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Vietnam's Lost Revolution
Ngô Đình Diệm's Failure to Build an Independent Nation, 1955–1963


Part of Cambridge Studies in US Foreign Relations

  • Date Published: May 2017
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107097889

£ 78.99

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About the Authors
  • Vietnam's Lost Revolution employs newly-released archival material from Vietnam to examine the rise and fall of the Special Commissariat for Civic Action in the First Republic of Vietnam, and in so doing reassesses the origins of the Vietnam War. A cornerstone of Ngô Đình Diệm's presidency, Civic Action was intended to transform Vietnam into a thriving, modern, independent, noncommunist Southeast Asian nation. Geoffrey Stewart juxtaposes Diem's revolutionary plan with the conflicting and competing visions of Vietnam's postcolonial future held by other indigenous groups. He shows how the government failed to gain legitimacy within the peasantry, ceding the advantage to the communist-led opposition and paving the way for the American military intervention in the mid-1960s. This book provides a richer and more nuanced analysis of the origins of the Vietnam War in which internal struggles over national identity, self-determination, and even modernity itself are central.

    • Focuses on Vietnam's Civic Action program, showing readers the inner workings of the Ngô Đình Diệm government and its policies at the local level
    • The multi-archival international history of nation-building in Vietnam allows readers to understand the conflict in Vietnam from both the Vietnamese and American perspectives
    • Emphasizes the postcolonial aspect of the Vietnam War, going beyond the usual Cold War explanations
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Based upon exhaustive research in American, Canadian, and especially Vietnamese archival sources, this superb book provides one of the best scholarly analyses available of the Republic of Vietnam's concept of nation building. It articulates the positive and negative features of Ngô Đình Diệm's vision for his country drawn from his administration's own records.' David L. Anderson, California State University, Monterey Bay

    'In this meticulously researched book, Geoffrey Stewart details the rise and fall of Diệm's national revolution in South Vietnam. Making extensive use of South Vietnamese archives, Stewart offers an intimate look at how and why the Diệm government failed to create a viable South Vietnamese nation state. Placing South Vietnamese officials front and center in his narrative, Stewart gives agency back to the actors who had the most to win, or lose, as they struggled to maintain their footing in the cross currents of a Cold War and decolonizing world.' Kathryn C. Statler, University of San Diego

    'Vietnam's Lost Revolution: Ngô Đình Diệm's Failure to Build an Independent Nation, [1955]–1963, is the first - and a very good - study of the Civic Action Programs developed in the Republic of Vietnam (RVN) by the government of Ngô Đình Diệm, president from 1955 to his assassination in 1963. … The author makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of Saigon's efforts in the late 1950s to develop a non-communist revolutionary program to modernize rural society in South Vietnam, and Geoffrey Stewart should be much congratulated on this accomplishment.' Olga Dror, The American Historical Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2017
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107097889
    • length: 278 pages
    • dimensions: 236 x 160 x 21 mm
    • weight: 0.52kg
    • contains: 8 b/w illus. 3 maps
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. A temporary expedient: the origins of civic action in Vietnam
    2. Nationalism and welfare improvement in the Republic of Vietnam
    3. Revolution, community development, and the construction of Diệm's Vietnam
    4. 'Bettering the people's conditions of existence': civic action and community development, 1957–9
    5. Civic action and insurgency
    6. The strategic Hamlet program and civic action in retreat
    Conclusion: Vietnam's lost revolution.

  • Author

    Geoffrey C. Stewart, University of Western Ontario
    Geoffrey C. Stewart is an assistant professor of history at the University of Western Ontario. His research focuses on the intersection of decolonization with the Cold War in the developing world. He specializes in the history of Vietnam's wars, twentieth-century international relations, and the United States in the world. He has published in the Journal of Vietnamese Studies and written book reviews for H-Diplo, Cross-Currents and the Journal of Asian Studies.

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