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Publications in english language

par VLC - 27 juin 2013

Keith W. Taylor, A History of the Vietnamese, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2013, 696 p.

The history of Vietnam prior to the nineteenth century is rarely examined in any detail. In this groundbreaking work, K. W. Taylor takes up this challenge, addressing a wide array of topics from the earliest times to the present day – including language, literature, religion and warfare – and themes – including Sino-Vietnamese relations, the interactions of the peoples of different regions within the country, and the various forms of government adopted by the Vietnamese throughout their history.

A History of the Vietnamese is based on primary source materials, combining a comprehensive narrative with an analysis which endeavors to see the Vietnamese past through the eyes of those who lived it. Taylor questions long-standing stereotypes and clichés about Vietnam, drawing attention to sharp discontinuities in Vietnam’s past. Fluently written and accessible to all readers, this highly original contribution to the study of Southeast Asia is a landmark text for all students and scholars of Vietnam.

Keith W. Taylor is a professor in the Department of Asian Studies at Cornell University. His career began in the U.S. army, where he was deployed in the US-Vietnam War. He has now been researching Vietnam for nearly forty years, and his work has made a fundamental contribution to the field.

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Nick Turse, Kill Anything That Moves. The Real American War in Vietnam, Metropolitan Books, 2013, 384 p.

Based on classified documents and first-person interviews, a startling history of the American war on Vietnamese civilians.

Americans have long been taught that events such as the notorious My Lai massacre were isolated incidents in the Vietnam War, carried out by "a few bad apples." But as award‑winning journalist and historian Nick Turse demonstrates in this groundbreaking investigation, violence against Vietnamese noncombatants was not at all exceptional during the conflict. Rather, it was pervasive and systematic, the predictable consequence of orders to "kill anything that moves."

Drawing on more than a decade of research in secret Pentagon files and extensive interviews with American veterans and Vietnamese survivors, Turse reveals for the first time how official policies resulted in millions of innocent civilians killed and wounded. In shocking detail, he lays out the workings of a military machine that made crimes in almost every major American combat unit all but inevitable. Kill Anything That Moves takes us from archives filled with Washington’s long-suppressed war crime investigations to the rural Vietnamese hamlets that bore the brunt of the war ; from boot camps where young American soldiers learned to hate all Vietnamese to bloodthirsty campaigns like Operation Speedy Express, in which a general obsessed with body counts led soldiers to commit what one participant called "a My Lai a month."

Thousands of Vietnam books later, Kill Anything That Moves, devastating and definitive, finally brings us face‑to‑face with the truth of a war that haunts Americans to this day.

Date de parution : 15/01/2013

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Fredrik Logevall, Embers of War : The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America’s Vietnam, New York, Random House, 2012, 864 p.

The struggle for Vietnam occupies a central place in the history of the twentieth century. Fought over a period of three decades, the conflict drew in all the world’s powers and saw two of them—first France, then the United States—attempt to subdue the revolutionary Vietnamese forces. For France, the defeat marked the effective end of her colonial empire, while for America the war left a gaping wound in the body politic that remains open to this day.

How did it happen ? Tapping into newly accessible diplomatic archives in several nations, Fredrik Logevall, John S. Knight Professor of International Studies at Cornell University traces the path that led two Western nations to lose their way in Vietnam in his latest book entitled Embers of War : The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America’s Vietnam. Embers of War opens in 1919 at the Versailles Peace Conference and concludes in 1959 with a Viet Cong ambush on a U.S. outpost outside Saigon and the deaths of two American officers, whose names would be the first to be carved on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. In between come years of political, military, and diplomatic maneuvering and miscalculation, as leaders on all sides embark on a series of stumbles that makes an eminently avoidable struggle a bloody and interminable reality.

Joining Logevall on the panel is William I. Hitchcock, professor of history at the University of Virginia and John Prados, senior fellow and project director with the National Security Archive at The George Washington University.

Christian F. Ostermann, director of the Wilson Center’s History and Public Policy Program will chair the event.

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Date de parution : 21 août 2012

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Christopher E. Goscha, Going Indochinese : Contesting Concepts of Space and Place in French Indochinese, Copenhagen, NIAS Press, 2012, 176 p.

