Join us for this tour from Jun 18 to Jul 8, 2020!

Book Details:

Book Title:  American Dreamer: How I Escaped Communist Vietnam
and Built a Successful Life in America by Tim Tran (Tran Manh Khiem)
with Tom Fields-Meyer

Category:  Non-Fiction (18 +),  390 pages

Genre:  Memoir

Publisher:  Pacific University Press

Release date:   June 2020

Content Rating:  PG + M: The book contains some bad language and recounts episodes of murder, rape, and suicide.

“My goal in life is to make a humble contribution to 

the society that accepted and helped me when I was a person without a 
country.” — Tim Tran

Book Description:
"American Dreamer" is an inspirational, first-hand account of the
motivating power of an immigrant’s dream for a better life. From the
rural Vietnam of Tim Tran’s childhood to his eventual escape to America
and his rise as CFO of a multi-billion-dollar company, Tran’s memoir is a
lesson in perseverance and ingenuity. After he initially left Vietnam
in 1970 to attend American universities on a USAID scholarship, Tran’s
sense of commitment led him home shortly before the fall of Saigon in
1975. Suspected of being a CIA agent, he found life under Communism
increasingly difficult and dangerous, and was forced to flee. During
multiple attempts to escape, he encountered deceit, betrayal, and even
murder. Finally, in 1979 Tran and his wife, Cathy, escaped with 350
others in a rickety, overcrowded boat, and faced pirate attacks and
months in a Malaysian refugee camp before reaching their new home in
Oregon. "American Dreamer," written with passion, unflinching candor,
and wit, is an extraordinary debut that confirms the American dream is
alive and gives hope to anyone willing to work for a better life. 

Release Date: Jun 20, 2020



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Author Interview
What have you learned through this experience of telling your story that you think would benefit others who want to embark on a similar project?
1.       Writing a memoir requires commitment for both time and effort.
2.       If you don’t have at least some natural writing ability, the help of a co-author (ghost writer) is invaluable.
3.       Unless you have some convincing arguments, follow your co-author’s advice.
4.       The work does not stop once you and your co-author have completed the writing. There are more things to do, such as deciding on a cover design, getting your book into the right distribution channels, connecting with reviewers, conducting interviews, registering your copyright, and much more….

What were the most enjoyable and most difficult memories to revisit as you told your story?

The most enjoyable memories to revisit as I told my story are:

1.       Still alive! Finally, I survived the harrowing trip from Communist Vietnam and landed on the Malaysian shore.  All of us were confined in a make-shift prison on the beach surrounded by barb wire. I saw an SUV with the letters “UNHCR” on it arrive. The UNHCR commissioner asked “Does anyone here speak English?” I replied “Khiem Tran, University of California, Berkeley. Class of 1974!” The UNHCR commissioner smiled and asked me to step forward to help him.
2.       Back to the USA! My family and I were granted asylum in the United States and our plane had touched down at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. As we were making our way through immigration, the INS officer said seven beautiful words: “Welcome to the United States of America!” I said “Thank you very much, sir!” my eyes filling with tears.
3.       Giving back!  In 2017, Cathy and I established the Tim and Cathy Tran Library Endowment Fund to support library operations at Pacific University.  Pacific named the library on its Forest Grove campus the Tim & Cathy Tran Library and held a dedication ceremony. In my remarks, I said: “An old proverb says a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, I took that first step escaping Communism in 1979. And where and when will the final step be? My answer: I just took the final step right here, in front of this library, this beautiful building. To me, personally, coming here today and attending this dedication is the completion of a long journey of thirty-eight years and more than ten thousand miles. I’m glad it ended right here.”

