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A young draftee arrives in Vietnam, is assigned to work in the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, and experiences the most intense years of the American presence in Vietnam. Forty years later, he arrives in Iraq, serving as a senior diplomat in the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. Inevitably, he reflects on what’s the same and what’s different about the two wars. Through relationships with two remarkable women in each country, he comes to understand how little most Americans knew about each country’s culture. At the end, he looks back over his experiences with a visiting journalist and tries to make sense of what happened and what didn’t—what was forgotten and what should be remembered.

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