Viet Nam

Viet Nam : A History from Earliest Times to the Present

3.76 (13 ratings by Goodreads)
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This book narrates the history of the different peoples who have lived in the three major regions of Viet Nam over the past 3,000 years. It brings to life their relationships with these regions' landscapes, water resources, and climatic conditions, their changing cultures and religious traditions, and their interactions with their neighbors in China and Southeast Asia. Key themes include the dramatic impact of changing weather patterns from ancient to medieval and modern times, the central importance of riverine and maritime communications, ecological and economic transformations, and linguistic and literary changes. The country's long experience of regional diversity, multi-ethnic populations, and a multi-religious heritage that ranges from local spirit cults to the influences of Buddhism, Confucianism and Catholicism, makes for a vividly pluralistic narrative. The arcs of Vietnamese history include the rise and fall of different political formations, from chiefdoms to Chinese provinces, from independent kingdoms to divided regions, civil wars, French colonies, and modern republics. In the twentieth century anticolonial nationalism, the worldwide depression, Japanese occupation, a French attempt at reconquest, the traumatic American-Vietnamese war, and the 1975 communist victory all set the scene for the making of contemporary Viet Nam. Rapid economic growth in recent decades has transformed this one-party state into a global trading nation. Yet its rich history still casts a long shadow. Along with other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Viet Nam is now involved in a tense territorial standoff in the South China Sea, as a rival of China and ashow more

Product details

  • Hardback | 656 pages
  • 173 x 236 x 42mm | 1,026g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195160762
  • 9780195160765
  • 104,255

Review quote

Kiernan offers a comprehensive overview of Vietnamese history from prehistoric times to the 21st century ... A distinctive quality of this work is its inclusion of environmental and linguistic history. The author effectively explains how geography and changing weather patterns (droughts, etc.) impacted historical development and demonstrates how changes in language over time provides information about Vietnam's past ... Essential for all students of Vietnamese history. Extensive descriptions of Vietnam's relations with its neighbors also make this valuable reading for those interested in Chinese or Southeast Asian history. * Library Journal * This outstanding book shows that 'Viet Nam has always been much more than a war.' By making his themes the perennial continuities and changes in the vital ecologies and polyethnic cultures of the country, Ben Kiernan tells a story of shifting layers that is lucid and rich. His work is a kaleidoscope of Vietnamese history. * Greg Lockhart, author of Nation in Arms: the Origins of the People's Army of Vietnam * An audacious book, Kiernan's Viet Nam presents the country's long history to new, global audiences, eloquently showing how the deep past continues to shape and inform the present. * David Biggs, author of Quagmire: Nation-Building and Nature in the Mekong Delta * This is a remarkably evocative, multifaceted, sophisticated, and original study not only of those groups who haltingly coalesced as Vietnamese, but also of the many peoples with whom they interacted, and indeed of an entire region during two millennia. This book, I suspect, will become a classic in Asian as well as Southeast Asian historiography. * Victor Lieberman, University of Michigan * A major contribution to contemporary Southeast Asian scholarship... a sympathetic study of a tenacious and capable people. * Robin Gerster, Australian Book Review *show more

About Ben Kiernan

Ben Kiernan is the author of The Pol Pot Regime, Genocide and Democracy in Cambodia, and Blood and Soil: A World History of Genocide and Extermination from Sparta to more

Review Text

A major contribution to contemporary Southeast Asian scholarship... a sympathetic study of a tenacious and capable people. Robin Gerster, Australian Book Reviewshow more

Rating details

13 ratings
3.76 out of 5 stars
5 23% (3)
4 46% (6)
3 15% (2)
2 15% (2)
1 0% (0)
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