The most difficult memories to revisit as I told my story are:

4.       The murder of my father! In one of our failed escapes, my father was murdered by criminals and both my wife Thuy and I were thrown into the river and left to drown.
5.       My escape bus on its way to Tan San Nhut airport had to turn back!  Just hours before Communist forces entered Saigon, I found myself on a U.S. Defense Attaché Office bus going to Tan San Nhut Airport to be airlifted out of South Vietnam. Halfway into the trip, the American driver announced that the airport was under rocket attack and he was ordered to turn back. The bus made a U-turn and parked near the U.S. embassy, and everyone filed off. I had a hopeless, sinking feeling that my last chance to escape South Vietnam had just evaporated.
6.       Destroying the evidence! That evening at home, when Saigon was completely under control of the Communists, I quietly gathered papers, souvenirs, and mementos from my four years of studying in America. I carried the stack of documents to the kerosene stove in the back of the house. Standing alone in darkness, I set my papers on fire, one piece at a time. I burned my college transcripts, address book containing the names, addresses and phone numbers of my American friends, letters of recommendations from my professors, letters of acceptance into the MBA programs at graduate business schools in the U.S. and Canada.  Finally, I threw into the fire many items of great sentimental value to me: a small gold-trimmed American flag given to me by a good friend at Berkeley and autographed pictures of football pros John Brodie and Gene Washington.

Were there any anecdotes and memories that you considered including in the book, but ultimately left out? If so, how did you decide what to include?
There were a lot of anecdotes and memories that were in my original notes and draft, but they were ultimately left out. I was advised by the co-author to only include materials that “move the story forward” and “keep the number of pages within a reasonable range.”  In some cases, I argued successfully in favor of keeping them. However, in most cases I decided to follow the co-author’s advice on what to include. However, I did promise readers in my foreword that if this book is well-received and a sequel is warranted, I will include some of the “left out” material.

What did you most enjoy about your career in business?
What I enjoyed most about my career in business were the opportunities to use my knowledge, experience, and analytical thinking to make strategic business decisions as well as deliver solutions to real and sometimes difficult business problems. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy having professional respect, generous financial rewards, travel, and other perks. 

What is the overall message that you hope readers will take away from your book?
The overall message that I hope readers will take away from my book is “The American Dream is alive and well”. With hard work, determination and some luck, anyone can get a better life and live the American Dream.

 Meet the Author:

In 1970, Tim (Khiem) and Cathy (Thuy) Tran were top international
students from South Vietnam who were awarded scholarships to study in
the United States. They studied for two years at Pacific University in
Oregon, after which Tim pursued his undergraduate degree at the
University of California, Berkeley, and Cathy finished her degree at the
University of Oregon. Per the conditions of their scholarships, the two
returned to South Vietnam in 1974. When Saigon was overrun by communist
forces in 1975, the family endured great hardships. In 1979, Tim and
Cathy managed to escape via boat. After a harrowing, life-threating
voyage they were placed in a refugee camp in Malaysia.

Eventually the Trans were able to immigrate to the United States and
became naturalized citizens in 1986. Tim went on to become the Chief
Financial Officer of Johnstone Supply, and Cathy worked for U.S. Bank,
then Standard Insurance, and became an accounting manager. In 2017, the
Trans established a Library Endowment Fund at Pacific University. In
honor of their gift, the library building on the Pacific University
Forest Grove campus was dedicated as the Tim and Cathy Tran Library.

Connect with the author:    website

Tour Schedule:

Jun 18 – Rockin' Book Reviews – book review / guest post / giveaway

Jun 19 – Jazzy Book Reviews – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway

Jun 22 – T's Stuff – book spotlight / giveaway

Jun 22 - My Fictional Oasis - book review / author interview / giveaway

Jun 23 – Literary Flits – book review / giveaway

Jun 24 – Pick A Good Book – book review / author interview / giveaway

Jun 24 - Lamon Reviews - book spotlight / author interview / giveaway

Jun 25 – Book Corner News and Reviews – book review / giveaway

Jun 28 – Sefina Hawke's Books – book spotlight

Jun 29 – Books and Zebras – book review / giveaway

Jun 30 –La libreria di Beppe - book spotlight / giveaway

Jul 1 –Library of Clean Reads - book spotlight / giveaway

Jul 2 – Svetlanas reads and views – book review

Jul 3 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review / guest post / giveaway

Jul 6 – The avid reader – book spotlight / giveaway

Jul 7 – Mowgli with a book – book review / giveaway

Jul 7 - Connie's History Classroom - book review

Jul 8 – Books for Books – book review

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