Smithsonian Journeys Experts

Dana Sachs

photo of Dana Sachs

Dana Sachs first traveled to Vietnam in 1990 and she has been visiting the country and writing about it ever since. Her first book, The House on Dream Street: Memoir of an American Woman in Vietnam, chronicles her experiences living in Hanoi in the 1990s. Her novel If You Lived Here tells the story of the friendship between two women, one a Vietnamese exile in the United States and the other a North Carolina native, who travel together to Vietnam. In 2010, she published The Life We Were Given: Operation Babylift, International Adoption, and the Children of War in Vietnam, the result of a Fulbright Foundation Fellowship that allowed her to conduct extensive research in Vietnam. Dana’s love of literature and Vietnamese culture led her to translate, with Vietnamese partners, many Vietnamese short stories and to co-edit Crossing the River, a collection of short fiction by the acclaimed writer Nguyen Huy Thiep. With Nguyen Nguyet Cam and Bui Hoai Mai, she compiled a collection of Vietnamese folktales, Two Cakes Fit for a King, which includes beautifully illustrated versions of some of the country’s most beloved stories. Dana and her sister, documentary filmmaker Lynne Sachs, also produced Which Way is East, a documentary film about contemporary Vietnam. Her journalistic articles and essays on Vietnam have appeared in numerous places, including National Geographic, The International Herald Tribune, Travel and Leisure Family and the Huffington Post. She lives with her family in North Carolina.

What Our Travelers Say

The trip was outstanding with lectures from Dana Sachs on history and culture and daily briefings from our guides, we were able to get more out of what we were seeing in this far-off corner of the world.

- Stan S.

Dana is kind, generous, insightful, and open. She really made this tour - our first - absolutely exceptional.

- Suzy F.