David Elliott, as a United States Army enlisted man, worked in 1964-5 at one of the great single archives of Vietnamese writing, the Combined Document Exploitation Center (CDEC) in Saigon. He stayed on after marrying Duong Van Mai Elliott, who cites his companionship in the credits to her memoir, The Sacred Willow: Four Generations in the Life of a Vietnamese Family, interviewing prisoners and defectors for RAND. He left for graduate studies in 1967, returned in 1971 on RAND business and stayed through 1973 for his own research.
His life work, the history The Vietnamese War: Revolution and Social Change in the Mekong Delta, 1930-1975, points to the creation of an entrepreneurial middle class in the Mekong delta as the lasting and important effect of the American role in the wars for Viet Nam. Like his wife's book, David Elliott's monumental Vietnamese War places that war in the context of Vietnamese history and relies on lengthy interviews with Vietnamese participants as well as the Vietnamese documentary record. David Elliott wrote his history over a career as professor of Politics at Pomona College.
Dan Duffy started this entry.