The Penguin History of Modern Vietnam

By Pham, Chi P. | Southeast Asian Studies, April 2018 | Go to article overview

The Penguin History of Modern Vietnam


Pham, Chi P., Southeast Asian Studies


The Penguin History of Modern Vietnam CHRISTOPHER GOSCHA London: Allen Lane, an imprint of Penguin Books, 2016.

The Penguin History of Modern Vietnam by Christopher Goscha traces the story of modern Vietnamese nationbuilding back thousands of years. The titles of its 14 chapters cover in chronological order events that are commonly seen as milestones in the forming of modern Vietnam: Chinese invasion (Chapter 1, "Northern Configurations"), French colonization (Chapter 2, "A Divided House and a French Imperial Meridian Line?"; Chapter 3, "Altered States"; Chapter 4, "Rethinking Vietnam"; Chapter 5, "The Failure of Colonial Republicanism"; and Chapter 6, "Colonial Society and Economy"), the First Indochina War (Chapter 7, "Contesting Empires and Nation-states"; Chapter 8, "States of War"; and Chapter 9, "Internationalized States of War"), the Vietnam War (Chapter 10, "A Tale of Two Republics"; and Chapter 11, "Towards One Vietnam"), and stories of a unified Vietnam (Chapter 12, "Cultural Change in the Long Twentieth Century"; Chapter 13, "The Tragedy and the Rise of Modern Vietnam"; and Chapter 14, "Vietnam from Beyond the Red River"). Nevertheless, amidst a wide range of scholarship about the history of modern Vietnam, Goscha's The Penguin History of Modern Vietnam is unique in constantly stressing on the multiplicity of modern Vietnam's past. Thus, it implicitly criticizes contemporary scholarship on Vietnamese history that has been produced under postcolonial theory and criticism by foreign scholars and under nationalist historiography by Communist Vietnamese historians.

Throughout the book Goscha uses synonyms for the word "multiplicity," such as "plurality," "diversity," and "heterogeneity," typical terms of postmodern literature, to highlight his vision of "multiple Vietnams." Moreover, the author explicitly states in "Introduction: The Many Different Vietnams" that "rather than positing one Vietnam, one homogenous people, one history, one modernity, or even one colonialism, this book investigates modern Vietnam's past through its multiple forms and impressive diversity" (p. xxx). Accordingly, as presented in the book, the history of Vietnam includes a series of interlocking forces and people; they occurred and acted at specific points in time and space, each generating its own range of possibilities and eliminating others at the same time. As evidence, the author begins his story of Vietnam's past with "a mosaic of a hundred Vietnams" in the open zone running between present-day central Vietnam and South- ern China, where diverse people, routes, and ideas intersected. For thousands of years, as Goscha describes, people arrived in the low-lying Red River basin via the eastern coast and overland; Austroasiatic peoples also arrived in this area by way of Southern China; and the Dong Son civilization, home to vibrantand diverse peoples and cultures, was constantly in rivalry and fragmentation.

Emphasizing pluralism in writing Vietnamese history, the book differentiates itself from existing scholarship about modern Vietnam, which exclusively celebrates the Vietnam of Ho Chi Minh- Vietnam as winner, as Ho Chi Minh, or in general as a Communist nation-state-and Vietnam of Western colonialism-modern Vietnam as the product of only Western colonialism. Instead, the history of Vietnam written by Goscha is derived from the perspectives of the "others" that are largely silenced in official Vietnamese historiography. Goscha calls these perspectives "thoughts of alternatives," which are the perspectives of competitor states and their leaders, with whom Ho Chi Minh's Vietnam had to engage and won over. These others, as shown in the first three pre1858 chapters, include non-Viet peoples; and, as shown in the following five post-1858 chapters, include French Vietnam administered by different French colonialists, the Associated State of Vietnam led by Ngo Dinh Diem, the Republic of Vietnam forged by different presidents, and highland Vietnams managed by different men. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

The Penguin History of Modern Vietnam
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.