In her research on popular culture of the Vietnamese diaspora, Nhi T. Lieu explores how people displaced by war reconstruct cultural identity in the aftermath of migration. Embracing American democratic ideals and consumer capitalism prior to arriving in the United States, postwar Vietnamese refugees endeavored to assimilate and live the American Dream. In The American Dream in Vietnamese, she claims that nowhere are these fantasies played out more vividly than in the Vietnamese American entertainment industry.
Lieu examines how live music variety shows and videos, beauty pageants, and Web sites created by and for Vietnamese Americans contributed to the shaping of their cultural identity. She shows how popular culture forms repositories for conflicting expectations of assimilation, cultural preservation, and invention, alongside gendered and classed dimensions of ethnic and diasporic identity.
The American Dream in Vietnamese demonstrates how the circulation of images manufactured by both Americans and Vietnamese immigrants serves to produce these immigrants’ paradoxical desires. Within these desires and their representations, Lieu finds the dramatization of the community’s struggle to define itself against the legacy of the refugee label, a classification that continues to pathologize their experiences in American society.
America’s Miracle Man in Vietnam rethinks the motivations behind one of the most ruinous foreign-policy decisions of the postwar era: America’s commitment to preserve an independent South Vietnam under the premiership of Ngo Dinh Diem. The so-called Diem experiment is usually ascribed to U.S. anticommunism and an absence of other candidates for South Vietnam’s highest office. Challenging those explanations, Seth Jacobs utilizes religion and race as categories of analysis to argue that the alliance with Diem cannot be understood apart from America’s mid-century religious revival and policymakers’ perceptions of Asians. Jacobs contends that Diem’s Catholicism and the extent to which he violated American notions of “Oriental” passivity and moral laxity made him a more attractive ally to Washington than many non-Christian South Vietnamese with greater administrative experience and popular support.
A diplomatic and cultural history, America’s Miracle Man in Vietnam draws on government archives, presidential libraries, private papers, novels, newspapers, magazines, movies, and television and radio broadcasts. Jacobs shows in detail how, in the 1950s, U.S. policymakers conceived of Cold War anticommunism as a crusade in which Americans needed to combine with fellow Judeo-Christians against an adversary dangerous as much for its atheism as for its military might. He describes how racist assumptions that Asians were culturally unready for democratic self-government predisposed Americans to excuse Diem’s dictatorship as necessary in “the Orient.” By focusing attention on the role of American religious and racial ideologies, Jacobs makes a crucial contribution to our understanding of the disastrous commitment of the United States to “sink or swim with Ngo Dinh Diem.”
Vietnamese refugees fleeing the fall of South Vietnam faced a paradox. The same guilt-ridden America that only reluctantly accepted them expected, and rewarded, expressions of gratitude for their rescue. Meanwhile, their status as refugees ”as opposed to willing immigrants ”profoundly influenced their cultural identity. Phuong Tran Nguyen examines the phenomenon of refugee nationalism among Vietnamese Americans in Southern California. Here, the residents of Little Saigon keep alive nostalgia for the old regime and, by extension, their claim to a lost statehood. Their refugee nationalism is less a refusal to assimilate than a mode of becoming, in essence, a distinct group of refugee Americans. Nguyen examines the factors that encouraged them to adopt this identity. His analysis also moves beyond the familiar rescue narrative to chart the intimate yet contentious relationship these Vietnamese Americans have with their adopted homeland. Nguyen sets their plight within the context of the Cold War, an era when Americans sought to atone for broken promises but also saw themselves as providing a sanctuary for people everywhere fleeing communism.
Between a River and a Mountain details American labor's surprisingly complex relationship to the American war in Vietnam. Breaking from the simplistic story of "hard hat patriotism," Wehrle uses newly released archival material to demonstrate the AFL-CIO's continuing dedication to social, political, and economic reform in Vietnam. The complex, sometimes turbulent, relationship between American union leaders and their counterparts in the Vietnamese Confederation of Labor (known as the CVT) led to dangerous political compromises: the AFL-CIO eventually accepted much-needed support for their Vietnamese activities from the CIA, while the CVT's need to sustain their relationship with the Americans lured them into entanglements with a succession of corrupt Saigon governments. Although the story's endpoint--the painfully divided and weakened labor movement of the 1970s--may be familiar, Wehrle offers an entirely new understanding of the historical forces leading up to that decline, unraveling his story with considerable sophistication and narrative skill.
"Stunning in its research and sophisticated in its analysis, Between a River and a Mountain is one of the best studies we have of labor and the Vietnam War."
--Robert K. Brigham, Shirley Ecker Boskey Professor of History and International Relations, Vassar College
"Skillfully blending diplomatic and labor history, Wehrle's book is a valuable contribution to the ever-widening literature on the Vietnam War."
--George Herring, University of Kentucky
"Wehrle has written a compelling and original study of the AFL-CIO, the South Vietnamese labor movement and the Vietnam War."
--Judith Stein, Professor of History, City College and Graduate School of the City University of New York
"With this important book, Edmund Wehrle gives us the first full-fledged scholarly examination of organized labor's relationship to the Vietnam War. Based on deep research in U.S. and foreign archives, and presented in clear and graceful prose, Between a River and a Mountain adds a great deal to our understanding of how the AFL-CIO approached the war and in turn was fundamentally altered by its staunch support for Americanization. Nor is it merely an American story that Wehrle tells, for he also presents fascinating information on the Vietnamese Confederation of Labor and its sometimes-strained relations with U.S. labor."
--Fredrik Logevall, Cornell University
Edmund F. Wehrle is Assistant Professor of History, Eastern Illinois University.
Following a decade of U.S. bombing campaigns that obliterated northern Vietnam, East Germany helped Vietnam rebuild in an act of socialist solidarity. In Building Socialism Christina Schwenkel examines the utopian visions of an expert group of Vietnamese and East German urban planners who sought to transform the devastated industrial town of Vinh into a model socialist city. Drawing on archival and ethnographic research in Vietnam and Germany with architects, engineers, construction workers, and tenants in Vinh’s mass housing complex, Schwenkel explores the material and affective dimensions of urban possibility and the quick fall of Vinh’s new built environment into unplanned obsolescence. She analyzes the tensions between aspirational infrastructure and postwar uncertainty to show how design models and practices that circulated between the socialist North and the decolonizing South underwent significant modification to accommodate alternative cultural logics and ideas about urban futurity. By documenting the building of Vietnam’s first planned city and its aftermath of decay and repurposing, Schwenkel argues that underlying the ambivalent and often unpredictable responses to modernist architectural forms were anxieties about modernity and the future of socialism itself.
What does censorship do to a culture? How do censors justify their work? What are the mechanisms by which censorship—and self-censorship—alter people’s sense of time and memory, truth and reality? Thomas Bass faced these questions when The Spy Who Loved Us, his account of the famous Time magazine journalist and double agent Pham Xuan An, was published in a Vietnamese edition. When the book finally appeared in 2014, after five years of negotiations with Vietnamese censors, more than four hundred passages had been altered or cut from the text. After the book was published, Bass flew to Vietnam to meet his censors, at least the half dozen who would speak with him. In Censorship in Vietnam, he describes these meetings and examines how censorship works, both in Vietnam and elsewhere in the world. An exemplary piece of investigative reporting, Censorship in Vietnam opens a window into the country today and shows us the precarious nature of intellectual freedom in a world governed by suppression.
During the Vietnam War, young African Americans fought to protect the freedoms of Southeast Asians and died in disproportionate numbers compared to their white counterparts. Despite their sacrifices, black Americans were unable to secure equal rights at home, and because the importance of the war overshadowed the civil rights movement in the minds of politicians and the public, it seemed that further progress might never come. For many African Americans, the bloodshed, loss, and disappointment of war became just another chapter in the history of the civil rights movement. Lawrence Allen Eldridge explores this two-front war, showing how the African American press grappled with the Vietnam War and its impact on the struggle for civil rights.
Written in a clear narrative style, Chronicles of a Two-Front War is the first book to examine coverage of the Vietnam War by black news publications, from the Gulf of Tonkin incident in August 1964 to the final withdrawal of American ground forces in the spring of 1973 and the fall of Saigon in the spring of 1975.
Eldridge reveals how the black press not only reported the war but also weighed its significance in the context of the civil rights movement.
The author researched seventeen African American newspapers, including the Chicago Defender, the Baltimore Afro-American, and the New Courier, and two magazines, Jet and Ebony. He augmented the study with a rich array of primary sources—including interviews with black journalists and editors, oral history collections, the personal papers of key figures in the black press, and government documents, including those from the presidential libraries of Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Gerald Ford—to trace the ups and downs of U.S. domestic and wartime policy especially as it related to the impact of the war on civil rights.
Eldridge examines not only the role of reporters during the war, but also those of editors, commentators, and cartoonists. Especially enlightening is the research drawn from extensive oral histories by prominent journalist Ethel Payne, the first African American woman to receive the title of war correspondent. She described a widespread practice in black papers of reworking material from major white papers without providing proper credit, as the demand for news swamped the small budgets and limited staffs of African American papers. The author analyzes both the strengths of the black print media and the weaknesses in their coverage.
The black press ultimately viewed the Vietnam War through the lens of African American experience, blaming the war for crippling LBJ’s Great Society and the War on Poverty. Despite its waning hopes for an improved life, the black press soldiered on.
