THE RISE OF NATIONALISM IN VIETNAM, 1900-1914 by William J. Duiker

THE RISE OF NATIONALISM IN VIETNAM, 1900-1914

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Duiker's book probes why no non-Communist nationalist movement succeeded in Vietnam, and finds that the pre-WW I ""scholar-patriot"" reformers had no mass base--indeed, they were often willing to collaborate with the French--while later on, no group but the Communists had the fortitude to organize the fight against the French and Japanese. The ""pure"" nationalists had little to offer. Phan Boi Chau's Victorian Confucianism and the admiration of Pham Quyhn for French rightists like Maurras and Barres were scarcely geared to appeal to the democratic intellectuals and the exceptionally cosmopolitan workers who formed the nucleus of the Communistled movement. The most remarkable fact is that in Vietnam the Communists were able to draw in the peasantry instead of leaving them to the equivalent of the Russian Social Revolutionary Party. Duiker includes graphic accounts of the failed revolution of 1930, when Soviets were maintained for months followed by the Popular Front policy of broad alliances which he views as an opportunistic ploy. The book labels the Communists' success with the peasantry as ""Maoist,"" even though it clearly shows that the Vietnamese leadership was far more Westernized and internationally minded. Duiker's study asks many of the right questions and provides a scholarly basis for exploring them; its utility and intrinsic interest should carry it beyond a strictly academic audience.

Pub Date: Feb. 15th, 1975
Publisher: Cornell Univ. Press