Vietnam 40 Years Later Goes to Press

The cover photo tells much of Vietnam's history from ancient times to the present.

The book’s cover with a photo tells much of Vietnam’s history from ancient times to the present.



BOLOGNA, Italy — Vietnam 40 Years Later will go to press this week with the three-day production process beginning here on Monday.

Traveling from Washington, D.C., I arrived today in Bologna, the headquarters of my publisher, Damiani Editore. I will be on hand through the process to report here on the production process and printing of the book.

Vietnam 40 Years Later is the culmination of nine lengthy trips to Vietnam over eight years. It also is the result of countless Vietnam 40 Years Later is the culmination of culling and editing more than 200,000 images that were made for the book. In recent months, I worked with editors and designers to narrow the selection to about 100 images plus another 25 portraits that are now Vietnam 40 Years Later is the culmination in a contemporary design. You can learn more about the production of the book from the accompanying video.

See the Video

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Selecting the cover photo was difficult. But in the end, the woman selling the baguettes in the streets of Hanoi became an obvious choice because it beautifully tells the history of Vietnam. Note that the woman is wearing the traditional conical hat as her ancestors have done for centuries. But also see that the rest of her apparel is fashionably western, showing that she too hopes to be part of Vietnam’s future as a player in the global economy. Her baguettes remind us of the French occupation. Finally, the blurred motorbikes symbolize the rush of Vietnam’s youthful population to embrace the modern pop culture of the larger world. And as one young man looks back at the older woman, we must wonder if in the end she and her generation will be left behind.

While the book is being printed this week, it will not be publicly released until March 1. That will place it in the marketplace during the year leading up to the 40th anniversary of the end of the American-Vietnam War.

As we approach this anniversary, I offer an updated and more hopeful vision of Vietnam than the one of war time violence that still haunts the memories of many Americans. I present a Vietnam in motion, a nation with one foot deeply planted in ancient Asia and one leaping like an energetic tiger for the new world. Andrew Lam, the gifted Vietnamese-American journalist who wrote the foreword, refers to Vietnam as “an active verb,” or a “country barely discovered.” But this book is not naive in its presentation, noting that Vietnam is at a crossroads and must realize that its recent human rights abuses and limits on free speech are counterproductive to its ambitions of becoming a modern 21st-Century economy.

I am looking forward to reporting on the printing process here so please check-in this week for updates. And in the mean time, you can make a preproduction copy of the book with the link here. Books ordered now will include a limited-edition print and an autographed book.

Buy the book here:

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