The subtitle serves better as a statement of theme than of content in this survey of Vietnam's history, traditions, and present state. In a straightforward, unembellished style, Garland describes the region's geography and includes such tidbits as a few recipes and briefly summarized folktales, as well as germane peripheral matter: experiences of the boat people and of Vietnamese recently settled in the US. Treatment of the recent war and the communists is evenhanded, and the color photos are excellent, though more would have been welcome. The single rudimentary map also would have been better with more detail, including physical contours as well as more place names. Not a treatment in depth, then, but a well-organized, workmanlike, useful resource. Glossary; bibliography; index.