I have been writing about Vietnam since 1982 and learned much about the war and peace from participants on both sides of the brutal conflict. In my presentation, I want to share how participants in the war from the so-called “winning side” have helped me to better understand not just the war, but also the sense of loss that is often shared with those on the “losing side”. This despair for “what might have been” or “hope and vanquished reality” unites both sides. I am especially interested in participants’ stories as told in memoirs, oral histories and personal interviews. For this presentation, I will focus on those individuals with whom I have engaged in extensive and multiple interviews/discussions and who, with one exception, have also produced memoirs from their experiences in war. The one exception is Pham Xuan An, whose memories and stories are recorded in my book Perfect Spy. Each of these participants helped me understand the war through the eyes of a Vietnamese and altered my own narrative for how I speak and write about the war.