The first three decades of the twentieth century in late-colonial Vietnam--the period that also marked the transition between the dominant Confucian and nascent Western worldviews--generated an abundance of political literature in that country. The documents from this transitional era belong to a variety of genres: propaganda pamphlets, open letters to government officials, texts for private or clandestine classrooms, manifestos of political or cultural organizations, columns from newspapers, public proclamations, petitions to international agencies, and poems. Whether from the old or the new era, however, they all expressed an opinion on the colonial status of their country.
Scholar Truong Buu Lam has collected twenty of these documents, all written between 1900 and 1931, into an anthology which captures the spirit of the conflicting ideologies and the political struggles of this time. Written originally in Vietnamese, French, or classical Chinese, the documents have been translated into English by Lam and given individual introductions in an effort to clarify their historical contexts most accurately. Lam also provides a lengthy overview of the contemporary scene at the time of the writings to further illuminate the grander themes tying the writings together.
In Vietnam, all of these writings are well-known texts, quoted in every publication that examines the period under consideration; yet, to the best of our knowledge, few have been reproduced in their entirety and none has ever been translated into English. This translation marks an important addition to the fields of Southeast Asian and colonial studies and will be welcomed by historians, political scientists, and anthropologists alike.
Truong Buu Lam is Associate Professor of History, University of Hawaii at Manoa. He is editor of the collections Patterns of Vietnamese Response to Foreign Intervention, 1858-1900 and Borrowings and Adaptations in Vietnamese Culture, and the author of Resistance, Rebellion, Revolution: Popular Movements in Vietnamese History and New Lamps for Old: The Transformation of the Vietnamese Administrative Elite.
A memoir/history of a much-beleaguered Marine outpost of the DMZ.
Throughout much of 1967, a remote United States Marine firebase only two miles from the demilitarized zone (DMZ) captured the attention of the world’s media. That artillery-scarred outpost was the linchpin of the so-called McNamara Line intended to deter incursions into South Vietnam by the North Vietnamese Army. As such, the fighting along this territory was particularly intense and bloody, and the body count rose daily.
Con Thien combines James P. Coan’s personal experiences with information taken from archives, interviews with battle participants, and official documents to construct a powerful story of the daily life and combat on the red clay bulls-eye known as "The Hill of Angels." As a tank platoon leader in Alpha Company, 3d Tank Battalion, 3d Marine Division, Coan was stationed at Con Thien for eight months during his 1967-68 service in Vietnam and witnessed much of the carnage.
Con Thien was heavily bombarded by enemy artillery with impunity because it was located in politically sensitive territory and the U.S. government would not permit direct armed response from Marine tanks. Coan, like many other soldiers, began to feel as though the government was as much the enemy as the NVA, yet he continued to fight for his country with all that he had. In his
riveting memoir, Coan depicts the hardships of life in the DMZ and the ineffectiveness of much of the U.S. military effort in Vietnam.
Crossing the River presents a wide range of Nguyen Huy Thiep's short fiction, both realistic stories in contemporary settings and retellings of folk myths that serve as contemporary parables. When Thiep's stories first appeared in the 1980s, they set off a chain of debate, not only within intellectual and political circles, but also within the society at large. Typically, the struggles of his characters were about survival, not survival in the context of war or revolution, but survival in the context of the emotional and psychological strength it takes to live within the harsh confines of post-war Vietnamese society. Thiep captured the emotional quality of Vietnamese life in a way no other author had done, and his importance can be recognized today by his enormous influence on younger writers.
In Deaf to the Marrow, public anthropologist Audrey C. Cooper examines the social production and transformation of ideas about language, bodies, and state-structured educational institutions in southern Viet Nam. Focusing on the reform period (1986 to the present), Cooper describes the ways that signed-language practices, ideologies, policies, and programming shape and are shaped by Deaf people’s social engagement in and around Ho Chí Minh City.
Drawing on research data and work with Vietnamese Deaf colleagues covering an eight-year span, Cooper develops ethnographic and language-centered accounts of Deaf social organizing. These accounts illuminate the ways that Deaf citizens are assuming self-determining roles, or active citizenship, in decisions of local, national, and international importance. By placing Deaf social action in the historical context of state development and modernization projects, Cooper shows how educational structuring reflects dominant, spoken-language-centered views of Vietnamese Deaf people and signed languages. She also addresses the impact of international aid agendas on education, especially those related to disability. Deaf to the Marrow examines perspectives largely ignored in Deaf education, Deaf studies, signed-language linguistics, and anthropological literatures, thereby contributing to scholarship on language and sociopolitical formation broadly and the study of Deaf people’s citizenship practices specifically.
Outside of its war with the United States, Vietnam’s past has often been neglected and understudied. Whether as an aspiring subordinate or a rebel province, Vietnam has been viewed by most historians in relation to its larger neighbor to the north, China. Seeking to reshape these accounts, Descending Dragon, Rising Tiger chronicles the vast sweep of Vietnam’s tumultuous history, from the Bronze Age to the present day, in order to lay out the first English-language account of the full story of the Vietnamese people.
Drawing on archeological evidence that reveals the emergence of a culturally distinct human occupation of the region up to 10,000 years ago, Vu Hong Lien and Peter D. Sharrock show that these early societies had a sophisticated agricultural and technological culture much earlier than previously imagined. They explore the great variety of cultures that have existed in this territory, unshackling them from the confined histories of outsiders, imperial invaders, and occupiers in order to show that the country has been central to the cultural, political, and ethnic development of Southeast Asia for millennia. Unrivaled in scope, this comprehensive account will be the definitive history of the Vietnamese people, their culture, and their nation.
In this powerful story collection—the first such work of fiction by a woman who served in Vietnam—Susan O’Neill offers a remarkable view of the war from a female perspective. All the nurses who served there had a common bond: to attend to the wounded. While men were sent to protect America’s interests at any cost, nurses were trained to save the lives of anyone—soldier or citizen, ally or enemy—who was brought through the hospital doors. It was an important distinction in a place where killing was sometimes the only objective. And since they were so vastly outnumbered, women inevitably became objects of both reverence and sexual desire. For American nurses in Vietnam, and the men among whom they worked and lived, a common defense against the steady onslaught of dead and dying, wounded and maimed, was a feigned indifference—the irony of the powerless. With the assistance of alcohol, drugs, and casual sex, "Don’t mean nothing" became their mantra, a means of coping with the other war—the war against total mental breakdown. Each or these tales offers new and profound insight into the ways the war in Vietnam forever changed the lives of everyone who served there.
Banned in Vietnam until 1986, Dumb Luck--by the controversial and influential Vietnamese writer Vu Trong Phung--is a bitter satire of the rage for modernization in Vietnam during the late colonial era. First published in Hanoi during 1936, it follows the absurd and unexpected rise within colonial society of a street-smart vagabond named Red-haired Xuan. As it charts Xuan's fantastic social ascent, the novel provides a panoramic view of late colonial urban social order, from the filthy sidewalks of Hanoi's old commercial quarter to the gaudy mansions of the emergent Francophile northern upper classes. The transformation of traditional Vietnamese class and gender relations triggered by the growth of colonial capitalism represents a major theme of the novel.
Dumb Luck is the first translation of a major work by Vu Trong Phung, arguably the greatest Vietnamese writer of the twentieth century. The novel's clever plot, richly drawn characters and humorous tone and its preoccupation with sex, fashion and capitalism will appeal to a wide audience. It will appeal to students and scholars of Vietnam, comparative literature, colonial and postcolonial studies, and Southeast Asian civilization.
Vu Trong Phung died in Hanoi, in 1939 at the age of twenty-seven. He is the author of at least eight novels, seven plays, and several other works of fiction in addition to Dumb Luck.
Peter Zinoman is Associate Professor of Southeast Asian History, University of California, Berkeley. Nguyen Nguyet Cam is Vietnamese Language Instructor, University of California, Berkeley.
Much has been written about America’s war in Vietnam, and an enduring and troubling subtext is the composition of the body of soldiers that made up the U.S. troop deployment: from the initially well-trained and disciplined group of largely elite units that served in the mid-sixties to what has been termed an “armed mob” by the end of that decade and into the early 1970s. Drug use, insubordination, racial antagonism that often became violent, theft and black market dealing, and even “fragging” (murder of officers and senior noncoms by disgruntled troops) marred the record of the U.S. military presence. Don Griffis served in the twin roles of legal officer charged at various times with the task of both defending and prosecuting servicemen, while at the same time leading combat patrols in “search and destroy” missions against the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese enemy. Eagle Days is a remarkable account of Griffis’ personal record of experiencing what the military should do best—meet, engage, and defeat the enemy—and what it becomes when esprit de corps, discipline, and a sense of purpose decay.
In Experiments in Skin Thuy Linh Nguyen Tu examines the ongoing influence of the Vietnam War on contemporary ideas about race and beauty. Framing skin as the site around which these ideas have been formed, Tu foregrounds the histories of militarism in the production of US biomedical knowledge and commercial cosmetics. She uncovers the efforts of wartime scientists in the US Military Dermatology Research Program to alleviate the environmental and chemical risks to soldiers' skin. These dermatologists sought relief for white soldiers while denying that African American soldiers and Vietnamese civilians were also vulnerable to harm. Their experiments led to the development of pharmaceutical cosmetics, now used by women in Ho Chi Minh City to tend to their skin, and to grapple with the damage caused by the war's lingering toxicity. In showing how the US military laid the foundations for contemporary Vietnamese consumption of cosmetics and practices of beauty, Tu shows how the intersecting histories of militarism, biomedicine, race, and aesthetics become materially and metaphorically visible on skin.
