Chemical Soup

James Meek

In October 1971 a Soviet scientist flew over the burning land around Hanoi, his passenger jet given a safe corridor by Phantom fighters from the air force that was busy laying waste to the countryside. Three days after arriving in the North Vietnamese capital he and his colleagues were taken to a site in the deep jungle. There, in the searing tropical heat, at the end of a track called the Path of the Cockerel, they saw a perfect miniature replica of their own workplace, Lenin’s mausoleum on Red Square in Moscow. Inside, under a glass cover, was the embalmed corpse of Ho Chi Minh, two years dead, dressed in a white suit.

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