The first history for a general audience of one of Asia's most fascinating and complex countries.
As more and more visitors come to Vietnam, there has been for some years a need for a major history - a book which allows the outsider to understand the many layers left by earlier emperors, rebels, priests and colonizers. Christopher Goscha's new work amply fills this role. Drawing on a lifetime of thinking about Indo-China, he has created a narrative which is consistently seen from 'inside' Vietnam but never loses sight of the connections to the 'outside'. As wave after wave of invaders - whether Chinese, French, Japanese or American - have been ultimately expelled, we see the terrible cost to the Vietnamese themselves.
Christopher Goscha draws on the latest research and discoveries in Vietnamese, French and English. His book is a major achievement, describing both the grand narrative of Vietnam's story but also the byways, curiosities, differences, cultures and peoples that have done so much over the centuries to define the many versions of Vietnam.
Mark Philip Bradley, London Review of Books
“For readers seeking a concise, insightful and readable guide to the complexity and variety of Vietnam's modern history, this book is an excellent choice”
Ronald Spector, Wall Street Journal
“Powerful and compelling . . . Paying careful attention to Vietnamese voices as well as those of colonizers, he constructs a narrative that sets Vietnam in context”
“An articulate, informative read”
Jonathan Mirsky, Literary Review
“A thorough and thoughtful new history”
“For those who have wanted a distinct and comprehensive overview of Vietnam's history, this is it”
Odd Arne Westad, author of Restless Empire