Lynellyn Long documents the reality of daily life in Ban Vinai, a refugee camp in northeast Thailand. Based on the author's ethnographic experience of living and working in the camp, the book offers rich narrative descriptions of the lives of the Hmong and lowland Lao refugees. Long describes the lives of five families over the course of a year, recounting interactions with camp relief workers and the complexities of the larger relief system, how their family relationships and social roles change as a result of camp life, and their desires and expectations of the future. Long explores the effects of long-term residence in the camp, where many of the refugees have lived for more than ten years because of the lack of a permanent international solution. She shows that although the camps provide urgently needed aid, they foster a sense of powerlessness, isolation and dislocation that can radically alter the lives of the inhabitants. The book gives the historical, political and economic background of Ban Vinai and suggests what lessons may be derived for other refugee situations.