The great leap

Peter Zinoman

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There are three ways in which Christopher Goscha’s The Penguin History of Modern Vietnam represents a milestone in Vietnamese history. Strange as it may seem, Goscha’s book is the first comprehensive survey of Vietnam’s modern history to be published in English since Stanley Karnow’s Vietnam: A History came out more than thirty years ago. In addition to being significantly more up-to-date than Karnow’s and profiting from an additional three decades of historical hindsight, The Penguin History benefits from its author’s vastly superior knowledge and scholarly skill set.

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