Bread, cheese and bloody conflict

from Press News, posted 09/13/2011 - 14:03
Sadly, there were no real Vietnamese nêm on the table to celebrate the arrival of the first advance copy of Chris Goscha’s Historical Dictionary of the Indochina War at NIAS yesterday. Instead, we made do with French cheese and Danish bread (quite superior to le pain français).
This is a massive work, as perhaps can be seen in the photo and the screen shot of a double-page spread below.
Not for nothing, then, has Fredrik Logevall of Cornell University called it:
A magnificent achievement. No one has ever attempted this kind of comprehensive reference work on the First Indochina War; Christopher Goscha not only attempts it but succeeds marvelously. More than a dictionary, this volume is a major addition to the literature, an essential resource for all students of the struggle, produced by a leading historian working at the top of his powers.
The ANU’s David Marr agrees. It is, he enthuses, ‘a milestone in the field, which will be consulted for decades’. A key element here is its international scope:
This is the first historical dictionary about Vietnam in any language to mine French and Vietnamese sources in equal measure. It ranges beyond Vietnamese and French participants to provide equally incisive entries on British, Chinese, Lao, Cambodian, American and Soviet actors in a war that took on important international dimensions. The prodigious amount of research that Goscha has put into this dictionary ensures its longevity.
David added privately that NIAS Press is to be congratulated for taking on this major project. Yes, it is a major work that was an equally major undertaking for a smaller press like NIAS. But it was also our privilege to be involved in bringing such a significant work to fruition; we would do it again.


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