Why, Benedict Anderson once asked, did Javanese become Indonesian in 1945 whereas the Vietnamese balked at becoming Indochinese ? In this classic study, Goscha shows that Vietnamese of all political colours came remarkably close to building a modern national identity based on the colonial model of Indochina while Lao and Cambodian nationalists rejected this precisely because it represented a Vietnamese entity. Specialists of French colonial, Vietnamese, Southeast Asia and nationalism studies will all find much of value in Goscha’s provocative rethinking of the relationship between colonialism and nationalism in Indochina.

First published in 1995, the revised edition of this remarkable study is augmented with new material by the author and a foreword by Eric Jennings.

Christopher Goscha is Associate Professor of International Relations and Southeast Asian History at the Universite du Quebec a Montreal. He has published widely on cultural, social, political and diplomatic aspects of colonial Indochina and the wars for modern Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. His landmark Historical Dictionary of the Indochina War (1945 - 1954) was published earlier in 2011.

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Date de parution : 30 novembre 2012

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Philippe M. F. Peycam, The Birth of Vietnamese Political Journalism : Saigon 1916-1930, Columbia University Press, 2012, 320 p.

Philippe M. F. Peycam completes the first ever English-language study of Vietnam’s emerging political press and its resistance to colonialism. Published in the decade that preceded the Communist Party’s founding, this journalistic phenomenon established a space for public, political contestation that fundamentally changed Vietnamese attitudes and the outlook of Southeast Asia.

Peycam directly links Saigon’s colonial urbanization to the creation of new modes of individual and collective political agency. To better justify their presence, French colonialists implemented a peculiar brand of republican imperialism to encourage the development of a highly controlled print capitalism. Yet the Vietnamese made clever use of this new form of political expression, subverting colonial discourse and putting French rulers on the defensive, while simultaneously stoking Vietnamese aspirations for autonomy. Peycam specifically considers the work of Western-educated Vietnamese journalists who, in their legal writings, called attention to the politics of French rule.

Peycam rejects the notion that Communist and nationalist ideologies changed the minds of "alienated" Vietnamese during this period. Rather, he credits colonial urban modernity with shaping the Vietnamese activist-journalist and the role of the French, even at their most coercive, along with the modern public Vietnamese intellectual and his responsibility toward the group. Countering common research on anticolonial nationalism and its assumptions of ethno-cultural homogeneity, Peycam follows the merging of French republican and anarchist traditions with neo-Confucian Vietnamese behavior, giving rise to modern Vietnamese public activism, its autonomy, and its contradictory aspirations. Interweaving biography with archival newspaper and French police sources, he writes from within these journalists’ changing political consciousness and their shifting perception of social roles.

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Reviews :

Philippe M. F. Peycam’s vivid account makes a unique contribution to contemporary Vietnamese history and colonial studies. Until now, nothing of this scope has been attempted in English. Previous studies of the Vietnamese press have focused on the communist newspaper La Lutte and less systematic samplings of French-sanctioned publications. Peycam instead gives us portraits of writers, publishers, and editors who for months and years put out popular, often financially viable, newspapers to challenge the status quo. He makes judicious use of the reports of the French security police and brings these men and their peculiar mix of French idealism and colonial hypocrisy to life. His portrait of the rapidly changing society of French Indochina’s major entrepôt emphasizes the hybrid nature of Saigon politics with fascinating detail. (Review by Sophie Quinn-Judge, Temple University, author of Ho Chi Minh : The Missing Years).

Date de parution : 1er mai 2012

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Pierre Brocheux & Daniel Hémery, Indochina : An Ambiguous Colonization, 1858-1954, Berkeley, University of California Press, 2011, 508 p.

Combining new approaches with a groundbreaking historical synthesis, this accessible work is the most thorough and up-to-date general history of French Indochina available in English. Unique in its wide-ranging attention to economic, social, intellectual, and cultural dimensions, it is the first book to treat Indochina’s entire history from its inception in Cochinchina in 1858 to its crumbling at Dien Bien Phu in 1954 and on to decolonization.

Basing their account on original research as well as on the most recent scholarship, Pierre Brocheux and Daniel Hémery tell this story from a perspective that is neither Eurocentric nor nationalistic but that carefully considers the positions of both the colonizers and the colonized. With this approach, they are able to move beyond descriptive history into a rich exploration of the ambiguities and complexities of the French colonial period in Indochina.

