Patrick McCoy's Reviews > Shadows and Wind: A View of Modern Vietnam

Shadows and Wind by Robert Templer
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Sep 26, 11

bookshelves: non-fiction, current-affairs

While in Vietnam I picked up an interesting book about contemporary Vietnam called Shadows and Wind by Robert Templer. Anyway, after my first trip to Vietnam I read Stanley Karnow’s excellent history, Vietnam, which focuses on the causes of the war and the aftermath and I felt this might be a follow up of sorts, picking up where Karnow left off. It’s not as contemporary as I’d like-it was published in 1998, but the author has interesting insights to make about the myth of Vietnam, the culture, the generation gap, food, politics, Viet Kieu (exiled or refugee Vietnamese), religion, and everyday life. Albeit the chapters on politics were long and difficult to get through-they came in the middle of the book, which seemed to slow me in my progress. However, I found the opening and closing chapters the most interesting and informative about contemporary Vietnamese society and from what I saw on my last trip to Hanoi-it is still fairly accurate. The Vietnamese are slowing making their way to the usual global consumerism with their pursuit of Honda Dream motorcycles, cell phones, and other consumer goods, but the government has kept economic expansion moving at a trickle compared to other countries. More than half of the population was born after the war and no one ever gave me grief because I was an American. It'll be interesting to see whether or not Vietnam develops an economic model like China.
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