Book details

Vietnam

A New History

By Christopher Goscha

  • ISBN13: 9780465094363
  • Pub Date: 09/13/2016 | Price: $35.00
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Trim: 6.50 x 9.50 Inches | 592 Pages
  • Request Desk/Exam Copy

About the Book

Vietnam today offers a fascinating mosaic of peoples, languages, and cultures—a small nation that is home to over fifty ethnic groups speaking more than a half-dozen different tongues. The country's extraordinary diversity is the legacy of centuries of imperial collisions and ever-shifting political configurations.

In Vietnam, Christopher Goscha tells the full history of Vietnam, from antiquity to the present day. Generations of emperors, rebels, priests, and colonizers left complicated legacies in this remarkable country. Periods of Chinese, French, and Japanese rule reshaped and modernized Vietnam, but so too did the colonial enterprises of the Vietnamese themselves as they extended their influence southward from the Red River Delta. Over the centuries, numerous kingdoms, dynasties, and states have ruled over—and fought for—what is now Vietnam. Trinh and Nguyen military lords led competing states in the seventeenth century. French colonizers grouped Vietnam with Laos and Cambodia in an Indochinese Union, but governed Vietnam itself as three separate territorial units. The bloody Cold War–era conflict between Ho Chi Minh's communist-backed Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the American-backed Republic of Vietnam was only the most recent instance when war divided and transformed Vietnam.

A major achievement, Vietnam offers the grand narrative of the country's complex past and the creation of the modern state of Vietnam. At a time when more and more visitors come to Vietnam and Southeast Asia is again at the center of intense global rivalries, this is the definitive single-volume history for anyone seeking to understand Vietnam today.

About the Author

Christopher Goscha is an associate professor of history at the Université du Québec à Montréal. The author and editor of numerous books on Vietnam and Southeast Asia in English and French, he lives in Montreal, Canada.

Reviews

Odd Arne Westad, author of Restless Empire: China and the World Since 1750
“For those who have wanted a distinct and comprehensive overview of Vietnam's history, this is it. Christopher Goscha has an eye for how history connects through generations and how a country can rise from disasters in a new form, without losing sight of its past.”

Fredrik Logevall, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam
“A splendid achievement. Christopher Goscha is one of our leading historians of modern Vietnam, and he shows it in this nuanced, fair-minded, deeply humane book. Destined to be a standard work on the subject.”

Rana Mitter, author of Forgotten Ally: China's World War II, 1937-1945
“Powerful and compelling. Vietnam will be of growing importance in the twenty-first-century world, particularly as China and the US rethink their roles in Asia. Christopher Goscha's book is a brilliant account of that country's history. Paying careful attention to Vietnamese voices as well as those of colonizers, he constructs a narrative that sets Vietnam in context, and makes it for western readers so much more than a half-remembered event in the Cold War.”

Wall Street Journal
“Mr. Goscha is one of the most talented and prolific of a new group of American and French historians who have examined the modern history of Vietnam not in regard to the country's relationship to the U.S. or the Cold War but on its own terms... [he] has put together what will probably be for some time the best one-volume history of modern Vietnam in English... 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.”

Guardian
“Groundbreaking... Goscha has provided quite simply the finest, most readable single-volume history of Vietnam in English.”

The Economist
“[A] thorough and thoughtful new history.”

The VVA Veteran
“[An] excellent book.... Goscha is rigorously objective; but he does not shy away from analysis amid his historical fact finding.”

Washington Independent Review of Books
“A welcome new scholarly take on the story of a fascinating country.”

Kirkus Reviews
“A vigorous, eye-opening account of a country of great importance to the world, past and future.”