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By Ben Kiernan

For lots of Westerners, the identify Vietnam inspires pictures of a bloody televised American battle that generated a firestorm of protest and taken clash into their residing rooms. In his sweeping account, Ben Kiernan broadens this imaginative and prescient through narrating the wealthy background of the peoples who've inhabited the land referred to now as Viet Nam over the last 3 thousand years.

Despite the tragedies of the American-Vietnamese clash, Viet Nam has regularly been even more than a warfare. Its lengthy heritage have been characterised via the widespread upward push and fall of other political formations, from old chiefdoms to imperial provinces, from autonomous kingdoms to divided areas, civil wars, French colonies, and sleek republics. as well as dramatic political differences, the zone has been formed through its setting, altering weather, and the severe significance of water, with rivers, deltas, and an extended beach facilitating agricultural styles, exchange, and communications.

Kiernan weaves jointly the numerous narrative strands of Viet Nam's multi-ethnic populations, together with the Chams, Khmers, and Vietnamese, and its multi-religious background, from neighborhood spirit cults to Buddhism, Confucianism, and Catholicism. He emphasizes the peoples' interactions over the millennia with foreigners, fairly their buddies in China and Southeast Asia, in engagements starting from army clash to linguistic and cultural impacts. He units the tumultuous smooth period--marked by way of French and jap profession, anticolonial nationalism, the American-Vietnamese warfare, and communist victory--against the continuities obtrusive within the deeper background of the people's relationships with the lands the place they've got lived. In modern occasions, he explores this one-party state's transformation right into a worldwide buying and selling state, the country's annoying diplomatic courting with China and constructing partnership with the U.S. in keeping Southeast Asia's local defense, and its doubtful clients for democracy.

Written through a number one pupil of Southeast Asia, Viet Nam presents an authoritative historical past of an historical land.

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