Showing posts with label Vietnam. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vietnam. Show all posts

Thursday, 3 December 2020

Backlist books: The Golden Chersonese by Isabella Bird

Backlist books is a column by Lucy Day Werts that focuses on enduring, important works from or about Asia. This post is about The Golden Chersonese and the Way Thither, as it was originally titled, which details the author’s travels through China and Southeast Asia from December 1878 to February 1879, and was published in 1883. The book consists of Bird’s letters to her sister, “unaltered, except by various omissions and some corrections as to matters of fact”. She says they lack “literary dress” because she wishes to convey her “first impressions in their original vividness”.

Readers will be favourably impressed by Bird’s appetite for the unfamiliar and tolerance for heat, mud and pests, whether she is drinking from a fresh coconut fetched by a tame monkey, slipping down from the back of an uncooperative elephant or discovering leeches feasting on her bloodied ankles.

See below to find out what you need to know to decide whether you should read The Golden Chersonese, or what you should know about it even if you never do!

Saturday, 29 September 2018

Remembering Vietnam and Shanghai by Tess Johnston

Diplomat, author and historian Tess Johnston has published extensively about Asia, including 15 books about architecture in Shanghai.

An American, Tess has lived and served abroad with the US Foreign Service and the Consulate General, for more than half a century, including more than 40 years in Asia. Her first Asian posting was to Vietnam from 1967-74, at the height of the war; her second was to Shanghai, where she lived and worked for more than 3 decades.

In Saigon, Tess snared a job with one of the most famous,or infamous, of American wartime leaders, John Paul Vann.

In her latest book, A War Away: An American Woman in Vietnam, 1967-1974 Tess recounts stories of her Vietnam years, including her eye-witness account of the Tet Offensive, and what it was like to be one the few American women there during those harrowing years.

Tess has an abiding love for both Vietnam and Shanghai. Here she compares her memories of each place.

So, over to Tess…

Friday, 28 April 2017

Aquatic culture in Việt Nam / guest post by Ben Kiernan

Newly-published Việt Nam: A History from Earliest Times to the Present,  by Ben Kiernan  explores the history of the different peoples who have lived in the three major regions of Viet Nam over the past 3,000 years. It brings to life their relationships with these regions' landscapes, water resources, and climatic conditions. It addresses head-on the dramatic impact of changing weather patterns from ancient to medieval and modern times. The central importance of riverine and maritime communications and systems to life in Việt Nam is a key theme.

Ben Kiernan is the A. Whitney Griswold Professor of History at Yale University. He founded the University's Cambodian Genocide Program, which later became the Genocide Studies Program, and has served as Chair of Yale’s Council on Southeast Asia Studies. He has written extensively on South East Asia, on genocide worldwide, and on genocide in Cambodia.

Here he discusses Việt Nam as an aquatic culture.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Woman + Pink Motorcycle = Adventure

UK-based Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent is an itinerant adventurer and a travel writer. Her first book, Tuk-tuk to the Road: Two Girls, Three Wheels, 12,500 Miles was an account of how she and a friend drove a tuk-tuk from Bangkok to the UK. She followed up with A Short Ride In The Jungle: The Ho Chi Minh Trail By Motorcycle, her account of seven weeks she spent discovering the Ho Chi Minh Trail, alone, on a bike called The Pink Panther, because of its pretty pink spray job.