Slender QUANG NGAI, clinging to the south bank of the Tra Khuc River some 130km south of Da Nang, is about as pleasant as you could expect of a town skewered until recently by Vietnam’s main highway. Though Highway 1, which once ripped through Quang Ngai, now skirts it to the east, the town is still a buzzing little place. The area had a long tradition of resistance against French rule, one that was to find further focus during American involvement. The reward was some of the most extensive bombing meted out during the war: by 1967, American journalist Jonathan Schell was able to report that seventy percent of villages in the town’s surrounding area had been destroyed. A year later, the Americans turned their focus upon Son My Village, site of the My Lai massacre.

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