Your recommendations for books about Vietnam (the country, not the war)
June 1, 2013 6:45 PM   Subscribe

A friend of mine is about to move to Vietnam. I'd like to get him a book as a farewell gift. Please give me your recommendations for books about Vietnam the country - that is, books that cover something of the country's history, society and politics other than the American war.
posted by girlgenius to Society & Culture (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

It's in John Cohen's More ideas link but Duong Van Mai Elliott's The Sacred Willow is a great personal account of Vietnam's past century. David Marr's Vietnamese tradition on trial 1920-1945 is a classic in Vietnamese studies and very accessible for a scholarly book.
posted by elgilito at 7:25 AM on June 2, 2013

Also in the more ideas link is Duong Thu Huong. It's fiction but a great window into contemporary, postwar Vietnam from the perspective of a dissident. (She fought in the war IIRC but is very disillusioned with the postwar regime.)
posted by seemoreglass at 7:35 AM on June 2, 2013

Also fiction (ish) set in French colonial Vietnam, The Lover by Magurite Duras is wonderful.
posted by Duffington at 1:42 AM on June 3, 2013

Wandering Through Vietnamese Culture is very interesting, though quite weighty...
posted by loominpapa at 11:48 PM on June 24, 2013

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