Top positive review
3 people found this helpful
Dragon rising with contradictions the norm
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.