Sometimes the longest journey begins with great patience. When Jon Bowermaster proposed an 800-mile kayak expedition along Vietnam’s northern coastline, the country’s government initially responded, “That will be quite impossible.” Negotiation saved the day, and Jon Bowermaster and his team of five—including a Vietnamese-American woman who had fled Saigon as a child on the final day of war in 1975—completed an unprecedented voyage, seeing Vietnam and its people in a brand new light. One-third of Vietnam’s 80 million citizens live on or near the coastline, and Bowermaster met thousands of them—rich and poor, fishermen and entrepreneurs, almost all beach dwellers who live and depend on the sea. For many, he was the first American they had ever encountered. In chapters flowing from north to south, Bowermaster’s highly personal story and Rob Howard’s compelling images bring to life Vietnam’s vibrant edge.
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