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Ho Chi Minh: A Life
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Ho Chi Minh: A Life

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  287 ratings  ·  30 reviews
The magisterial and authoritative biography of one of the towering and mysterious figures of the twentieth century.
Ho Chi Minh's epic life helped shape the twentieth century. But never before has he been the subject of a major biography. Now William Duiker has compiled an astonishing work of history that fills this immense void.
A New York Times Notable Book and one of th...more
ebook, 752 pages
Published November 13th 2012 by Hyperion (first published September 27th 2000)
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Lần này tôi từ bỏ thói quen đọc sách bằng tiếng gì thì viết bình bằng tiếng ấy, vì tôi hướng tới đối tượng khác chứ không phải chỉ cho tôi.

Đây là một cuốn sách tiểu sử về Hồ Chí Minh rất công phu và chi tiết. Duiker sử dụng rất nhiều nguồn tài liệu và ông dùng tới 4 thứ tiếng để nghiên cứu (Anh, Pháp, Việt, Trung), trong đó có rất nhiều tài liệu có giá trị từ tình báo Pháp, nhưng đặc biệt hơn so với các sách khác, theo tôi thấy, là Duiker sử dụng rất nhiều các văn kiện từ Việt Nam.

Có cái hay mà...more
Quân Khuê
Nghiên cứu toàn diện về cuộc đời của Hồ Chí Minh trong mối liên hệ chặt chẽ với lịch sử Viêt Nam thế kỷ 20. Trên cơ sở nghiên cứu tư liệu về Hồ Chí Minh lưu trữ ở Việt Nam, Liên Xô, Pháp, Anh, Trung Quốc .v.v. và phỏng vấn hàng trăm nhân vật đã từng tiếp xúc hoặc làm việc với Hồ Chí Minh, tác giả cố gắng đưa ra những đánh giá khách quan về Hồ Chí Minh (cho dù ông không thể che giấu được sự ngưỡng mộ dành cho đối tượng nghiên cứu của ông). Lịch sử và sự thật vốn luôn có khoảng cách. Một sự kiện d...more
Michael Gerald Dealino
A decent and balanced work on one of the most important figures in Asian history in the twentieth century, it reveals Ho as a man of ambiguity and contradiction, one who was not just a nationalist who asserted his country's sovereignty but also a scheming opportunist and pragmatist who flitted from positions in communist ideology to suit his needs and those of his cause. If he were alive today, I wonder how he would take the situation of Vietnam today: a country that has managed to rise from the...more
A superb biography of a mythic and often misunderstood figure. Ho has always been a difficult figure to understand; he habitually disguised himself and often reinvented his personal history. The book is thoroughly researched and strips away the aura of myth around Ho Chi Minh.

Duiker shows how Ho the long-time Comintern agent and often willing tool of Mao and Stalin often behaved in ways that cast doubt on his belief in communism, versus his ardent nationalism. Ho was pretty much a pragmatist who...more
If you want to understand the roots of the Vietnam War and see it through the eyes of the other side -- Read this!
There are very few biographies that I can say, yes, I've been to see the preserved of corpse of this guy. Well, this is one. Uncle Ho, as the locals call him, lies preserved in a glass coffin in a stone mausoleum surrounded by guards, in a complex with a pretty little stilt house and a wandering garden attached to a nice museum and some cafes and a pagoda perched on one pillar, all of it fenced in together just off of Ngoc Ha and Doi Can streets, right near the botanical garden, a market, some b...more
La pointe de la sauce
An in depth biography of the revolutionary Ho Chi Minh. In this book you learn about Uncle Ho's many different pseudo names and his revolutionary activities in France, England, China and Russia. This was a man hell bent on gaining independence and fashions himself as a communist tool to achieve this goal. It's surprising to find here as well a chasm between soviet communism -which was forever evolving- and it's branches in China and Vietnam where Ho and Mao were more concerned with narrow nation...more
Viet Nguyen
Simply great. I think this is a non-biased biography of Ho Chi Minh, a controversial figure in 20th century, not only to Vietnam and Vietnamese people, but also for the world history at that time.
Too many good details and they are highly linked together, so my only recommendation is read it !
A very detailed look into the life and times of one of the most influential- although often overlooked and underrated- individuals of the twentieth century. Sadly, it is not as personal as I had hoped it would be; by this, I mean that it offered much less a description of his personal life, as in interests, activities, etc. as it did the overarching political situation facing Ho Chi Minh in his struggle to both free and unite Vietnam. However, this disappointment may be unavoidable; sources on...more
Scott Holstad
I’ve always been fascinated by Ho Chi Minh, one of history’s most mysterious yet prominent figures. I’ve read what little there is on him over the years, and then finally came across this book, William Duiker’s Ho Chi Minh: A Life. What a thoroughly researched and detailed book! Duiker does a truly admirable job of piecing together information from archives and sources from all over the world to give us the best possible picture of Ho, and he does it in a reasonably objective way.

Ho Chi Minh was...more
Roy White
If Ho had been American, Doris Kearns Goodwin would definitely have written his bio. This one has a lot of fascinating stuff, though maybe too many details on meetings and fine points of Marxist doctrine.
Duiker has produced a masterpiece of historical research and synthesis, filling in huge blank spaces in the life of one of the most important political leaders of the 20th century. Ho Chi Minh was a professional revolutionary and fighter for Vietnamese independence for almost 60 years. One of the early members of the French Communist Party, he fought and organized in Vietnam--and in China when he his home country was too dangerous--and simply never gave up.

