Why did the Vietnamese accept certain Chinese institutions and yet explicitly reject others? How did Vietnamese cultural borrowings from China alter the dynamics of traditional relations between Vietnam, Siam, Laos, and Cambodia? How did Vietnam’s smaller Southeast Asian environment modify and distort classical East Asian institutions?
Alexander Woodside has answered these questions in this well-received political and cultural study. This first real comparison of the civil governments of two traditional East Asian societies on an institution-by-institution basis is now reissued with a new preface.