Orthodox v. Revisionist v. Vietnam-centrism in Vietnam War Histories

Photo by Eric Kim, Tuyên Quang 2016, Historically named by the Party as the glorious “Center of the National Revolution”

**A Note: This summary of key debates between Orthodox, Revisionist, and Vietnam-Centrism understandings of the Vietnam War will without a doubt, be interpreted as contentious. My aim here is not to cast value judgment on the ethics of war, but to push further the responsibility towards understanding HISTORY and its actors. 

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LIBERATION TIME

Film & Poem by Cindy A. Nguyen

Chapter 1

What year did that happen?
Before liberation. / Trước khi giải phóng
When did you go to school?
Before liberation.

When did you become a farmer?
After liberation.
When did you meet dad?
After liberation.

When did you want to leave?
After liberation.
And when was I born?
After liberation. / Sau khi giải phóng

What is liberation?

Chapter 2

Liberation was a time.
It was a demarcation
of what came before
and what came after.

Liberation was a place.
where everyone was invited
and forever remained guests.
Awaiting an alternative future.

Liberation was a friend.
a neighbor, a brother
a believer, a dreamer
familiar, familial, filial.

Liberation was a sound
repeated, whispered echoes
to cleanse and empty
the evils of the past,
the errors of the past
the past, the past, the past.
Ngày xưa, ngày xưa, ngày xưa.

Hanoi, 2017
cindy photography sapa-16

BOOK REVIEW: Võ Phiến and the Sadness of Exile

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Schafer, John C. Võ Phiến and the Sadness of Exile. Southeast Asia Publications, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Northern Illinois University, 2006.

UPDATE 10/15/2016: This literary masterpiece is now re-released as an open edition by Digital Commons at Humboldt State University.

Open Access Online version: http://digitalcommons.humboldt.edu/monographs/2/

Amazon Print version

Proceeds from the print version will support the Library Scholars internship program, which makes open access publishing at Humboldt State University Press possible.
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BOOK REVIEW: Gary Kulik’s “War Stories” & Nick Turse’s Kill Anything That Moves

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Kulik, Gary. War Stories: False Atrocity Tales, Swift Boaters, and Winter Soldiers or What Really Happened in Vietnam. Potomac Books, Inc., 2009.

Kill Anything that Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam by Nick Turse, 2013

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BOOK REVIEW: Christina Schwenkel’s The American War in Contemporary Vietnam

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Schwenkel, Christina. The American War in Contemporary Vietnam: Transnational Remembrance and Representation. Tracking Globalization. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2009.

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BOOK REVIEW: Nha Ca’s Mourning Headband for Hue

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Nha Ca, Mourning Headband for Hue: An Account of the Battle of Hue, Vietnam 1968 (1970) (translation by Olga Dror, University of Indiana Press, 2014).

Gareth Porter, “The 1968 ‘Hue Massacre,’” Indochina Chronicle, No. 33. June 24, 1974.

Lien-Hang Nguyen, “The War Politburo: North Vietnam’s Diplomatic and Political Road to the Tet Offensive,” Journal of Vietnamese Studies, vol.1, nos. 1-2, (Fall 2006).

Merle Pribenow, “General Vo Nguyen Giap and the Mysterious Evolution of the Plan for the 1968 Tet Offensive,” Journal of Vietnamese Studies, vol. 3, no.2 (Summer 2008).

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“Last Days in Vietnam” Directed & Produced by Rory Kennedy (2014)

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Two symbolic images encapsulate the ‘Fall of Saigon’: an image of the frantic helicopter evacuation off a Saigon apartment rooftop and that of North Vietnamese tanks rolling through the gates of Independence Palace. “Last Days in Vietnam” (2014), a documentary directed and produced by the daughter of former Senator Robert Kennedy, Rory Kennedy, traces the moments before these two historic events took place on April 30, 1975. Through captivating photos, video footage, maps, and interviews, “Last Days in Vietnam” weaves an emotional and informative narrative of the helicopter evacuation out of the U.S. embassy in Saigon. The film captures the sense of anger, fear, confusion, and disbelief from U.S. and South Vietnamese military, officials, and civilians.

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