Sources of Vietnamese Tradition
Author: Christopher Goscha
Sources of Vietnamese Tradition. Ed. George E. Dutton, Jayne S. Werner, and John K. Whitmore. New York: Columbia University Press, 2012. 622 pages, maps, index. Reviewed by Christopher Goscha, Université du Québec à Montréal
Sources of Vietnamese Tradition is a major contribution to the field of Vietnamese studies. By selecting, translating, and expertly introducing a wide range of documents from every period of Vietnamese history, editors George Dutton, Jayne Werner, and John Whitmore have provided scholars, teachers, and students of Vietnam with an invaluable reference and unique window into this fascinating country.
Sources of Vietnamese Traditions stands out for several reasons. To my knowledge, this book is the first documentary collection to provide primary source materials on all of Vietnamese history from the faraway past to the present. The selection, commentary, and expert translation of dozens of texts covering periods before French Vietnam and the Vietnam Wars is a breath of fresh air and is the main reason why this is such a path-breaking piece of scholarship. In their effort, the editors joined forces with some of the leading experts in the field to locate, translate, and comment on texts dating from before the arrival of "the French" in 1858.