New books reflect on General Giap’s life

Cover story: The book General Vo Nguyen Giap: the Greatest Commander and Political Commissar.Cover story: The book General Vo Nguyen Giap: the Greatest Commander and Political Commissar.

HCM CITY (VNS)— A book of photographs capturing 100 seminal events in the life and career of General Vo Nguyen Giap has been released to commemorate his passing.

Dai tuong Vo Nguyen Giap: Tu Lenh Cua Cac Tu Lenh, Chinh Uy Cua Cac Chinh Uy (General Vo Nguyen Giap: the Greatest Commander and Political Commissar) is a biography that covers his childhood, military victories against France and the US, and his life during peacetime.

It features some of the General’s quotes during his illustrious military career.

Vu Trong Dai, the book’s chief author, said it depicts a simple but complete portrait of Giap and would help readers understand easily about his military career and life.

Published by the The Gioi (World) Publishers, it costs VND139,000.

The HCM City Tong Hop (General) Publishing House has published another book on him titled Dai Tuong Tong Tu Lenh Vo Nguyen Giap: Dai Tuong Cua Nhan Dan, Cua Hoa Binh (Commander-in-Chief Vo Nguyen Giap: the General of the People and Peace).

It was compiled and edited by Colonel Nguyen Van Khoan who worked with Giap on research into Ho Chi Minh thought and Viet Nam revolution, Nguyen Van Trung, a philosopher and Giap’s science secretary, and Nguyen Van Hien, the General’s secretary for 40 years.

It includes documents on his life and career, essays written about the General by Vietnamese and foreign experts, researchers, and military officials.

More than 200 poems written for his birthday over the years also find a place in the book.

The book, priced at VND80,000 (US$3.5), is available at the publishing house in District 1.

Photo collage portrait

Picturing greatness: Painter Nguyen Minh (right) and General Giap's eldest son Vo Dien Bien next to a photo-collage portrait of General Giap made by Minh using 8,800 smaller photos of the general. — VNS Photo Sy Tuyen

Picturing greatness: Painter Nguyen Minh (right) and General Giap's eldest son Vo Dien Bien next to a photo-collage portrait of General Giap made by Minh using 8,800 smaller photos of the general. — VNS Photo Sy Tuyen

People flocking to General Vo Nguyen Giap’s house at 30 Hoang Dieu Street these days cannot ignore a special portrait of the beloved General made from a collage of thousands of smaller photos hung near his altar.

The colossal work was the creation of painter Nguyen Minh from the southern city of Bien Hoa, Dong Nai, who has gathered 8,800 photos of the general taken throughout his life to make up a collage portrait of the military genuis himself measuring 1.2m by 1.6m.

Minh has gathered photos for many years from various sources including photo exhibitions and books about the life of the general, who passed away on October 4.

He has also travelled to many of the country’s biggest libraries to collect rare photos, sometimes paying for the photos with his own money.

In 2011, after gathering a large number of photos, Minh began fitting them together to create his portrait. The task took him six months.

“The first challenging task was cutting each photos down to between 1-1.5 sq.cm while still keeping the original context and key characters in the photos,” he recalled. “The colours in each of the small photos also have to suit the colour or shade necessary to form the details of the larger portrait.

“For example, when making up his eyes, small photos with the most beautiful colours and brightest light had to be chosen to represent the eyes and vision of the general.”

The small photos selected for the portrait include images from the general’s childhood, his actions during revolutions, his meetings with international friends and even events from his daily life.

The large portrait was given to the general on his 100th birthday celebration in August 2011, and it has hung in the living room of the general’s house ever since. —VNS

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