For this reason especially the book will make a good text for undergraduates, although there are other strengths: it is well-written, well-edited, and well-produced. It is documented carefully and clearly, and has an excellent index. Unfortunately the bibliography, though extensive, lists only those works consulted but not referred to in the notes, and is hence titled "Additional Bibliography.
The book has a collection of illustrations and photographs from unusually diverse sources: combat photography from the NLF perspective, for instance. Major actors and their writings, other historians and their writings, are introduced directly into the text in ways that help students to follow up certain lines of investigation and thought, at the same time helping them get a sense of the principal actors and many of the principal scholars.
Vietnam Wars 1945-1990
The text is a true narrative history nonetheless, never descending into tendentious scholarly argument of the kind that is opaque to students, however much it may exhilarate professionals. The major weakness of this book is the brevity of the treatment of the period, mentioned above. The main outline is there, to be sure, but more on the internal and external politics and struggles, still ongoing, of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam would have been helpful.
There is not much in this chapter covering 15 years, versus eleven chapters for the previous 19 years that would help one to understand the reason behind the continuing flow of refugees from Viet Nam, its enormous military establishment one of the sixth or seventh largest in the world, until very recently , the reason for its abject poverty and economic difficulties, or the long -maintained "re-education camps.
The Vietnam Wars, By Marilyn Young Essay - Words | Bartleby
Also, there are two other problems; however, neither of them are attributable to Young alone. First, a seemingly minor one, but one which I believe is a good symbol of Western ethnocentrism: Vietnamese words and names are spelled without diacritics. This is the equivalent of leaving a vowel or two from every English word printed in the book; this practice is irritating and distracting to readers of Vietnamese, like me.
It is clearly ethnocentric, and perhaps racist, since the diacritics are supplied for the French. Back in the days of the linotype machine, there was perhaps an excuse, but with computerized typesetting, this practice is inexcusable and unacceptable, especially from a major textbook publisher.
After all, there are probably now more native speakers of Vietnamese than of French in the United States, and there are certainly more speakers of Vietnamese in Viet Nam than there are speakers of French in France, just as there always have been. Vietnamese is not a minor, obscure language.
The major weakness of the The Vietnam Wars is one it shares with nearly all other books in English in the field, although it is less vulnerable than others to the following criticism: it is a history of Western involvement in Viet Nam. Its scope and perspective is Western, and primarily American. Young is clearly aware of and knowledgeable about the Vietnamese perspectives: there are many well-chosen Vietnamese sources and voices in her text, and in her Acknowledgements she reveals that she co-teaches a course on the history of Viet Nam in which the American war is only a chapter.
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