The Beauty of Humanity Movement

Review Date - 2011-05-24

The Beauty of Humanity Movement by Camilla Gibb.

This book brought many long forgotten memories to the surface for me: 1967, East Germany, late summer camp for North Vietnamese refugees working in an East German factory. They would open a conversation with me like this: "Guess how many American planes we shot down today?"

Camilla Gibb's book had much gentler approach. The red thread through the story is a classic Vietnamese kind of soup called pho. Preparing it daily, looking for fresh ingredients, pushing his street cart with pots and bowls is the main hero, an Old Men Hung. He will win your heart with his deep caring for a fellow human being.

Tu is a young tour guide showing Hanoi to the tourists, including American veterans on "war tours".

Maggie is a beautiful Vietnamese by birth but educated in the US. As an art connoisseur she files paintings from the post-colonial time: American war and communist regime time.

This well researched and skillfully written book was a pleasure to read. Camilla Gibb holds a Ph.D. in social anthropology from Oxford University. She lives in Toronto and her previous, well received book "Sweetness in the Belly" was read by many book clubs. I find "The Beauty of the Humanity Movement" of the same quality. It is a good summer read, next to an aromatic, steaming bowl of pho.

Bela Hermanek