An exploration of the nuclear arms race and the dangers arising with the advent of “limited warfare”
After the development of the atomic bomb in 1945, Americans became engaged in a "new kind of war" against totalitarianism. Enemies and objectives slipped out of focus, causing political and military aims to mesh as a struggle to contain communism both at home and abroad encompassed civilians as well as soldiers. In matters relating to Vietnam, Central America, and the nuclear arms race, the domestic and foreign dimensions of each issue became inseparable. Policymakers in Washington had to formulate strategies dictated by "limited war" in their search for peace.
Contributors to this volume demonstrate the multifaceted nature of modern warfare. Robert H. Ferrell establishes the importance of studying military history in understanding the post-World War II era. On Vietnam, Colonel Harry G. Summers, Jr., gives an intriguing argument regarding the U. S. Army; George C. Herring examines how America's decisions in 1954 assured deepened involvement; and Captain Mark Clodfelter uncovers new evidence concerning "Linebacker I." On the home front, Robert F. Burk analyzes the impact of the Cold War on the battle for racial justice; Charles DeBenedetti puts forth a challenging interpretation of the antiwar movement; and James C. Schneider provides perspective on the relationship between the Vietnam War and the Great Society. On Central America, two writers downplay communism in explaining the region's troubles. Ralph Lee Woodward, Jr., fits the Nicaraguan revolution in the long span of history, and Thomas M. Leonard shows how the Reagan administration forced Costa Rica to side with the United States's anti-Sandinista policy. Finally, on nuclear strategy, Donald M. Snow offers a thought-provoking assessment of the "star wars" program, and Daniel S. Papp recommends measures to promote understanding among the superpowers.
These essays demonstrate that the making of foreign policy is immensely complicated, not subject to easy solution or to simple explanation. Despite these complexities, the central objective of policymakers remained clear: to safeguard what was perceived as the national interest.
In Four Decades On, historians, anthropologists, and literary critics examine the legacies of the Second Indochina War, or what most Americans call the Vietnam War, nearly forty years after the United States finally left Vietnam. They address matters such as the daunting tasks facing the Vietnamese at the war's end—including rebuilding a nation and consolidating a socialist revolution while fending off China and the Khmer Rouge—and "the Vietnam syndrome," the cynical, frustrated, and pessimistic sense that colored America's views of the rest of the world after its humiliating defeat in Vietnam. The contributors provide unexpected perspectives on Agent Orange, the POW/MIA controversies, the commercial trade relationship between the United States and Vietnam, and representations of the war and its aftermath produced by artists, particularly writers. They show how the war has continued to affect not only international relations but also the everyday lives of millions of people around the world. Most of the contributors take up matters in the United States, Vietnam, or both nations, while several utilize transnational analytic frameworks, recognizing that the war's legacies shape and are shaped by dynamics that transcend the two countries. Contributors. Alex Bloom, Diane Niblack Fox, H. Bruce Franklin, Walter Hixson, Heonik Kwon, Scott Laderman, Mariam B. Lam, Ngo Vinh Long, Edwin A. Martini, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Christina Schwenkel, Charles Waugh
Focusing on the creation and misuse of government documents in Vietnam since the 1920s, The Government of Mistrust reveals how profoundly the dynamics of bureaucracy have affected Vietnamese efforts to build a socialist society. In examining the flurries of paperwork and directives that moved back and forth between high- and low-level officials, Ken MacLean underscores a paradox: in trying to gather accurate information about the realities of life in rural areas, and thus better govern from Hanoi, the Vietnamese central government employed strategies that actually made the state increasingly illegible to itself.
MacLean exposes a falsified world existing largely on paper. As high-level officials attempted to execute centralized planning via decrees, procedures, questionnaires, and audits, low-level officials and peasants used their own strategies to solve local problems. To obtain hoped-for aid from the central government, locals overstated their needs and underreported the resources they actually possessed. Higher-ups attempted to re-establish centralized control and legibility by creating yet more bureaucratic procedures. Amidst the resulting mistrust and ambiguity, many low-level officials were able to engage in strategic action and tactical maneuvering that have shaped socialism in Vietnam in surprising ways.
Hanoi Journal, 1967
Carol McEldowney University of Massachusetts Press, 2007 Library of Congress DS559.62.U6M35 2007 | Dewey Decimal 959.70431
In the fall of 1967, Carol McEldowney, a twenty-four-year-old community organizer living in Cleveland, embarked on a remarkable journey. In a climate of growing domestic unrest and international turmoil, she traveled illegally to North Vietnam with fellow members of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) to meet the enemy face-to-face. She was determined to understand the foe that had troubled America's leaders in Washington since the end of World War II. With an eye toward history and a recognition of the significance of her journey, McEldowney documented her experiences in the journal reproduced in this book. Through her words we bear witness to a political ideology that saw a connection between the struggles of the poor in America and the tragedy of war-torn Vietnam. McEldowney first gained the respect of her fellow activists as a student organizer at the University of Michigan. High regard for her intelligence, skill, and hard work with SDS's Economic Recovery Action Program during the years following her graduation in 1964 earned her an invitation to attend an international conference in Czechoslovakia and an offer to continue on to North Vietnam. Though her journal displays only traces of the feminist consciousness that would mark her later political activism, she recorded her observations of North Vietnam clearly aware that she was an outsider—a woman not subject to the military draft, not married to a soldier, and without the heartache of a brother or even a close friend serving in the war. McEldowney searched for glimpses of everyday life that would help her to better relate to women in Hanoi and the hardships they faced during wartime. As she traveled in North Vietnam, she sought a deeper understanding of the events of her time. Her journal provides readers with a unique lens through which to study those events and gain a new perspective on the Vietnam War era.
Lynda Van Devanter was the girl next door, the cheerleader who went to Catholic schools, enjoyed sports, and got along well with her four sisters and parents. After high school she attended nursing school and then did something that would shatter her secure world for the rest of her life: in 1969, she joined the army and was shipped to Vietnam. When she arrived in Vietnam her idealistic view of the war vanished quickly. She worked long and arduous hours in cramped, ill-equipped, understaffed operating rooms. She saw friends die. Witnessing a war close-up, operating on soldiers and civilians whose injuries were catastrophic, she found the very foundations of her thinking changing daily. After one traumatic year, she came home, a Vietnam veteran. Coming home was nearly as devastating as the time she spent in Asia. Nothing was the same -- including Lynda herself. Viewed by many as a murderer instead of a healer, she felt isolated and angry. The anger turned to depression; like many other Vietnam veterans she suffered from delayed stress syndrome. Working in hospitals brought back chilling scenes of hopelessly wounded soldiers. A marriage ended in divorce. The war that was fought physically halfway around the world had become a personal, internal battle. Home before Morning is the story of a woman whose courage, stamina, and personal history make this a compelling autobiography. It is also the saga of others who went to war to aid the wounded and came back wounded -- physically and emotionally -- themselves. And, it is the true story of one person's triumphs: her understanding of, and coming to terms with, her destiny.
Just as famines and plagues can provide opportunities for medical research, the unhappy course of United States relations with Vietnam is a prime source of evidence for students of American political institutions. How Presidents Test Reality draws on the record of American decision making about Vietnam to explore the capacity of top government executives and their advisers to engage in effective reality testing.
Authors Burke and Greenstein compare the Vietnam decisions of two presidents whose leadership styles and advisory systems diverged as sharply as any in the modern presidency. Faced with a common challenge—an incipient Communist take-over of Vietnam—presidents Eisenhower and Johnson engaged in intense debates with their aides and associates, some of whom favored intervention and some of whom opposed it. In the Dien Bien Phu Crisis of 1954, Eisenhower decided not to enter the conflict; in 1965, when it became evident that the regime in South Vietnam could not hold out much longer, Johnson intervened.
How Presidents Test Reality uses declassified records and interviews with participants to assess the adequacy of each president’s use of advice and information. This important book advances our historical understanding of the American involvement in Vietnam and illuminates the preconditions of effective presidential leadership in the modern world.
"An exceptionally thoughtful exercise in what ‘contemporary history’ ought to be. Illuminates the past in a way that suggests how we might deal with the present and the future." —John Lewis Gaddis
"Burke and Greenstein have written what amounts to an owner's manual for operating the National Security Council....This is a book Reagan's people could have used and George Bush ought to read." —Bob Schieffer, The Washington Monthly
By the time of the Vietnam War era, the “Mexican American Generation” had made tremendous progress both socially and politically. However, the number of Mexican Americans in comparison to the number of white prisoners of war (POWs) illustrated the significant discrimination and inequality the Chicano population faced in both military and civilian landscapes. Chicanos were disproportionately “grunts” (infantry), who were more likely to be killed when captured, while pilots and officers were more likely to be both white and held as POWs for negotiating purposes. A fascinating look at the Vietnam War era from a Chicano perspective, “I’m Not Gonna Die in this Damn Place”: Manliness, Identity, and Survival of the Mexican American Vietnam Prisoners of War gives voice to the Mexican American POWs. The stories of these men and their families provide insights to the Chicano Vietnam War experience, while also adding tremendously to the American POW story. This book is an important read for academics and military enthusiasts alike.