It was interesting to see when some of...more
Chris Paxton
Complex Look at a Complex Man

Duiker tries to cut through all the mystique built up around Ho Chi Minh, and does a fair job. Clearly, figuring out the facts of a man who spent his life deceiving everyone in regards to his past is a a challenge. Ho wasn't the saint Vietnam wants him to be, but he wasn't the monster many westerners think of him as. Duiker's response to the question of whether Ho was a communist first or a nationalist first is perfect; he was both, but more than anything he was a pr...more
Wendy Ma
Although quite long and dense with information, the book really captured the life of Ho Chi Minh and opened my view on his character, his role in creating the modern Vietnam, and his legacy. Very detailed analysis of his life provided me a sense of who Ho Chi Minh was and the journey he had token to achieve his goal on freeing his nation. The book is filled with concrete details and evidence and is a good source to get information on Ho Chi Minh for school papers. One cannot fully understands th...more
Extremely well done. This book will certainly become known as Professor Duiker's masterpiece, and as far as I can tell it is the most in-depth and extensively researched biography of Ho Chi Minh in any language. While there are other books on Ho's life which are useful, both to the academic as well as the casual reader (David Halberstam's 'Ho' is a good example in the latter regard), they are all made somewhat obsolete by this magisterial work of scholarship.
The author served in the US Embassy in Saigon during the American War. Yet, this biography harbours no trace of prejudice or revenge. On the contrary, this impeccably researched and well written biography shows true understanding of the Vietnamese leader, who is portrayed here (and accurately, I believe) as a tragic nationalist hopelessly caught up in cold war history.

Essential reading for everyone interested either in Vietnam or in the American War in South-East Asia.
One of the most fascinating and perspective-altering biographies I've ever read. For me it ranks up there with Edmund Morris's biography of Theodore Roosevelt, and Doris Kearns Goodwin's political biography of Abraham Lincoln, Team of Rivals. Considering Duiker had to piece together a life that involved decades on the run, dozens of aliases, and documentation in five different languages, his might be the most impressive of the three. Hats off to you, sir.
fascinating look at a world figure rarely discussed at length in US history books. was he loyal to the communist vision of a world revolution, or was he just trying to liberate the vietnamese people? could world events have been different if his pleas to truman for help from the US had been taken seriously? this is a great biography as well as a glimpse into the history of the region.
Jun 06, 2007 Sam marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
This book was given to me by one of my favorite undergraduate professors. I have not read it yet (it is a very daunting task--it is several hundred pages long), but hope to in the near future. For those that don't know, Duiker is one of, if not the preeminent scholar on Vietnam, the war there, and Ho Chi Minh...
A very illuminating book on the life of Ho Chi Minh, answering in great detail the questions about his background, ideology and what he was like as a person. I recommend it for anyone interested in the Indochina and Vietnam Wars and the sociology of what goes on when things go bad.
I quite enjoyed reading about the life of Ho Chi Minh. I had heard of the man but had little knowledge of his life. I am glad that the author remained mostly unbiased towards Ho Chi Minh and I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in history or biographies.
A patriot if nothing else, Ho Chi Minh is a respectable man if you know enough about him. No different than other authoritarians, you still can't help but respect the way he stood up to the other communists for communism when it came to the welfare of his nation.
One of the best biography's of all time. Really this book gives a great account of the times and actions of Ho Chi Minh. Be sure to bring an open mind as there are many things about this man and the Vietnam war in general that are unknown by the American populace. Great book.
really long biography. interesting that the vast majority of ho chi minh's revolutionary activity was WAY before the U.S. got involved in viet nam. his first involvement against the French colonial regime was in 1908! 60 years of revolution, now that is some commitment.
An emaciated, goateed figure in a threadbare bush jacket and frayed rubber sandals, Ho Chi Minh cultivated the image of a humble, benign "Uncle Ho." But he was a seasoned revolutionary and passionate nationalist obsessed by a single goal: independence for his country
This is an articuate and intelligent biograthy which is not biased but centrally addresses a difficult man in a world changing situation: Masterful!
Dan Murphy
Dec 25, 2010 Dan Murphy marked it as purgatory  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, history
This book languishes somewhere back in the U.S.A. I got half-way through and never finished, but eventually I'll get around to it.
Dr. Duiker was one of my favorite professors in college (and also on Semester at Sea). That probably influenced my rating. :-)
David Stout
Pretty good and far
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William J. Duiker is a former United States Foreign Service officer and Professor of History at Penn State University. His area of expertise is East Asia; while in the Foreign Service he spent several years in Vietnam, where an injury left him with partial hearing in one ear. Duiker is the author of Ho Chi Minh: A Life, published in 2000, which was the first comprehensive biography of Ho Chi Minh...more
More about William J. Duiker...
Sacred War: Nationalism and Revolution in a Divided Vietnam Contemporary World History The Communist Road to Power in Vietnam (Second Edition) The Essential World History, Volume 1: To 1800 Twentieth-Century World History

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“Perhaps the most that can be said is that HCM had become a prisoner of his own creation, a fly in amber, unable in his state of declining influence to escape the inexorable logic of a system that sacrificed the fate of individuals to the "higher morality" of the master plan.” 3 likes
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