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Publisher's Summary

In Vietnam, Christopher Goscha tells the full history of Vietnam, from antiquity to the present day. Generations of emperors, rebels, priests, and colonizers left complicated legacies in this remarkable country. Periods of Chinese, French, and Japanese rule reshaped and modernized Vietnam, but so too did the colonial enterprises of the Vietnamese themselves as they extended their influence southward from the Red River Delta.

Over the centuries, numerous kingdoms, dynasties, and states have ruled over what is now Vietnam. Trinh and Nguyen military lords led competing states in the 17th century. French colonizers grouped Vietnam with Laos and Cambodia in an Indochinese Union, but governed Vietnam itself as three separate territorial units. The bloody Cold War-era and the American-backed Republic of Vietnam was only the most recent instance when war divided and transformed Vietnam.

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

©2016 Christopher Goscha (P)2017 Tantor
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic Reviews

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

What listeners say about Vietnam

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Kp
  • 08-06-18

Not bad, but not great.

I really want to like this book. This is literally the only book available on Audible that divorces Vietnamese history from the Vietnam War. The author does a great job documenting the events of the 20th century, but severely lacks the pre-colonization period (despite claiming to detail an antiquity period in the Forward). The narrator makes the story so much worst. I love Kirby's performances in other books, but he has such a hard time pronouncing both Vietnamese and French names. For example, he pronounces Phan Boi Chau as "Fan Boy Chao" and I kept imagining a 20-year old Playstation/Xbox fanboy. That made it definitely difficult to think of Phan as a revolutionary nationalist.

12 people found this helpful

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Vietnam: A new history

This book gives a detailed account of the history of Vietnam from its ancient time to the modern day. Ironically, Vietnam has long been a subject of colonization of China and France; but it also is a colonizer of other weaker empires in the south such as Champa and Kh'mer. Many critical moments of Vietnam history are being told in this 23-hour audiobook - from the events leading to the Trưng's Sisters revolt in the 2nd century CE to the establishment of the Lý's, Trần's, Lê's dynasties; from the southward movement of the Nguyễn's lord to the conflicts between the France colonist and its puppet emperor Bảo Đại, the authoritarian regime of Ngô Đình Diệm, to the rise of Hồ Chí Minh. This book also offers captivating details of what gave rise to a plurality of the many ethnic minorities living in the highland Vietnam today to the atrocities inflicted on the Vietnamese people first by the Indochina War then the Vietnam War. Vietnam today nonetheless is on the path of transformation socially and economically although many aspects of its people's political life are still being undermined by the Communist Party in order to protect its power and interests. In short, this book is long but informative, and is recommended for those who have a keen interest to learn and/or want to deepen their knowledge about Vietnam.

4 people found this helpful

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Narrator in over his head

Can we please make a rule that the narrator of a historical work must speak at least one of the languages that is prominent in the historical work? This narrator has no sense of Vietnamese or Chinese and pronounces things so poorly it is grating.
The book itself is solid. It’s a thoughtful modern take on Vietnamese history that try’s to view a broader Vietnamese history not just in the context of various colonizations. Bravo for that.
If you don’t have a sense of Chinese or Vietnamese pronunciation you will probably think the narrator is fine.

2 people found this helpful

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Bad pronunciation

This person is not suitable to read Vietnamese names. At least spend some time to do research on how to pronounce the names correctly. Some of the names sound offensive like Phuc needs to be read correctly. Such a nice name should not be made fun by listeners just because the reader is ignorant.

1 person found this helpful

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  • CC
  • 12-09-19

Great content, terrible “performance”/pronunciations

Loved the content and post-modern view of Vietnam’s history. At some points, post-modern to a fault, but consistently and well delivered arc.

Performance and pronunciations were awkward and poorly researched for not only Vietnamese pronunciations but English and other language pronunciations, particularly names but also odd and otherwise off-putting pronunciations (not pronouncing the “ua” in bilingual as a diphthong as an example). Had I not been determined to complete ahead of a trip to Vietnam, it would have been difficult for me to come back to complete the audio recording.

1 person found this helpful

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interesting and thorough

I had no idea how complex the late 1970s were for Vietnam. The author clearly explains the global forces that came together to isolate Vietnam.

1 person found this helpful

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A great overview of the fascinating nation

I appreciate the author giving different views of Vietnam and it's history! past/present - future

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Great Book

After having read many books on Vietnam through a French or American lens, I was delighted to get a more local perspective.

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Insightful, Entertaining, Well-researched!

Sooo interesting! This book is so well-researched and so incredibly interesting I listened to this Audible Book version twice and then read the hard copy.

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Excellent material, excellent presentation.

Excellent material and excellent presentation. I appreciate the wealth of information and a very engaging reading. Thanks!