A Vietnam War combat memoir from the perspective of an artilleryman.
Impact Zone documents Marine First Lieutenant James S. Brown's intense battle experiences, including those at Khe Sanh and Con Thien, throughout his thirteen months of service on the DMZ during 1967-68. This high-action account also reflects Brown's growing belief that the Vietnam War was mis-fought due to the unproductive political leadership of President Johnson and his administration. Brown's naiveté developed into hardening skepticism and cynicism as he faced the harsh realities of war, though he still managed to retain a sense of honor, pride, and patriotism for his country.
Impact Zone is a distinctive book on the Vietnam War because it is told from the perspective of an artilleryman, and the increasingly dangerous events gain momentum as they progress from one adventure to the next. Impact Zone is not only an important historical document of the Vietnam conflict, but also a moving record of the personal and emotional costs of war.
Trân Van Thuy is a celebrated Vietnamese filmmaker of more than twenty award-winning documentaries. A cameraman for the People’s Army of Vietnam during the Vietnam War, he went on to achieve international fame as the director of films that address the human costs of the war and its aftermath. Thuy’s memoir, when published in Vietnam in 2013, immediately sold out. In this translation, English-language readers are now able to learn in rich detail about the life and work of this preeminent artist. Written in a gentle and charming style, the memoir is filled with reflections on war, peace, history, freedom of expression, and filmmaking. Thuy also offers a firsthand account of the war in Vietnam and its aftermath from a Vietnamese perspective, adding a dimension rarely encountered in English-language literature.
An Insignificant Family
Da Ngan Northwestern University Press, 2009 Library of Congress PL4378.9.D275G5313 2009 | Dewey Decimal 895.92233
Beginning in Vietnam shortly after the end of the American war and ending sometime in the 21st century, this 8th volume of Curbstone's Voices from Vietnam Series follows the life of Nguyen Thi My Tiep, a woman writer and a revolutionary, whose girlhood is spent as a guerrilla fighter, and whose post-war life becomes a search for personal liberation and individual love. Tiep's struggles are seamlessly connected to the changes her country is going through, as Da Ngan's daring and controversial novel draws us into the life of a woman who insists on leading a meaningful and honest life—as a citizen, as a daughter, as a mother, as a writer, and as a lover who pursues her own sexuality.
Beginning where most histories of the Vietnam War end, Invisible Enemies examines the relationship between the United States and Vietnam following the American pullout in 1975. Drawing on a broad range of sources, from White House documents and congressional hearings to comic books and feature films, Edwin Martini shows how the United States continued to wage war on Vietnam "by other means" for another twenty-five years. In addition to imposing an extensive program of economic sanctions, the United States opposed Vietnam's membership in the United Nations, supported the Cambodians, including the Khmer Rouge, in their decade-long war with the Vietnamese, and insisted that Vietnam provide a "full accounting" of American MIAs before diplomatic relations could be established. According to Martini, such policies not only worked against some of the stated goals of U.S. foreign policy, they were also in opposition to the corporate economic interests that ultimately played a key role in normalizing relations between the two nations in the late 1990s. Martini reinforces his assessment of American diplomacy with an analysis of the "cultural front"—the movies, myths, memorials, and other phenomena that supported continuing hostility toward Vietnam while silencing opposing views of the war and its legacies. He thus demonstrates that the "American War on Vietnam" was as much a battle for the cultural memory of the war within the United States as it was a lengthy economic, political, and diplomatic campaign to punish a former adversary.
Invariably, armies are accused of preparing to fight the previous war. In Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife, Lieutenant Colonel John A. Nagl—a veteran of both Operation Desert Storm and the current conflict in Iraq—considers the now-crucial question of how armies adapt to changing circumstances during the course of conflicts for which they are initially unprepared. Through the use of archival sources and interviews with participants in both engagements, Nagl compares the development of counterinsurgency doctrine and practice in the Malayan Emergency from 1948 to 1960 with what developed in the Vietnam War from 1950 to 1975.
In examining these two events, Nagl—the subject of a recent New York Times Magazine cover story by Peter Maass—argues that organizational culture is key to the ability to learn from unanticipated conditions, a variable which explains why the British army successfully conducted counterinsurgency in Malaya but why the American army failed to do so in Vietnam, treating the war instead as a conventional conflict. Nagl concludes that the British army, because of its role as a colonial police force and the organizational characteristics created by its history and national culture, was better able to quickly learn and apply the lessons of counterinsurgency during the course of the Malayan Emergency.
With a new preface reflecting on the author's combat experience in Iraq, Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife is a timely examination of the lessons of previous counterinsurgency campaigns that will be hailed by both military leaders and interested civilians.
In Lost Modernities, Alexander Woodside offers an overview of the bureaucratic politics of preindustrial China, Vietnam, and Korea. He focuses on the political and administrative theory of the three mandarinates and their long experimentation with governments recruited in part through meritocratic civil service examinations. This book removes modernity from a standard Eurocentric understanding and offers a unique new perspective on the transnational nature of Asian history.
Mansfield and Vietnam: A Study in Rhetorical Adaptation is the first major work to examine the role played by Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield, Democrat from Montana, in the formulation and execution of U.S. Vietnam policy. Drawing upon material from the Mansfield Papers, personal interviews, public speeches, and recently declassified documents, Olson traces Mansfield's journey from ardent supporter of Diem in the late 1950s to quiet critic of LBJ in the mid-1960s, and finally, to outspoken opponent of the Vietnam War in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Olson focuses his attention on Mansfield's speaking ability and his use of the written word, analyzing the ways in which they proved crucial in shaping the policies of the Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Ford presidential administrations. He also examines the way personal and political situations converged to force Mansfield into the center of the stormy Vietnam controversy, and eventually into a position of leadership in the campaign to end America's military presence in Southeast Asia. To date, little has been done to evaluate the roles played by key congressional figures in the Vietnam War debate; thus, Mansfield and Vietnam is bound to become a significant contribution, not only to rhetorical studies, but also to twentieth-century diplomatic history and to the study of congressional-presidential relations.
No matter when or where they are fought, all wars have one thing in common: a relentless progression to monuments and memorials for the dead. Likewise all art made from war begins and ends in mourning and remembrance. In The Mourner's Song, James Tatum offers incisive discussions of physical and literary memorials constructed in the wake of war, from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to the writings of Stephen Crane, Edmund Wilson, Tim O'Brien, and Robert Lowell.
Tatum's touchstone throughout is the Iliad, not just one of the earliest war poems, but also one of the most powerful examples of the way poetry can be a tribute to and consolation for what is lost in war. Reading the Iliad alongside later works inspired by war, Tatum reveals how the forms and processes of art convert mourning to memorial. He examines the role of remembrance and the distance from war it requires; the significance of landscape in memorialization; the artifacts of war that fire the imagination; the intimate relationship between war and love and its effects on the ferocity with which soldiers wage battle; and finally, the idea of memorialization itself. Because all survivors suffer the losses of war, Tatum's is a story of both victims and victors, commanders and soldiers, women and men. Photographs of war memorials in Vietnam, France, and the United States beautifully augment his testimonials.
Eloquent and deeply moving, The Mourner's Song will speak to anyone interested in the literature of war and the relevance of the classics to our most pressing contemporary needs.
The image of the drug-addicted American soldier—disheveled, glassy-eyed, his uniform adorned with slogans of antiwar dissent—has long been associated with the Vietnam War. More specifically, it has persisted as an explanation for the U.S. defeat, the symbol of a demoralized army incapable of carrying out its military mission. Yet as Jeremy Kuzmarov documents in this deeply researched book, popular assumptions about drug use in Vietnam are based more on myth than fact. Not only was alcohol the intoxicant of choice for most GIs, but the prevalence of other drugs varied enormously. Although marijuana use among troops increased over the course of the war, for the most part it remained confined to rear areas, and the use of highly addictive drugs like heroin was never as widespread as many imagined. Like other cultural myths that emerged from the war, the concept of an addicted army was first advanced by war hawks seeking a scapegoat for the failure of U.S. policies in Vietnam, in this case one that could be linked to “permissive” liberal social policies and the excesses of the counterculture. But conservatives were not alone. Ironically, Kuzmarov shows, elements of the antiwar movement also promoted the myth, largely because of a presumed alliance between Asian drug traffickers and the Central Intelligence Agency. While this claim was not without foundation, as new archival evidence confirms, the left exaggerated the scope of addiction for its own political purposes. Exploiting bipartisan concern over the perceived “drug crisis,” the Nixon administration in the early 1970s launched a bold new program of federal antidrug measures, especially in the international realm. Initially, the “War on Drugs” helped divert attention away from the failed quest for “peace with honor” in Southeast Asia. But once institutionalized, it continued to influence political discourse as well as U.S. drug policy in the decades that followed.
