Vietnam

A New History
Narrated by: Kirby Heyborne
Length: 23 hrs and 42 mins
Categories: History, Military
4.5 out of 5 stars (47 ratings)

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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

Critic Reviews

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

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.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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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    5 out of 5 stars
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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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Meh

Three things I want to say. This book isn't a bad book but it's also not as engaging as I was hoping it would be.
1) As someone else pointed out in a review on Audible it is supposed to be a Vietnam history book that isn't just about the Vietnam War but it falls a little short of that. The first 3? hours of the book are ancient history to 19th century. Then the rest of the book is 19th and 20th century. So I wish there was more of the ancient stuff,
2) The names are confusing. Other people have said the narrator is mispronouncing stuff but I wouldn't know. It's just hard to keep track of names if you're not familiar with the culture.
3) If this book has maps in the printed copy it might be better to buy that way instead of audiobook. It's hard to tell where they're talking about without a map open in front of you. I'm not familiar with the territory and the point of an audiobook for me is to be able to do other things while listening. This book I very much had to get on a computer, stare at maps, etc.

Again this isn't a bad book or anything it's just not a great 'beginners' book for Vietnam history, and I really did want more of the ancient history. Even just talking about the lives of the people through the different centuries. Not everything has to be this king or that king. Overall I generally recommend it if you're a fan of history and know nothing of the region like I did.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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long but brilliant

one of the 10 best books about Vietnam, from earliest times to recent times. brilliant.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

interesting but difficult emotionally

The history is eye opening but sometimes it’s difficult to handle more than 15 minutes at a time because of the charged nature.

The narrator was ok but mispronounced all Vietnamese words. He even calls Viet Nam Viet Nom. Every name was butchered.

So this is best if you have the book as well as the audible. They should have gotten a Viet person to read it.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Good history lesson on Vietnam

Good narration through Vietnam's history with much detail. Goes in depth from Vietnam as Chinese tributary to what it is today

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Read it to the end

I finally finished this book and my opinion has changed slightly. The narration was too dull, but the story gets good once we come to the 20th century. I didn’t agree with his conclusion in the final chapter. I recommend the book only to orthodox western economist types, not to heterodox economists. For this reason I took away the fifth star and demoted him to four stars.

1 person found this helpful