A World Transformed: The Politics of Culture in Revolutionary Vietnam, 1945-1965
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.
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