Like China, Vietnam has one of the world’s fastest growing economies on account of its hybridized "market socialism" that combines elements of its official socialist system with free market capitalism. This special issue examines Vietnam’s current social and economic improvisations as situated in specific local and historical experiences. These essays address the complexities and multiplicities of neoliberal reform agendas, demonstrating that socialist and neoliberal regimes are neither exclusive nor distinct. Contributors draw their conclusions from ethnographic fieldwork in contemporary urban spaces. They link neoliberalism in Vietnam to a set of globally diverse technical practices, institutions, modes of power, and governing strategies; for example, in its shifting currency regimes and its anticorruption campaigns. Contributors also explore the growing emphasis on self-improvement and modernization through studies of architecture, changing beauty standards, and the impact of in vitro fertilization. Biopolitical logics and the self-regulation of moral personhood are also addressed in essays on HIV/AIDS and transnational adoption. The issue highlights the ways in which the socialist past is integral to the present in Vietnam, even as it is remade and newly configured.
Contributors: Erik Harms, Nina Hien, Ann Marie Leshkowich, Li Zhang, Ken MacLean, Alfred John Montoya, Melissa J. Pashigian, Christina Schwenkel, Allison Truitt
Guest editors: Christina Schwenkel (Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of California at Riverside) and Ann Marie Leshkowich (Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, College of the Holy Cross).
Nothing Ever Dies, Viet Thanh Nguyen writes. All wars are fought twice, the first time on the battlefield, the second time in memory. From the author of the bestselling novel The Sympathizer comes a searching exploration of a conflict that lives on in the collective memory of both the Americans and the Vietnamese.
Today Vietnam is one of America’s strongest international partners, with a thriving economy and a population that welcomes American visitors. How that relationship was formed is a twenty-year story of daring diplomacy and a careful thawing of tensions between the two countries after a lengthy war that cost nearly 60,000 American and more than two million Vietnamese lives.
Ted Osius, former ambassador during the Obama Administration, offers a vivid account, starting in the 1990s, of the various forms of diplomacy that made this reconciliation possible. He considers the leaders who put aside past traumas to work on creating a brighter future, including senators John McCain and John Kerry, two Vietnam veterans and ideological opponents who set aside their differences for a greater cause, and Pete Peterson—the former POW who became the first U.S. ambassador to a new Vietnam. Osius also draws upon his own experiences working first-hand with various Vietnamese leaders and traveling the country on bicycle to spotlight the ordinary Vietnamese people who have helped bring about their nation’s extraordinary renaissance.
With a foreword by former Secretary of State John Kerry, Nothing is Impossible tells an inspiring story of how international diplomacy can create a better world.
The lingering aftereffects of the Vietnam War resonate to this day throughout American society: in foreign policy, in attitudes about the military and war generally, and in the contemporary lives of members of the so-called baby boom generation who came of age during the 1960s and early 1970s. While the best-known personal accounts of the war tend to center on the experience of combat, Maureen Ryan’s The Other Side of Grief examines the often overlooked narratives—novels, short stories, memoirs, and films—that document the war’s impact on the home front. In analyzing the accounts of Vietnam veterans, women as well as men, Ryan focuses on the process of readjustment, on how the war continued to insinuate itself into their lives, their families, and their communities long after they returned home. She looks at the writings of women whose husbands, lovers, brothers, and sons served in Vietnam and whose own lives were transformed as a result. She also appraises the experiences of the POWs who came to be embraced as the war’s only heroes; the ordeal of Vietnamese refugees who fled their “American War” to new lives in the United States; and the influential movement created by those who committed themselves to protesting the war. The end result of Ryan’s investigations is a cogent synthesis of the vast narrative literature generated by the Vietnam War and its aftermath. Together those stories powerfully demonstrate how deeply the legacies of the war penetrated American culture and continue to reverberate still.
These stories represent the "second wave" of fiction—works about the aftermath of the Vietnam conflict as it moved into both countries, touching and forever changing not only the veterans, but also their families and their societies. Contributors include John Edgar Wideman, Larry Brown, Robert Olen Butler, Philip Caputo, Bobbie Ann Mason, Ngo Tu Lap, Tim O'Brien, and others.
The International Art Exhibition for Palestine took place in Beirut in 1978 and mobilized international networks of artists in solidarity with anti-imperialist movements of the 1960s and ’70s. In that era, individual artists and artist collectives assembled collections; organized touring exhibitions, public interventions and actions; and collaborated with institutions and political movements. Their aim was to lend support and bring artistic engagement to protests against the ongoing war in Vietnam, the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile, and the apartheid regime in South Africa, and they were aligned in international solidarity for anti-colonial struggles. Past Disquiet brings together contributions from scholars, curators and writers who reflect on these marginalized histories and undertakings that took place in Baghdad, Beirut, Belgrade, Damascus, Paris, Rabat, Tokyo, and Warsaw. The book also offers translations of primary texts and recent interviews with some of the artists involved.
People’s Wars in China, Malaya, and Vietnam explains why some insurgencies collapse after a military defeat while under other circumstances insurgents are able to maintain influence, rebuild strength, and ultimately defeat the government. The author argues that ultimate victory in civil wars rests on the size of the coalition of social groups established by each side during the conflict. When insurgents establish broad social coalitions (relative to the incumbent), their movement will persist even when military defeats lead to loss of control of territory because they enjoy the support of the civilian population and civilians will not defect to the incumbent. By contrast, when insurgents establish narrow coalitions, civilian compliance is solely a product of coercion. Where insurgents implement such governing strategies, battlefield defeats translate into political defeats and bring about a collapse of the insurgency because civilians defect to the incumbent. The empirical chapters of the book consist of six case studies of the most consequential insurgencies of the 20th century including that led by the Chinese Communist Party from 1927 to 1949, the Malayan Emergency (1948–1960), and the Vietnam War (1960–1975). People’s Wars breaks new ground in systematically analyzing and comparing these three canonical cases of insurgency. The case studies of China and Malaya make use of Chinese-language archival sources, many of which have never before been used and provide an unprecedented level of detail into the workings of successful and unsuccessful insurgencies. The book adopts an interdisciplinary approach and will be of interest to both political scientists and historians.
New nations require new histories of their struggles for nationhood. Postcolonial Vietnam takes us back to the 1950s to see how official Vietnamese historians and others rethought what counted as history, what producing history entailed, and who should be included as participants and agents in the story. Beginning with government-appointed historians’ first publications in 1954 and following their efforts over the next thirty years, Patricia M. Pelley surveys this daunting process and, in doing so, opens a wide window on the historical forces and tensions that have gone into shaping the new nation of Vietnam. Although she considers a variety of sources—government directives, census reports, statistics, poetry, civic festivities, ethnographies, and museum displays—Pelley focuses primarily on the work of official historians in Hanoi who argued about and tried to stabilize the meaning of topics ranging from prehistory to the Vietnam War. She looks at their strained and idiosyncratic attempts to plot the Vietnamese past according to Marxist and Stalinist paradigms and their ultimate abandonment of such models. She explores their struggle to redefine Vietnam in multiethnic terms and to normalize the idea of the family-state. Centering on the conversation that began in 1954 among historians in North Vietnam, her work identifies a threefold process of creating the new history: constituting historiographical issues, resolving problems of interpretation and narration, and conventionalizing various elements of the national narrative. As she tracks the processes that shaped the history of postcolonial Vietnam, Pelley dismantles numerous clichés of contemporary Vietnamese history and helps us to understand why and how its history-writing evolved.
In the vast literature on the Vietnam War, much has been written about the antiwar movement and its influence on U.S. policy and politics. In this book, Sandra Scanlon shifts attention to those Americans who supported the war and explores the war’s impact on the burgeoning conservative political movement of the 1960s and early 1970s. Believing the Vietnam War to be a just and necessary cause, the pro-war movement pushed for more direct American military intervention in Southeast Asia throughout the Kennedy administration, lobbied for intensified bombing during the Johnson years, and offered coherent, if divided, endorsements of Nixon’s policies of phased withdrawal. Although its political wing was dominated by individuals and organizations associated with Barry Goldwater’s presidential bids, the movement incorporated a broad range of interests and groups united by a shared antipathy to the New Deal order and liberal Cold War ideology. Appealing to patriotism, conservative leaders initially rallied popular support in favor of total victory and later endorsed Nixon’s call for “peace with honor.” Yet as the war dragged on with no clear end in sight, internal divisions eroded the confidence of pro-war conservatives in achieving their aims and forced them to reevaluate the political viability of their hardline Cold War rhetoric. Conservatives still managed to make use of grassroots patriotic campaigns to marshal support for the war, particularly among white ethnic workers opposed to the antiwar movement. Yet in so doing, Scanlon concludes, they altered the nature and direction of the conservative agenda in both foreign and domestic policy for years to come.
Phu Rieng was one of many French rubber plantations in colonial Vietnam; Tran Tu Binh was one of 17,606 laborers brought to work there in 1927, and his memoir is a straightforward, emotionally searing account of how one Vietnamese youth became involved in revolutionary politics. The connection between this early experience and later activities of the author becomes clear as we learn that Tran Tu Binh survived imprisonment on Con Son island to help engineer the general uprising in Hanoi in 1945.
The Red Earth is the first of dozens of such works by veterans of the 1924–45 struggle in Vietnam to be published in English translation. It is important reading for all those interested in the many-faceted history of modern Vietnam and of communism in the non-Western world.
