Culture and Customs of Vietnam is a comprehensive, one-stop source, providing the most useful and intriguing information for students and general readers. Some of the highlights include the discussion of the Chinese influence in writing, thought, and religion; eating habits; the changing family; and water puppetry. A chronology, glossary, and numerous photos complement the text.
MARK W. MCLEOD is Associate Professor of History at the University of Delaware./e He is the author of The Vietnamese Response to French Intervention, 1862-1874 (Praeger, 1991).
NGUYEN THI DIEU, born in Vietnam, is Associate Professor of History at Temple University. She is the author of The Mekong River and the Struggle for Indochina: Water, War, and Peace (Praeger, 1999).
The Mekong River links together the mainland countries of Southeast Asia in a vital geographic, but also economic and political, unit. Its historical trajectory coursed through kingdoms and colonies, and its physical presence and symbolism became more acute as it came closer to modern times. Tracing the history of the Mekong River, this book shows how its conceptualizations have been transformed in modern times, and particularly during the Vietnam War when the Mekong River and Mekong Project became political pawns.
In the 1950s, the decision was made to develop the river's resources to foster economic development for the four countries of the lower Mekong basin. The Mekong Project, as it came to be known, proposed the construction of a set of major dams on the mainstream and of numerous smaller ones on the tributaries to bring hydropower, flood control, irrigation, and other benefits to the riparian countries. The Project, however, was subverted to the needs of the Vietnam War. With the return of peace, the Mekong countries can re-examine the future of the river and its potential impact on the region. Nguyen concludes by examining the continuation of some of the Project's schemes by the independent Southeast Asian countries and regional powers. Scholars and researchers interested in Southeast Asian history and economic development, environmental history, and rural sociology will find this an important study.
The Vietnamese Response to French Intervention, 1862-1874 focuses on a period that has been generally neglected by Vietnam scholars, the crucial early years of the French conquest. It then analyzes the role of Catholic missionaries and the Vietnamese reaction to their presence during the conquest. Providing historical background to the period of French colonization, McLeod explores the significance of the long Nguyen Dynasty as well as the Franco-Spanish invasion prior to French occupation. Students and scholars of Southeast Asian history and colonization, as well as the general reader interested in Vietnamese ideology and thought, will find this book a valuable resource.
When three-month-old Lia Lee Arrived at the county hospital emergency room in Merced, California, a chain of events was set in motion from which neither she nor her parents nor her doctors would ever recover. Lia's parents, Foua and Nao Kao, were part of a large Hmong community in Merced, refugees from the CIA-run "Quiet War" in Laos. The Hmong, traditionally a close-knit and fiercely people, have been less amenable to assimilation than most immigrants, adhering steadfastly to the rituals and beliefs of their ancestors. Lia's pediatricians, Neil Ernst and his wife, Peggy Philip, cleaved just as strongly to another tradition: that of Western medicine. When Lia Lee Entered the American medical system, diagnosed as an epileptic, her story became a tragic case history of cultural miscommunication.
Parents and doctors both wanted the best for Lia, but their ideas about the causes of her illness and its treatment could hardly have been more different. The Hmong see illness aand healing as spiritual matters linked to virtually everything in the universe, while medical community marks a division between body and soul, and concerns itself almost exclusively with the former. Lia's doctors ascribed her seizures to the misfiring of her cerebral neurons; her parents called her illness, qaug dab peg--the spirit catches you and you fall down--and ascribed it to the wandering of her soul. The doctors prescribed anticonvulsants; her parents preferred animal sacrifices.