Introduction
in The unimagined community
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As a background to the arguments in the book, the introduction provides an overview of Vietnamese history and a critical account of the representation of South Vietnam that has dominated much of the historiography on the Vietnam War. In this representation, the South is portrayed as a political puppet in a war between US imperialism and the Vietnamese people, who are identified with the communist forces. This representation has not only resulted in a lack of attention to the South Vietnamese side in the scholarship, but it has also served to conceal the radical character of the political project pursued by the early South Vietnamese state. Unlike their allies, South Vietnamese leaders did not conceive of the war as an anti-communist crusade, but as a struggle against Stalinism as well as capitalism and liberal democracy. The introduction, therefore, proposes a more careful examination of this political project as a point of departure for rethinking the representation of the South Vietnamese within the historiography of the Vietnam War.

The unimagined community

Imperialism and culture in South Vietnam

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