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Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
25
4.4 out of 5 stars
Vietnam
Format: Paperback|Change


on 31 October 2013
Having just returned from Vietnam or Hanoi to be precise I wanted to have a better understanding of contemporary Vietnam. I read Robert Templer's Shadows and Wind: which despite the very apt title was frustrating. It has a bias the author does not openly declare (anti Marxist/pro free market) which made for some massive assumptions-particularly historic. Mr Hayton's book is a more recent history and a good mix of politics, history and sociology. He mostly steers clear of judgement and tries not to see events in a Eurocentric way. What I liked most about his book is you hear peoples' voices in the telling or explanation of events. He is a very competent writer and journalist. There are parts of the book which become repetitive but can be sped read without losing the thread. But mostly it was absorbing and insightful. It is readable the 'tea shop gossip' is what makes it human and sometimes very funny. Highly recommended as a primer for anyone going to Vietnam who would like to have some insight into this complex and rapidly changing culture. And Vietnam is an astonishing and rewarding country to spend time in.
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VINE VOICEon 15 June 2010
I found this book a welcome and timely addition to the growing body of literature on the Asian Tiger economies/countries. Most books, not surprisingly, tend to focus on China (and India) so I found it a refreshing change to read about a country that I know virtually nothing about and associate with the 1965-75 conflict (although the conflict and its causes pre-dates US intervention) - a point the author makes at the start of the book. Bill Hayton provides an insightful exploration of life in Vietnam. I found myself automatically making comparisons with recent events in China (particularly the relationship between state control and economic liberalisation). The journey through the book is well handled by the author whose prose style is highly readable. Recommended for anyone interested in finding out more about a country which, to my surprise (i.e. ignorance), has one of the biggest populations in the world (ranked 13th)!
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on 26 December 2015
The most highly recommended book to read before a trip to Viet Nam.
Hayton surprisingly begins by jumping right into the economic situation, with no preamble and from there fans out into other areas of life.
Probably what holds our interest is that he does not position himself as a cold observer offering general information. With no judgements or opinions, he offers a clear view of contemporary history, working each topic by looking at individuals (with name changes or not) and how they negotiate or suffer under the system which he explains in detail and how it affects individuals in their society.
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on 6 April 2014
Bill Hayton has written an excellent book---I say this as a retired academic who used to be a specialist on Viet Nam. Although bit repetitive in places, and very much a 'younger generation' product, this in the most up-to-date (and basically sympathitic) account of what's been happening in one of Asia's most exciting counties.
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on 20 March 2017
Excellent book - I learned so much. Hayton has an incredibly deep understanding of the country and his insight was invaluable. A fascinating and well written book, I really enjoyed it.
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on 18 February 2014
This was a very comprehensive account of modern Vietnam. I liked how the author has scratched below the surface into the politics, the culture and the current challenges facing the country, and it was really interesting to go there after having read the book, as I felt as if I had an additional insight compared to a lot of visitors. However, for me, personally it was too detailed and I did end up skipping a few parts.
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on 8 February 2015
If you are planning to move to Vietnam, this is a very useful book. It gives very thorough and clear insight into the Vietnamese culture, even though it is a bit dry.
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on 26 September 2017
Excellent book on the trials and tribulations of Vietnam in recent years
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on 22 May 2016
Excellent background reading for visit to Vietnam -very informative -the Vietnamese are such resilient and hard working yet very charming and helpful
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on 28 January 2012
For a size like this, the book of course couldn't cover all the things happening around in Vietnam. However with only one year experience living in Vietnam but still he could make a lot of connections and obtain a lot of information like this is an amazing work. I have to say I was very surprised. There was some information I didn't even know about. For a good understanding of what's happening in VN, this is a highly recommendation.
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