Sources of Vietnamese Tradition

Edited by George Dutton, Jayne Werner, and John K. Whitmore

Columbia University Press

Sources of Vietnamese Tradition

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Pub Date: September 2012

ISBN: 9780231138635

664 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $42.00£35.00

Pub Date: September 2012

ISBN: 9780231138628

664 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $120.00£100.00

Pub Date: September 2012

ISBN: 9780231511100

664 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $41.99£35.00

Sources of Vietnamese Tradition

Edited by George Dutton, Jayne Werner, and John K. Whitmore

Columbia University Press

Sources of Vietnamese Tradition provides an essential guide to two thousand years of Vietnamese history and a comprehensive overview of the society and state of Vietnam. Strategic selections illuminate key figures, issues, and events while building a thematic portrait of the country's developing territory, politics, culture, and relations with neighbors. The volume showcases Vietnam's remarkable independence in the face of Chinese and other external pressures and respects the complexity of the Vietnamese experience both past and present.

The anthology begins with selections that cover more than a millennium of Chinese dominance over Vietnam (111 B.C.E.–939 C.E.) and follows with texts that illuminate four centuries of independence ensured by the Ly, Tran, and Ho dynasties (1009–1407). The earlier cultivation of Buddhism and Southeast Asian political practices by the monarchy gave way to two centuries of Confucian influence and bureaucratic governance (1407–1600), based on Chinese models, and three centuries of political competition between the north and the south, resolving in the latter's favor (1600–1885). Concluding with the colonial era and the modern age, the volume recounts the ravages of war and the creation of a united, independent Vietnam in 1975. Each chapter features readings that reveal the views, customs, outside influences on, and religious and philosophical beliefs of a rapidly changing people and culture. Descriptions of land, society, economy, and governance underscore the role of the past in the formation of contemporary Vietnam and its relationships with neighboring countries and the West.

A one-of-a-kind introduction to Vietnamese history, lending us an ear to Vietnamese voices that speak beyond revolution and war. The English flows smoothly—never an easy task, especially when working from literature and other forms of culture-bound discourse. An important contribution to teaching Vietnamese history.

Charles Wheeler, University of Hong Kong

An unprecedented anthology in scope and content. The selections are well chosen and succinctly introduced. The translations are highly scholarly and remarkably readable. This anthology will be very useful to students of Asian history and culture as well as to general readers.

Ngo Vinh Long, University of Maine

An essential research tool for anyone interested in Vietnamese history. The editors have done a marvelous job of locating, interpreting, and translating key documents written in a variety of languages.

Hue-Tam Ho Tai, Harvard University

[Sources of Vietnamese Tradition] will be indispensable for students interested in Vietnamese society and political theory.... Essential.


This addition to the venerable Introduction to Asian Civilizations series marks a major step in the maturation of Vietnam Studies in the American academy.

Foreign Affairs

This is an excellent volume that fills a long-standing need for English-language translations of primary documents that cover the chronological breadth and diverse concerns of the Vietnamese past.

Journal of Asian Studies

The anthology furnishes a good sense of the structure of 'Vietnamese' history and is sure to function both as a formidable work of reference and a sound base for further exploration of the subject.

A.V.M. Horton, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society
Chronicles and Other Historical Sources
A Note on Reign Names and Dates
Part I Premodern Vietnam
1. The Period of Northern Empire
2. The Ly, Tran, and Ho Epochs
3. The Le and Mac Epochs
Part II Early Modern Vietnam
4. The Trinh-Nguyen Period
5. The Early Nguyen Dynasty
Part III Modern Vietnam
6. The Colonial Era
7. The Independence Era

A Choice Outstanding Academic Title, 2013

About the Author

George E. Dutton is associate professor of Southeast Asian languages and cultures and vice chair of the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of California, Los Angeles. His research focuses on social movements, historiographical issues, and colonial culture and education, and he is the author of The Tay So'n Uprising: Society and Rebellion in Eighteenth-Century Vietnam.

Jayne S. Werner is associate research scholar in the Weatherhead East Asian Institute at Columbia University and professor emerita of political science at Long Island University. Her most recent book is Gender, Household, and State in Post-Revolutionary Vietnam.

John K. Whitmore is research associate at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, University of Michigan, and a specialist on premodern Vietnamese and Southeast Asian history. He has taught at Yale University, the University of Virginia, and the University of California, Los Angeles.