Rich in themes and ideas, their account also sheds new light on the national histories of the emerging nation-states of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, making this book essential reading for students, scholars, and general readers interested in the region, in the Vietnam War, or in French imperialism, among other topics.

Date de parution : 1er juin 2011

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Søren Ivarsson, Creating Laos : The Making of a Lao Space between Siam and Indochina, 1860–1945, Copenhagen, NIAS Press, 2008, 238 p.

The existence of Laos today is taken for granted. But the crystallization of Lao national idea and ultimate independence for the country was a long and uncertain process. The book examines the process through which Laos came into existence under French colonial rule through to the end of World War II. Rather than assuming that the Laos we see today was an historical given, the book looks how Laos’s position at the intersection of two conflicting spatial layouts of "Thailand" and "Indochina" made its national form a particularly contested process.

This, however, is not an analysis of nation-building from the perspective of administration and political structure. Rather, the book charts the emergence of a notion of a specifically Lao cultural identity that served to buttress Laos as a separate ‘Lao space’, both in relation to Siam/Thailand and within French Indochina.

Based on an impressive variety of primary sources, many of them never before used in studies of Lao nationalism, this book make a significant contribution to Lao historical studies and to the study of nation-building in Southeast Asia.

Date de parution : 2008

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Review by Brooke Schedneck, Religious Studies Department, Arizona State University :

Nguyen-vo Thu-huong, The Ironies of Freedom. Sex, Culture, and Neoliberal Governance in Vietnam, Seattle, University of Washington Press, 2008, 336 p.

In the late 1980s, Vietnam joined the global economy after decades of war and relative isolation, demonstrating how a former socialist government can adapt to global market forces with their neoliberal emphasis on freedom of choice for entrepreneurs and consumers. The Ironies of Freedom examines an aspect of this new market : commercial sex.

Nguyen-vo offers an ambitious analysis of gender and class conflicts surrounding commercial sex as a site of market freedom, governmental intervention, and depictions in popular culture to argue that these practices reveal the paradoxical nature of neoliberalism. What the case of Vietnam highlights is that governing with current neoliberal globalization may and does take paradoxical forms, sustained not by some vestige from times past but by contemporary conditions.

Of mutual benefit to both the neoliberal global economy and the ruling party in Vietnam is the use of empirical knowledge and entrepreneurial and consumer’s choice differentially among segments of the population to produce different kinds of laborers and consumers for the global market. But also of mutual benefit to both are the police, the prison, and notions of cultural authenticity enabled by a ruling party with well-developed means of coercion from its history.

The freedom-unfreedom pair in governance creates a tension in modes of representation conducive to a new genre of sensational social realism in literature and popular films like the 2003 Bar Girls about two women in the sex trade, replete with nudity, booze, drugs, violence, and death. The movie opened in Vietnam with unprecedented box office receipts, blazing a trail for a commercially viable domestic film industry.

Combining methods and theories from the social sciences and humanities, Nguyen-vo’s analysis relies on fieldwork conducted in Ho Chi Minh City and its vicinity, in-depth interviews with informants, participant observation at selected sites of sexual commerce and governmental intervention, journalistic accounts, and literature and films.

This book will appeal to historians and political scientists of Southeast Asia and to scholars of gender and sexuality, cultural studies, postcolonial studies, and political theory dealing with neoliberalism.

Nguyen-vo Thu-Huong is associate professor of Asian languages and cultures and Asian American studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Date de parution : 2008

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Review :

"The Ironies of Freedom is a path-breaking effort to document the explosive growth and evolving character of commercial sex in contemporary Vietnam and to explain the complex social, cultural, economic, and political significance of this well-known but poorly understood phenomenon. But it operates, as well, as a remarkably sophisticated, lucid, and ambitious attempt to mobilize insights gleaned from the Vietnamese ’case’ to revise influential (post) Marxist and (neo) Foucauldian notions of the relationship between dominant modes of government and the current neoliberal economic order." - Peter Zinoman, University of California, Berkeley.

Qiang Zhai, China and the Vietnam Wars, 1950-1975, Chapel Hill & London, The University of North Carolina Press, 2000, 320 p.

