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.
The first serious work of American scholarship on Vietnam in the early nineteenth century… A major event in the development of Vietnamese studies in the U.S.
A penetrating look at the institutions, traditions, and attitudes that governed nineteenth-century Vietnam and that determine much of what is happening today… A classical study in the modification of the Chinese cultural pattern in a Southeast Asian environment… A work absolutely indispensable for insight into the evolution of Vietnam’s political society and style.
Alexander Woodside is Professor of Chinese and Southeast Asian History at the University of British Columbia.