In Return Engagements artist and critic Việt Lê examines contemporary art in Cambodia and Việt Nam to rethink the entwinement of militarization, trauma, diaspora, and modernity in Southeast Asian art. Highlighting artists tied to Phnom Penh and Sài Gòn and drawing on a range of visual art as well as documentary and experimental films, Lê points out that artists of Southeast Asian descent are often expected to address the twin traumas of armed conflict and modernization, and shows how desirable art on these themes is on international art markets. As the global art market fetishizes trauma and violence, artists strategically align their work with those tropes in ways that Lê suggests allow them to reinvent such aesthetics and discursive spaces. By returning to and refashioning these themes, artists such as Tiffany Chung, Rithy Panh, and Sopheap Pich challenge categorizations of “diasporic” and “local” by situating themselves as insiders and outsiders relative to Cambodia and Việt Nam. By doing so, they disrupt dominant understandings of place, time, and belonging in contemporary art.
The once-obscure cuisine of Vietnam is, today, a favorite for many people from East to West. Adapted and modified over thousands of years, it is probably best known as a particularly delicious result of combining traditional southeast Asian cookery with visible outside influences—notably, the crunchy baguette—from its French-occupied past. Drawing on archeological evidence, oral and written histories, and wide-ranging research, Vu Hong Lien tells the complex and surprising history of food in Vietnam. Rice and Baguette traces the prehistoric Việt’s progress from hunter-gathers of mollusks and small animals to sophisticated agriculturalists. The book follows them as they developed new tools and practices to perfect the growing of their crops until rice became a crucial commodity,which then irrevocably changed their diet, lifestyle, and social structure. Along the way, the author shows how Việt cuisine was dramatically influenced by French colonial cookery and products, which introduced a whole new set of ingredients and techniques into Vietnam. Beautifully illustrated throughout and peppered with fascinating historical tales, Rice and Baguette reveals the long journey that Vietnamese food has traveled to become the much-loved cuisine that it is today.
Much of the world’s population inhabits the urban fringe, an area that is neither fully rural nor urban. Hóc Môn, a district that lies along a key transport corridor on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City, epitomizes one of those places. In Saigon’s Edge, Erik Harms explores life in Hóc Môn, putting forth a revealing perspective on how rapid urbanization impacts the people who live at the intersection of rural and urban worlds.
Unlike the idealized Vietnamese model of urban space, Hóc Môn is between worlds, neither outside nor inside but always uncomfortably both. With particular attention to everyday social realities, Harms demonstrates how living on the margin can be both alienating and empowering, as forces that exclude its denizens from power and privilege in the inner city are used to thwart the status quo on the rural edges.
More than a local case study of urban change, Harms’s work also opens a window on Vietnam’s larger turn toward market socialism and the celebration of urbanization—transformations instructively linked to trends around the globe.
The American war in Vietnam was one of the most morally contentious events of the twentieth century, and it produced an extraordinary outpouring of poetry. Yet the complex ethical terrain of the conflict is remarkably underexplored, and the prodigious poetic voice of its American participants remains largely unheard. In A Shadow on Our Hearts, Adam Gilbert rectifies these oversights by utilizing the vast body of soldier-poetry to examine the war's core moral issues.
The soldier-poets provide important insights into the ethical dimensions of their physical and psychological surroundings before, during, and after the war. They also offer profound perspectives on the relationships between American soldiers and the Vietnamese people. From firsthand experiences, they reflect on what it meant to be witnesses, victims, and perpetrators of the war's violence. And they advance an uncompromising vision of moral responsibility that indicts a range of culprits for the harms caused by the conflict. Gilbert explores the powerful and perceptive work of these soldier-poets through the lens of morality and presents a radically alternative, deeply personal, and ethically penetrating account of the American war in Vietnam.
For most, the term “public space” conjures up images of large, open areas: community centers for meetings and social events; the ancient Greek agora for political debates; green parks for festivals and recreation. In many of the world’s major cities, however, public spaces like these are not a part of the everyday lives of the public. Rather, business and social lives have always been conducted along main roads and sidewalks. With increasing urban growth and density, primarily from migration and immigration, rights to the sidewalk are being hotly contested among pedestrians, street vendors, property owners, tourists, and governments around the world.
With Sidewalk City, Annette Miae Kim provides the first multidisciplinary case study of sidewalks in a distinctive geographical area. She focuses on Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, a rapidly growing and evolving city that throughout its history, her multicultural residents have built up alternative legitimacies and norms about how the sidewalk should be used. Based on fieldwork over 15 years, Kim developed methods of spatial ethnography to overcome habitual seeing, and recorded both the spatial patterns and the social relations of how the city’s vibrant sidewalk life is practiced.
In Sidewalk City, she transforms this data into an imaginative array of maps, progressing through a primer of critical cartography, to unveil new insights about the importance and potential of this quotidian public space. This richly illustrated and fascinating study of Ho Chi Minh City’s sidewalks shows us that it is possible to have an aesthetic sidewalk life that is inclusive of multiple publics’ aspirations and livelihoods, particularly those of migrant vendors.
Six Vietnamese Poets brings together for the first time the works of six writers, three women and three men, who came of age during the American War in Vietnam. In their verse, contemporary readers discover the richness and diversity of Vietnamese life and literature from a bold range of poetic styles, from free verse to romantic lyric to traditional classic Vietnamese forms. This bilingual edition features poets from North and South, men and women, combat soldiers and poet-soldiers writing of life in Vietnam through the turbulent final four decades of the twentieth century.
Speaking to the Heart
After a long night up writing poems,
a streak of sunlight leapt into my room.
I ran to the yard,
running as if I were a child,
footprints breaking the earth's first dew,
chest brushing softly the short grass.
Earth and sky seeped into me like wine.
I saw my heart in the shape of a ploughshare<
resting on the earth's shoulder,
the heart thumping, steadily ploughing into time.
What were the catalysts that motivated Mexican American youth to enlist or readily accept their draft notices in World War II, Korea, or Vietnam? In Soldados Razos at War, historian and veteran Steven Rosales chronicles the experiences of Chicano servicemen who fought for the United States, explaining why these men served, how they served, and the impact of their service on their identity and political consciousness.
As a social space imbued with its own martial and masculine ethos, the U.S. military offers an ideal way to study the aspirations and behaviors that carried over into the civilian lives of these young men. A tradition of martial citizenship forms the core of the book. Using rich oral histories and archival research, Rosales investigates the military’s transformative potential with a particular focus on socioeconomic mobility, masculinity, and postwar political activism across three generations.
The national collective effort characteristic of World War II and Korea differed sharply from the highly divisive nature of American involvement in Vietnam. Thus, for Mexican Americans, military service produced a wide range of ideological reactions, with the ideals of each often in opposition to the others. Yet a critical thread connecting these diverse outcomes was a redefined sense of self and a willingness to engage in individual and collective action to secure first-class citizenship.
Songs for the Spirits examines the Vietnamese practice of communing with spirits through music and performance. During rituals dedicated to a pantheon of indigenous spirits, musicians perform an elaborate sequence of songs--a "songscape"--for possessed mediums who carry out ritual actions, distribute blessed gifts to disciples, and dance to the music's infectious rhythms. Condemned by French authorities in the colonial period and prohibited by the Vietnamese Communist Party in the late 1950s, mediumship practices have undergone a strong resurgence since the early 1990s, and they are now being drawn upon to promote national identity and cultural heritage through folklorized performances of rituals on the national and international stage.
By tracing the historical trajectory of traditional music and religion since the early twentieth century, this groundbreaking study offers an intriguing account of the political transformation and modernization of cultural practices over a period of dramatic and often turbulent transition. An accompanying DVD contains numerous video and music extracts that illustrate the fascinating ways in which music evokes the embodied presence of spirits and their gender and ethnic identities.
Dr. Nguyen Anh Tuan, former Minister of Finance of the Republic of South Vietnam, addresses a common perception of Vietnam: that South Vietnam was a fragmented society which did not deserve to succeed because of its internal weaknesses. According to Tuan, however, South Vietnam in the last decade of its life developed considerable governmental cohesion and internal social strength. Before the final failure of will, the South and its defenders were well on the way to becoming a viable society that had managed with American assistance to lift itself by its bootstraps to the point to economic take-off. Tuan argues that South Vietnam’s fall was not inevitable. This controversial book will be of great interest to all those concerned with the Vietnamese experience during the period 1954-1975.
A Marine’s highly personal memoir reliving the hellish days of a pivotal conflict of the Vietnam War
Con Thien, located only two miles from the demilitarized zone dividing North and South Vietnam, was a United States Marine Corps firebase that was the scene of fierce combat for months on end during 1967. Staving off attacks and ambushes while suffering from ineffectual leadership from Washington as well as media onslaughts, courageous American Marines protected this crucial piece of land at all costs. They would hold Con Thien, but many paid the ultimate price. By the end of the war, more than 1,400 Marines had died and more than 9,000 sustained injuries defending the “Hill of Angels.”
For eight months, James P. Coan’s five-tank platoon was assigned to Con Thien while attached to various Marine infantry battalions. A novice second lieutenant at the time, the author kept a diary recording the thoughts, fears, and frustrations that accompanied his life on “The Hill.” Time in the Barrel: A Marine’s Account of the Battle for Con Thien offers an authentic firsthand account of the daily nightmare that was Con Thien. An enticing and fascinating read featuring authentic depictions of combat, it allows readers to fully grasp the enormity of the fierce struggle for Con Thien.
