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Alumni & FriendsThe cover of alumnus Frederick Cork Graham’s new memoir, “The Bamboo Chest,” with photos of Vietnam, where the story takes place

 

New on the SFSU Bookshelf

Proving 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 him home.

"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

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