinh turned his life into success and never hinted that he had a tough life. It was just his life. Every youth should be required to read this captivating story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A must read, especially for millennials!

Anyone who does not understand or appreciate America should read this book. A first hand account of someone who lived through a cruel communist government.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • GG
  • 03-03-17

Family together always means home.

Would you consider the audio edition of Where the Wind Leads to be better than the print version?

Have not read print version.

What did you like best about this story?

The strong core values of the author.

Which scene was your favorite?

When the author described his love for his wife. It gave you even a greater insight into the pure love he shared. He was no longer impersonal as he applied the strong work ethic learned from family and it's survival.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes.

Any additional comments?

The book was very insightful of the hardships immigrants go through to get to this country. The extraordinary amount of work and concentration on a clear goal the hero of the book demands of himself subsequently is a reward to the community in which he works and the family that he loves. The hero should be oh so proud of himself.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Where the wind leads

Thoroughly enjoyed Where the wind leads a must read strong human spirit educational heartfelt strong family ties everything you want in a book a must read i’m so glad everything worked out for The families with faith and hard work you can do anything

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  • Snow
  • 09-14-18

its amazing story

beautiful written, anyone who have asian blood and live outside asian should read this. it helps me to connect my deepest root of my being . thank you.

snow wang