on the SFSU Bookshelf
that truth is indeed stranger than fiction, Frederick Graham's
(B.A., '97) memoir, "The Bamboo Chest" (Dragon Press
Publishing, 2004), details how a hunt for buried pirate treasure --
yes, buried pirate treasure -- leads to his 11-month captivity in a
Vietnamese reeducation camp.
The story begins in 1983 when a young (and admittedly naïve) Graham
drops out of the College of San Mateo to explore Vietnam where he and
his father had lived as American expatriates during the Vietnam War.
The 18-year-old's journey quickly becomes one worthy of Indiana Jones.
An adventurer with a treasure map leads the unsuspecting Graham to an
island where the man insists they will find riches.
What they find is trouble. The island is a restricted area and both
travelers are soon captured by local authorities. Accused of being an
American spy, Graham spends nearly a year as a political prisoner and
is interrogated and beaten before the U.S. State Department helps bring
"The Bamboo Chest" isn't a downer, however. Ultimately this
is a story about healing. Graham's imprisonment leads him to come to
terms with a childhood that haunted him, to repair a troubled relationship
with his father and to start his life anew.
For more information: www.corkgraham.com