The defenders of Con Thien were bombarded with hundreds of rounds of incoming rockets, mortars, and artillery that pounded the beleaguered outpost daily. Monsoon downpours turned the red laterite clay soil into a morass of oozing mud, flooded bunkers and trenches, and made Con Thien a living hell. .Being at Con Thien came to be ruefully referred to by the Marines stationed there as "time in the barrel” because they were targets as easy as fish in a barrel.
More than a retelling of military movements, Coan’s engrossing narratives focus on the sheer sacrifice and misery of one Marine’s experience in Vietnam. Through his eyes, we experience the abysmal conditions the Marines endured, from monsoon rainstorms to the constant threat of impending attack. Climatic moments in history are captured through the rare, personal perspective of one particularly astute and observant participant.
In Tours of Vietnam, Scott Laderman demonstrates how tourist literature has shaped Americans’ understanding of Vietnam and projections of United States power since the mid-twentieth century. Laderman analyzes portrayals of Vietnam’s land, history, culture, economy, and people in travel narratives, U.S. military guides, and tourist guidebooks, pamphlets, and brochures. Whether implying that Vietnamese women were in need of saving by “manly” American military power or celebrating the neoliberal reforms Vietnam implemented in the 1980s, ostensibly neutral guides have repeatedly represented events, particularly those related to the Vietnam War, in ways that favor the global ambitions of the United States.
Tracing a history of ideological assertions embedded in travel discourse, Laderman analyzes the use of tourism in the Republic of Vietnam as a form of Cold War cultural diplomacy by a fledgling state that, according to one pamphlet published by the Vietnamese tourism authorities, was joining the “family of free nations.” He chronicles the evolution of the Defense Department pocket guides to Vietnam, the first of which, published in 1963, promoted military service in Southeast Asia by touting the exciting opportunities offered by Vietnam to sightsee, swim, hunt, and water-ski. Laderman points out that, despite historians’ ongoing and well-documented uncertainty about the facts of the 1968 “Hue Massacre” during the National Liberation Front’s occupation of the former imperial capital, the incident often appears in English-language guidebooks as a settled narrative of revolutionary Vietnamese atrocity. And turning to the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City, he notes that, while most contemporary accounts concede that the United States perpetrated gruesome acts of violence in Vietnam, many tourists and travel writers still dismiss the museum’s display of that record as little more than “propaganda.”
Vietnamese diasporic relations affect—and are directly affected by—events in Viet Nam. In Transnationalizing Viet Nam, Kieu-Linh Caroline Valverde explores these connections, providing a nuanced understanding of this globalized community. Valverde draws on 250 interviews and almost two decades of research to show the complex relationship between Vietnamese in the diaspora and those back at the homeland.
In the series Asian American History and Culture, edited by Sucheng Chan, David Palumbo-Liu, Michael Omi, K. Scott Wong, and Linda Trinh Võ
A Trauma Artist examines how O'Brien's works variously rewrite his own traumatization during the war in Vietnam as a never-ending fiction that paradoxically "recovers" personal experience by both recapturing and (re)disguising it. Mark Heberle considers O'Brien's career as a writer through the prisms of post-traumatic stress disorder, postmodernist metafiction, and post-World War II American political uncertainties and public violence.
Based on recent conversations with O'Brien, previously published interviews, and new readings of all his works through 1999, this book is the first study to concentrate on the role and representation of trauma as the central focus of all O'Brien's works, whether situated in Vietnam, in post-Vietnam America, or in the imagination of protagonists suspended between the two. By doing so, Heberle redefines O'Brien as a major U.S. writer of the late twentieth century whose representations of self-damaging experiences and narratives of recovery characterize not only the war in Vietnam but also relationships between fathers and sons and men and women in the post-traumatic culture of the contemporary United States.
Hans Magnus Enzensberger Seagull Books, 2016 Library of Congress PT2609.N9Z46 2014
Hans Magnus Enzensberger, widely regarded as Germany’s greatest living poet, was already well known in the 1960s, the tempestuous decade of which Tumult is an autobiographical record. Derived from old papers, notes, jottings, photos, and letters that the poet stumbled upon years later in his attic, the volume is not so much about the man, but rather the many places he visited and people whom he met on his travels through the Soviet Union and Cuba during the 1960s.
The book is made up of four longform pieces written from 1963 to 1970, each episode concluding with a poem and postscript written in 2014. Tumult is based on Enzensberger’s personal experience as a left-wing sympathizer during that tumultuous decade and focuses on political events and their participants. Translated by Mike Mitchell, the book is a lively and deftly written travelogue offering a glimpse into the history of leftist thought. Dedicated to “those who disappeared,” Tumult is a document of that which remains one of humanity’s headiest times.
“Enzensberger is the most important postwar writer you have never read.”—London Review of Books
Viet Nam: Borderless Histories
Edited by Nhung Tuyet Tran and Anthony Reid University of Wisconsin Press, 2006 Library of Congress DS556.5.V544 2006 | Dewey Decimal 959.7
Moving beyond past histories of Viet Nam that have focused on nationalist struggle, this volume brings together work by scholars who are re-examining centuries of Vietnamese history. Crossing borders and exploring ambiguities, the essays in Viet Nam: Borderless Histories draw on international archives and bring a range of inventive analytical approaches to the global, regional, national, and local narratives of Vietnamese history. Among the topics explored are the extraordinary diversity between north and south, lowland and highland, Viet and minority, and between colonial, Chinese, Southeast Asian, and dynastic influences. The result is an exciting new approach to Southeast Asia's past that uncovers the complex and rich history of Viet Nam.
“A wonderful introduction to the exciting work that a new generation of scholars is engaging in.”—Liam C. Kelley, International Journal of Asian Studies
A collection of essays written on twentieth-century Vietnamese society, Viêt Nam Exposé is one of only a handful of books written by French scholars for an English-speaking audience. The volume is multidisciplinary and represents a new trend in Vietnamese studies that addresses issues beyond politics, wars, and violence, exploring the complexity of more subtle power relationships in Vietnamese society.
The book is divided into three parts. Part I, "Vietnamese Society in the Early Twentieth Century," takes a micro approach to the study of Vietnamese society on the eve of the irreversible social transformation that occurred as the colonial infrastructure took root in Indochina. Part II, "Vietnamese Intellectuals: Contesting Colonial Power," contains biographical accounts of Vietnamese intellectuals who tried to reform their society under colonial domination. Part III, "Post-Colonial Vietnam: From Welfare State to Market-Oriented Economy," traces Vietnam's search for a viable economic model while maintaining itself as a socialist state.
The book speaks to diverse themes, including the nature of village life, the development of health care during the colonial era, the status of women, the role of Vietnamese intellectuals in the anticolonial struggle, the building of a socialist state, contemporary rural migration, labor relations, and Vietnam in an age of globalization.
Gisele Bousquet is Research Associate at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley. Pierre Brocheux is Maître de Conference of History, Université Denis Diderot-Paris VII.
Named a Choice Reviews Outstanding Academic Title for 2017
During his twenty-year tenure as a columnist for Việt Nam News, Hà Nội's English-language newspaper, Hữu Ngọc charmed and invigorated an international readership hungry for straightforward but elegant entrees into understanding Vietnamese culture. The essays were originally collected in the massive Wandering through Vietnamese Culture. With Viet Nam: Tradition and Change, Ohio University Press presents a selection from these many treasures, which are perfectly suited to students of Vietnamese culture and travelers seeking an introduction to the country’s rich history, culture, and daily life.
With extraordinary linguistic ability and a prodigious memory, Hữu Ngọc is among Việt Nam’s keenest observers of and writers about traditional Vietnamese culture and recent history. The author’s central theme—that all tradition is change through acculturation—twines through each of the book’s ten sections, which contain Hữu Ngọc’s ideas on Vietnamese religion, literature, history, exemplary figures, and more. Taken on its own, each brief essay is an engaging discussion of key elements of Vietnamese culture and the history of an issue confronting Việt Nam today.
The conflict that Americans call the "Vietnam War" was only one of many incursions into Vietnam by foreign powers. However, it has had a profound effect on the Vietnamese people who left their homeland in the years following the fall of Saigon in 1975. Collected here are fifteen first-person narratives written by refugees who left Vietnam as children and later enrolled as students at the University of California, where they studied with the well-known scholar and teacher Sucheng Chan. She has provided a comprehensive introduction to their autobiographical accounts, which succinctly encompasses more than a thousand years of Vietnamese history. The volume concludes with a thorough bibliography and videography compiled by the editor.While the volume is designed specifically for today's college students, its compelling stories and useful history will appeal to all readers who want to know more about Vietnam and especially about the fates of children who emigrated to the U.S.
Like the majority of children living in the global South today, a large number of Vietnamese youths work to help support their families. International human rights organizations have focused on these children, seeking to bring their lives into line with an understanding of childhood that is generally accepted in the developed world.
In this ethnographic study, Rachel Burr draws on her daily observations of working children in Hanoi and argues that these youngsters are misunderstood by the majority of agencies that seek to help them. Most aid programs embrace a model of childhood that is based on Western notions of individualism and bountiful resources. They further assume that this model is universally applicable even in cultures that advocate a collective sense of self and in countries that do not share the same economic advantages.
Burr presents the voices and experiences of Vietnamese children in the streets, in a reform school, and in an orphanage to show that workable solutions have become lost within the rhetoric propagated by aid organizations. The reality of providing primary education or adequate healthcare for all children, for instance, does not stand a chance of being achieved until adequate resources are put in place. Yet, organizations preoccupied with the child rights agenda are failing to acknowledge the distorted global distribution of wealth in favor of Western nations.
