About The Ignorance of Bliss: An American Kid in Saigon by Sandy Hanna:
The Ignorance of Bliss: An American Kid in Saigon tells the true story of ten-year-old Sandy, who moves with her American military family to Saigon, Vietnam where her father, the Colonel, serves as a military advisor to the South Vietnamese Army from 1960 to 1962. Blissfully living a life of French decadence, Sandy maneuvers between coups, spies, bombings, corruption, and scandal as she and her thirteen-year-old brother, Tom, run an illicit baby powder and Hershey bar business on the black market while attempting to live what would be considered a normal life of childhood: school, scouts, and movies at the underground theater. As children, she and her siblings live in the continuous present – perhaps the only way children can live.
When the Colonel’s counterpart, Colonel Le Van Sam, delivers an expose on the current ruling Diem regime, Sandy finds that her constant spying on her father’s activities has brought her face to face with the reality of Vietnam and the anti-American sentiment that pervades it. This coming-of age story takes place in a turbulent country striving for nationalism, giving the reader a stunning look into the life of military dependents living abroad and the underlying ignorance that surrounded a little understood time in history.
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Sandy Hanna is a designer, artist, and an author dividing her time between New York City and Lambertville, New Jersey. As a writer, she has recounted her years of growing up in Vietnam as a child with her family in a published novel: “The Ignorance of Bliss: An American Kid in Saigon.” Her background is diverse. She was on the original design team of Children’s Television Workshop’s Sesame Place theme park. Graduating from the University of Massachusetts with a Masters in Education focused on the Biology of Cognition. Her Bachelor of Arts undergraduate work was at Knox College in Interdisciplinary Programs in Science and Literature and California Institute of the Arts in Design. Post graduate studies in Marketing were at Wharton. She has spent over forty years as a design and marketing consultant She is a designer of play spaces for children, facilities for the handicapped, children’s museums, and theme parks, as well as, marketing work for the modular building and hospitality industries. He passion, however, is that as an artist and storyteller.
The Ignorance of Bliss recently received a Finalist Award from the Best Book Awards given by the American Book Fest in the category of General History.