Swain describes his experiences in Cambodia under Lon Nol, in Saigon after the American withdrawal, during the fall of Phnom Penh, on a visit to post-war Hanoi, and in Cambodia after the Khmer Rouge. There is also an account of his capture and captivity in Ethiopia and a look at the fate of Vietnamese boat people at the hands of pirates.
There is no attempt in this to provide a general history of the Second Indochina War, though enough background is given for readers unfamiliar with the history. Swain stays close to his immediate experiences, describing aspects of everyday life and his own story as well as more public events — most notably a long involvement with a French Vietnamese woman.
River of Time is exceptionally easy to read and would make a good introduction to the era for those who prefer the approach of a personal memoir.