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The Vietnamese War: Revolution and Social Change in the Mekong Delta (Pacific Basin Institute Book) Hardcover – 31 Dec 2002

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 1200 pages
  • Publisher: M.E. Sharpe (31 Dec 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076560602X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765606020
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 15.9 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,918,644 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Edwin E. Moise on 8 Sep 2009
Format: Unknown Binding
There was no edition of Elliott's book published in 2000. The first edition was copyright 2003. It was a splendid work--in my opinion, the most important book on the Vietnam War in decades--when it finally was published. --Ed Moise
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Amazon.com: 2 reviews
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
The triumph of micro-history 25 Jun 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
David Elliott's magnum opus, "The Vietnamese War: Revolution and Social Change in the Mekong Delta 1930 - 1975," is quite simply the best book there is about the Vietnam War. It is also one of the longest, at 1547 pages, which may limit its appeal to non-specialists.
The principal strenths of this work are two:
1) Where most scholars of the Vietnam War have focused their efforts mainly on American sources, Elliott draws the majority of his evidence from Vietnamese who fought for the Viet Minh or the NLF. In particular, he uses 415 in-depth interviews of prisoners and defectors conducted as part of a major RAND project during the war (Elliott himself worked on this project). He also relies on about 100 Vietnamese-language post-war histories. Together with a judicious selection of English-language works and some US government data, the Vietnamese sources provide an evidentiary base that overlaps very little with existing studies in English.
2) Although he does not ignore the larger strategic currents of the war, Elliott focuses like a laser beam on the local revolutionary processes of a single Vietnamese province. Although he carefully synthesizes his evidence into an overall narrative, Elliott allows the full complexity of events to shine through at every turn, often in the first-person recollections of the revolutionaries themselves.
My reservations about the book mainly concern the theoretical context in which it is situated. Elliott's intended audience appears to be a narrow group of Southeast Asia and Vietnam War specialists. He shows little concern with the far more interesting and recent generalist literature about civil war processes by e.g., Elizabeth Wood, Stathis Kalyvas, or Roger Petersen. Debates about, e.g., whether or not the Vietnam War "could have been won" are extremely stale, and a scholar of Elliott's magnitude shouldn't be wasting his time on them.
This is not a book for the casual reader, and it is not a book for someone whose main concern is about what Americans did in the Vietnam War. However, for anyone who takes a serious scholarly interest 20th century Vietnamese history or the systematic study of political violence and civil war, Elliott's book is indispensable.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
A View of the Vietnam War Seldom Seen 29 Nov 2008
By Walter S. Mcintosh - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a book for someone who is deeply interested in every aspect of the Vietnam war and the cultural underpinnings of the communist forces there. The book's title is slightly misleading as it claims to be about the revolution and social change in the Mekong Delta from 1930 to 1975 whereas , in fact, the research and data presented is almost exclusively confined to Dinh Tuong /My Tho Province which had it's own set of circumstances which were quite different from other delta provinces such as Sa Dec or Cau Mau Provinces . That said , the book is filled with exacting detail and rare interviews of communist party members . This book (I have the Concise Edition) should be a welcome addition to anyone who wants a fuller understanding of the dynamics of the social and political changes that resulted in such a tragedy for all involved.
Walter James (Mac) McIntosh
Former Chief Vietnam Operations
Clandestine Corps CIA
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