White Hart Speaker Series: Ralph White, GETTING OUT OF SAIGON: How a 27-Year-Old Banker Saved 113 Vietnamese Civilians

Event date: 
Thursday, September 7, 2023 - 6:30pm
Event address: 
The White Hart Inn
15 Undermountain Road
Salisbury, CT 06068

Presented by Oblong Books in partnership with The White Hart Inn & Scoville Memorial Library.

Free. Registration Required.


Your purchase of a book from Oblong Books at this event supports the author and enables us to continue to present great speakers for your enjoyment.

Author Ralph White will talk about his new book that chronicles his successful effort to save nearly the entire staff of the Saigon branch of Chase Manhattan Bank and their families before the city fell to the North Vietnamese Army. A book signing will follow the presentation.
Ralph WhiteGetting out of Saigon by Ralph White

In April 1975, Ralph White was asked by his boss to transfer from the Bangkok branch of the Chase Manhattan Bank to the Saigon Branch. He was tasked with closing the branch if and when it appeared that Saigon would fall to the North Vietnamese army and ensure the safety of the senior Vietnamese employees. What followed was an astounding feat of determination that culminated in Ralph White adopting 113 Vietnamese refugees and bringing them to America during the fall of Saigon later that year. Getting Out of Saigon is an “edge-of-your-seat” (Oprah Daily) story of a city on the eve of destruction and the colorful characters who respond differently to impending doom. It’s a remarkable account of one man’s quest to save innocent lives not because he was ordered but because it was the right thing to do.

"Captivating...It’s hard not to admire [White] for his pluckiness in the face of bureaucratic indifference as well as his growth from a risk-taking adventurer into a humanitarian with genuine compassion for the Vietnamese whose lives depended on him." The Washington Post

“A must-read for those of us who were there, for those of us who watched the fall of Saigon on the six o’clock news, for all those who lived through that dark period of American history, and for a younger generation who have seen the documentaries and read the books...An amazing tour de force and a stunning human drama set against the cataclysm of a lost war.” -- Nelson DeMille, bestselling novelist, and former U.S. Army first lieutenant in the First Cavalry Division, Vietnam 1967-1968

In his first two years after college, Ralph White managed branches of the American Express International Banking Corporation in Okinawa and Vietnam under contract with the U.S. Treasury. In 1973 White joined The Chase Manhattan Bank and, following a yearlong training program in New York, worked as a business development officer in Chase branches in Thailand and Hong Kong. During his stint in Thailand, he was temporarily assigned to Vietnam to close the bank’s Saigon branch during the fall of Saigon, for which he was awarded the organization’s highest honor: Chase’s President’s Award. Upon return to Chase’s New York headquarters in 1981 he worked in the International Strategic Planning Division. At the time he left Chase he was a vice president. White received his MBA from Columbia University and currently serves as founder and Chairman of the Columbia Fiction Foundry a shared interest group and writing workshop under Columbia University’s Office of Alumni and Development. He is also the author of Litchfield, a local history of his hometown, Litchfield, CT.

The White Hart Inn is a fully wheelchair-accessible space with on-site van-accessible parking. Microphones and speakers will be used at this event. If you have specific questions about the space or how an event can be made more accessible to you, please do not hesitate to contact us: info@oblongbooks.com.


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Getting Out of Saigon: How a 27-Year-Old Banker Saved 113 Vietnamese Civilians By Ralph White Cover Image
ISBN: 9781982195175
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - April 4th, 2023