Offering a unique, firsthand look at the experiences of children in contemporary Vietnam, this book also provides a broad analysis of how internationally led human rights agendas are often received at the local level.
In Vietnam, the American government vowed to win the “hearts and minds” of the people. On the other side, among those who led and sympathized with the insurgents, the term “people’s war” gained a wide currency. Yet while much has been written about those who professed to speak for the Vietnamese population, we know surprisingly little about the everyday life of the peasants who made up the bulk of the country’s inhabitants. This book illuminates that subject. Drawing on a wide range of sources, including interviews conducted by the Rand Corporation with informants from My Tho Province in the Mekong Delta, David Hunt brings to light the daily experience of villagers in the midst of war and revolution.The peasants of southern Vietnam were neither onlookers nor mere victims as fighting raged throughout their country. From the “concerted uprising” in 1959–1960 to the Tet Offensive of 1968, the revolutionary movement they created was in fact the driving force within the war. Known as the “Viet Cong” to their adversaries, the rebels called themselves the “Liberation Front.” They demanded an end to landlordism and an egalitarian distribution of the means of subsistence as well as a democratization of relations between town and countryside, parents and children, men and women. They hoped the Vietnamese people would achieve a fuller sense of their place in the world and of the power they possessed to fashion their own destinies, without reliance on supernatural forces.In the first half of the book, Hunt analyzes this cultural revolution. As fighting spread and became more destructive, especially after the U.S. escalation in 1965, villagers were driven from their homes, the rural infrastructure collapsed, and customary notions of space and time lost purchase on an increasingly chaotic world. In the second half of the book, Hunt shows how peasants, who earlier had aspired to a kind of revolutionary modernism, now found themselves struggling to survive and to cope with the American intruders who poured into My Tho, and how they managed to regroup and spearhead the Tet Offensive that irrevocably altered the course of the war.
When costly efforts to cement a strategic partnership with the Soviet Union failed, the combined political pressure of economic crisis at home and imminent external threats posed by a Sino-Cambodian alliance compelled Hanoi to reverse course. Moving away from the Marxist-Leninist ideology that had prevailed during the last decade of the Cold War era, the Vietnamese government implemented broad doi moi ("renovation") reforms intended to create a peaceful regional environment for the country's integration into the global economy.
In contrast to earlier studies, Path traces the moving target of these changing policy priorities, providing a vital addition to existing scholarship on asymmetric wartime decision-making and alliance formation among small states. The result uncovers how this critical period had lasting implications for the ways Vietnam continues to conduct itself on the global stage.
Over the last decade, infectious disease outbreaks have heightened fears of a catastrophic pandemic passing from animals to humans. From Ebola and bird flu to swine flu and MERS, zoonotic viruses are killing animals and wreaking havoc on the people living near them. Given this clear correlation between animals and viral infection, why are animals largely invisible in social science accounts of pandemics, and why do they remain marginal in critiques of global public health?
In Viral Economies, Natalie Porter draws from long-term research on bird flu in Vietnam to chart the pathways of scientists, NGO workers, state veterinarians, and poultry farmers as they define and address pandemic risks. Porter argues that as global health programs expand their purview to include life and livestock, they weigh the interests of public health against those of commercial agriculture, rural tradition, and scientific innovation. Porter challenges human-centered analyses of pandemics and shows how dynamic and often dangerous human-animal relations take on global significance as poultry and their pathogens travel through global livestock economies and transnational health networks. Viral Economies urges readers to think critically about the ideas, relationships, and practices that produce our everyday commodities, and that shape how we determine the value of life—both human and nonhuman.
Voices from Vietnam
Michael E. Stevens Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 1996 Library of Congress DS559.5.V65 1996 | Dewey Decimal 959.70438
An unforgettable collection of 174 letters and diary entries written by 92 wisconsin men and women who served in Vietnam. Includes a journal kept by Menasha native Frederic Flom on cigarette wrappers during his final 16 days of captivity — the only known diary smuggled out by a Vietnam prisoner of war.
In Warring Visions, Thy Phu explores photography from dispersed communities throughout Vietnam and the Vietnamese diaspora, both during and after the Vietnam War, to complicate narratives of conflict and memory. While the visual history of the Vietnam War has been dominated by American documentaries and war photography, Phu turns to photographs circulated by the Vietnamese themselves, capturing a range of subjects, occasions, and perspectives. Phu's concept of warring visions refers to contrasts in the use of war photos in North Vietnam, which highlighted national liberation and aligned itself with an international audience, and those in South Vietnam, which focused on family and everyday survival. Phu also uses warring visions to enlarge the category of war photography, a genre that usually consists of images illustrating the immediacy of combat and the spectacle of violence, pain, and wounded bodies. She pushes this genre beyond such definitions by analyzing pictures of family life, weddings, and other quotidian scenes of life during the war. Phu thus expands our understanding of how war is waged, experienced, and resolved.
In The Weekly War, James Landers provides the first in-depth investigation of how the three major newsmagazines—Newsweek, Time, and U.S. News & World Report—covered the Vietnam War and the impact their coverage had on the American public, presidents, and policymakers. From March 1965 through January 1973 these magazines reached nearly one-third of adult Americans—second only to news programs on network television. Despite the popular impression that this was primarily a “television war,” the newsmagazines played a prominent role in informing the public about warfare and war policy.
While television reporting provided a here-and-now version of events, these magazines published articles that combined on-the-scene coverage with analysis and commentary. Because these publications worked on a more leisurely weekly deadline as opposed to the daily deadlines of television or newspapers, they were able to provide distinct perspectives on the week’s events, along with factual material. The writing was typically more vivid and detailed than that of newspapers, and the occasional use of color photographs contributed to the impact of the stories.
Each magazine had its own niche and distinct editorial style: Newsweek provided a mainstream liberal perspective, while Time took a more conservative viewpoint and U.S. News & World Report had an ultraconservative outlook. The editors of each magazine aimed to reach like-minded readers, knowing full well that a reader who disliked one magazine could simply switch to another. Landers demonstrates how public-opinion shifts during the war forced the newsmagazines, especially Time, to change too.
This book reflects a thorough examination of roughly nine hundred articles on the Vietnam War published by the three major newsmagazines. Landers also gathered documents from the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Richard M. Nixon Presidential Materials Project to reveal the attention paid to the newsmagazines by presidents and policymakers and their attempts to influence or manipulate coverage.
In addition to making a major contribution to the history of print journalism, The Weekly War complements scholarship on television news coverage of the Vietnam War. This volume will appeal to students and teachers of history and journalism, as well as the general reader interested in a unique view of the Vietnam War.
Nearly 1,600 Americans who took part in the Vietnam War are still missing and presumed dead. Sarah Wagner tells the stories of those who mourn and continue to search for them. Today’s forensic science can identify remains from mere traces, raising expectations for repatriation and forcing a new reckoning with the toll of America’s most fraught war.
Wild Mustard: New Voices from Vietnam
Edited by Charles Waugh, Nguyen Lien, and Van Giá Northwestern University Press, 2017 Library of Congress PL4378.82.E5W55 2017 | Dewey Decimal 895.9223408
Wild Mustard, an anthology of prizewinning short fiction by contemporary Vietnamese writers, throws into relief the transformations of self and place that followed Vietnam’s turn toward a market economy. In just three decades, since the 1986 policy known as doi moi (renovation) ended collectivization and integrated Vietnam into world markets, the country has transformed from one of the poorest and most isolated on earth into a dynamic global economy. The nineteen stories in this volume capture the kaleidoscopic experiences of Vietnam's youth, navigating between home and newly expanded horizons, as they seek new opportunities through migration, education, and integration not only into their nation but into the world.
In the tradition of the "Under 40" collections popularized by magazines such as the New Yorker and Granta, but with greater stakes and greater differences between the previous generation of writers and this new one, Wild Mustard seeks to change how North American readers think of Vietnam. Escaping the common fixation on the Vietnam War and its aftermath, these stories reflect the movement and dynamism of the young Vietnamese who locate themselves amid the transnational encounters and proliferating identities of a global economy.
A World Transformed looks at the Vietnamese revolution from the perspective of Vietnamese culture itself rather than as a reaction to the Cold War or to the actions of external enemies. Kim N. B. Ninh explores the complex debates within Vietnamese society about the self, culture, and national identity. She shows how a collective sense of the nation's weakness united communists and many intellectuals, who looked to the establishment of a socialist state to offer both the ideology and the organization that would encourage the emergence of a modern, independent, postcolonial Vietnam.
The study covers the period from the Vietnamese communists' initial ascent to power in 1945 to the beginning of the escalation of the American involvement in the country's conflict in 1965, by which time a full-fledged socialist state had been in place in North Vietnam for eleven years. Through a nuanced examination of critical intellectual works, A World Transformed presents a complex view of a period fraught with contradictory possibilities and tensions that continue to resonate in Vietnam today. The extensive use of Vietnamese-language materials, access to archival data never before available, and innovative incorporation of literary and historical sources combine to make this study an invaluable depiction of the Vietnamese revolution.
Kim N. B. Ninh is Assistant Director of the Governance, Law, and Civil Society Programs, The Asia Foundation, San Francisco.