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Ho Chi Minh: A Life by William J. Duiker

Ho Chi Minh: A Life (original 2000; edition 2001)

by William J. Duiker

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237370,612 (3.98)8
Title:Ho Chi Minh: A Life
Authors:William J. Duiker
Info:Hyperion (2001), Edition: Hardcover, Paperback, 752 pages
Collections:Your library

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Ho Chi Minh by William J. Duiker (2000)


Asia (205)

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He was flawed (like all leaders) but freed Vietnam from French rule and generally did what he though was right. ( )
  ndpmcIntosh | Mar 21, 2016 |
I read this book after reading a biography of Mao and Chiang Kai-shek and several books about the USSR relating to China during Ho's lifetime. This was a necessary background explaining the tightrope Vietnam walked between these two foreign countries and Communist theory. Ho Chi Minh worked for two things, independence and unification for his country. Way back when the US was occupying Vietnam I am sure I really understood this. Vietnam seemed to be the American story.....for Vietnam if was France as colonizer for the US the British. We had George Washington, they had Ho Chi Minh. Our soldiers died for unification half a century after our constitution, Vietnam got unification sooner. Korea has not unified and the results are bad.

This is an excellent book. Excellent features are photographs, excellent maps, and a list, with abbreviations of organizations and short explanations to help the reader keep up with all the acronyms.
I agree with reviewer belgrade18 who follows me, that a similar list for individuals would be helpful. ( )
  carterchristian1 | Jun 15, 2014 |
An outstanding biography. I do not have a strong background in Southeast Asian history, so I cannot comment on where the book falls in the context of books on the region. However, the book is very well written and appears to be thoroughly researched. The author takes a very non-judgmental approach, not making Ho out to be an unerring saint or a villain, merely reporting the facts as he has been able to determine them from a wide range of sources from Vietnam to Moscow, Beijing and Paris. The book is as much a history of Vietnam from 1890 to 1970 as it is a biography of Ho, which is appropriate and actually just what I was hoping for. Many details of Ho's life appear to be difficult to document, including his true feelings about Communism and the West and the nature of his personal relationships, especially his romantic life, which sometimes makes it a challenge to relate to him from a Western perspective. This is particularly true for the end of his life after World War II ended, when the book mainly discusses events in Vietnam instead of Ho himself. Yes, the book is long- nearly 600 very intense pages filled with facts that are not always easily digested, and I did get lost among the names of the many Vietnamese patriots discussed, however I quickly got my bearings and settled into a good pace. Highly recommended for those interested in Ho and events in French Indochina, France, China and the Soviet Union during the period. ( )
  belgrade18 | Aug 27, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 078688701X, Paperback)

Ho Chi Minh (1890-1969) fought for half a century to free Vietnam from foreign domination, and the story of his life illuminates the ongoing struggle between colonialism and nationalism that still shapes world history. William J. Duiker, who served in Saigon's U.S. embassy during the Vietnam War, spent 30 years delving into Vietnamese and European archives, as well as interviewing Minh's surviving colleagues, in order to write this definitive biography. The son of a civil servant from a traditionally rebellious province, the future president of North Vietnam was known for more than 20 years as Nguyen That Thanh. It was under this name that he founded the Vietnamese Communist Party, having concluded after reading Lenin's analysis of imperialism that revolutionary Marxism was the most effective tool to achieve Vietnam's independence. He spent 30 years in exile, cementing his communist ties in Moscow and working with Vietnamese rebels from a base in China, before assuming the name Ho Chi Minh in 1942, when the forces unleashed by World War II seemed to be clearing the way for Vietnamese liberation. French intransigence and American anti-communism would delay the emergence of an independent, united Vietnam for another 30 years, but Ho became an icon who inspired the communist North and the Southern Vietcong to keep fighting. Focusing almost exclusively on political events and ideological debates, Duiker depicts Ho as a nationalist first and foremost, but also as a convinced (though pragmatic) Marxist who believed socialism would help his country modernize and correct ancient inequities. This long, very detailed biography is not for the casual reader, but anyone with a serious interest in modern history will relish a dense narrative that fully conveys the complexities of the man and the issues with which he grappled. --Wendy Smith

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:03 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Describes Ho Chi Minh's poverty-stricken youth, his expatriate years in the U.S., France, and the Soviet Union, and his commitment to the Vietnamese revolution and reunification of Vietnam under Communist rule.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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