The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down

by

Anne Fadiman

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The Hmong leader of the Armée Clandestine, which the CIA armed and trained to fight communist forces during the Vietnam War. Vang Pao was a fierce military leader who actively recruited Hmong soldiers. Like many other Hmongs, he too eventually sought refuge in America when communist forces took control of Laos in 1975. Fadiman frequently references him in The Spirit Catches You And You Fall Down, since he was an influential Hmong figure (if controversial, because of his violent life and quick allegiances with non-Hmong nations like the United States).
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Vang Pao Character Timeline in The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down

The timeline below shows where the character Vang Pao appears in The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 10: War
Cultural Values, Spirituality, and Medicine  Theme Icon
History and Ethnic Identity Theme Icon
...the French before French Indochina fell, the North Vietnamese would show them little mercy. Furthermore, General Vang Pao , the Hmong leader of the Armée Clandestine, recruited vehemently, threatening villages that “failed to... (full context)
History and Ethnic Identity Theme Icon
A controversial figure who was both feared and admired for his severe tactics, Vang Pao , became perhaps the most famous Hmong person in both Laos and the United States.... (full context)
History and Ethnic Identity Theme Icon
...officers of the Royal Lao) were airlifted out of the dangerous country by American airplanes. Vang Pao also boarded an American helicopter, leaving over 100,000 Hmongs behind in what was now enemy... (full context)
Chapter 16: Why Did They Pick Merced?
History and Ethnic Identity Theme Icon
Integration and Assimilation Theme Icon
...Laos. When Dang was living in Virginia and tirelessly working, he heard a rumor that General Vang Pao was going to buy a fruit ranch near Merced. His brother also told him that... (full context)