In the quarter century after the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, Beijing assisted Vietnam in its struggle against two formidable foes, France and the United States. Indeed, the rise and fall of this alliance is one of the most crucial developments in the history of the Cold War in Asia. Drawing on newly released Chinese archival sources, memoirs and diaries, and documentary collections, Qiang Zhai offers the first comprehensive exploration of Beijing’s Indochina policy and the historical, domestic, and international contexts within which it developed.

In examining China’s conduct toward Vietnam, Zhai provides important insights into Mao Zedong’s foreign policy and the ideological and geopolitical motives behind it. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, he shows, Mao considered the United States the primary threat to the security of the recent Communist victory in China and therefore saw support for Ho Chi Minh as a good way to weaken American influence in Southeast Asia. In the late 1960s and 1970s, however, when Mao perceived a greater threat from the Soviet Union, he began to adjust his policies and encourage the North Vietnamese to accept a peace agreement with the United States.

Qiang Zhai is professor of history at Auburn University Montgomery in Alabama.

Date de parution : Avril 2000

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David G. Marr, Vietnam 1945 : The Quest for Power, Berkeley, University of California Press, 1995, 602 p.

1945 : the most significant year in the modern history of Vietnam. One thousand years of dynastic politics and monarchist ideology came to an end. Eight decades of French rule lay shattered. Five years of Japanese military occupation ceased. Allied leaders determined that Chinese troops in the north of Indochina and British troops in the South would receive the Japanese surrender. Ho Chi Minh proclaimed the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, with himself as president.

Drawing on extensive archival research, interviews, and an examination of published memoirs and documents, David G. Marr has written a richly detailed and descriptive analysis of this crucial moment in Vietnamese history. He shows how Vietnam became a vortex of intense international and domestic competition for power, and how actions in Washington and Paris, as well as Saigon, Hanoi, and Ho Chi Minh’s mountain headquarters, interacted and clashed, often with surprising results. Marr’s book probes the ways in which war and revolution sustain each other, tracing a process that will interest political scientists and sociologists as well as historians and Southeast Asia specialists.

David G. Marr is Senior Fellow at the Research School of Pacific Studies, Australian National University. He is the author of Vietnamese Anticolonialism, 1885-1925 (California, 1971) and Vietnamese Tradition on Trial, 1920-1945 (California, 1981).

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Entretien en vietnamien sur Tuoi Tre (27/08/2005) :
TS David Marr và cuốn sách Việt Nam 1945


"A winning combination of scholarly tome and readable history. . . . Marr tells this extremely complicated story very well, backing up his sharp analysis with mountains of supporting factual evidence. . . . Meticulous and objective, an indispensable document for understaning the roots of American involvement in Vietnam."—Kirkus Reviews

"Vietnam 1945 is a tour de force by the pre-eminent historian of modern Vietnam. . . . Marr has breathed life into his narrative with anecdotes and vignettes about various colonialists, commanders and nationalists. . . . This detailed approach . . . enables readers to smell the atmosphere of Vietnam in 1945. The author presents a fascinating account of how the Vietnamese nationalists conspired to seize power from the Japanese and confront the machinations of the returning French. . . . Herein lies the beauty of Marr’s account. In weaving a complex narrative featuring a wealth of local and foreign actors who knew only partly what they were about and somewhat less about what was going on, he succeeds in showing that the course of events was neither planned nor well-orchestrated. . . . The author masterfully sketches the tensions between the French, British, and U.S. over the future disposition of Vietnam."—Jeff Kingston, Japan Times

"An indispensable document for understanding the roots of American involvement in Vietnam."—The VVA Veteran

"Drawing on an impressive array of materials in several languages, [Marr] presents a detailed account of that complex phenomenon known to the Vietnamese people as the August Revolution. . . . [A] magnificent book. . . . Marr does what he does best—to weave together a rich and complex tapestry of one of the key periods in the history of modern Vietnam."—Association for Asian Studies Journal

"Finely yet colorfully drawn, Marr’s book methodically and rationally presents a witch’s brew of nationalism, imperialism, and colonialism set against an international background. . . . Scholarly, clearly written, and free of jargon. . . . Highly recommended."—History

"A fascinating, complex, densely detailed account of one crucial year in the history of Vietnam. . . . The book’s greatest strengths are its detail and depth. . . . Based on exhaustive archival research and personal interviews, Vietnam 1945 is a masterpiece of the historian’s craft. Indispensable reading for scholars in the field."—Choice

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