A World Transformed

The Politics of Culture in Revolutionary Vietnam, 1945-1965
Kim N. B. Ninh
An eye-opening reassessment of the meaning of revolutionary politics in socialist Vietnam from the Vietnamese perspective


Exploring the dynamics of the Vietnamese revolution, A World Transformed offers a detailed examination of state-intellectual relations and the organization of cultural activities in the early years of socialist Vietnam. Kim N. B. Ninh provides new insights into the complexities of the internal debates within Vietnamese society about the self, culture, and national identity.

Covering the period 1945 to 1965, A World Transformed describes the key intellectual trends that brought many Vietnamese to the side of revolution and made possible the leadership role of the Vietnamese Communist Party in the struggle for national independence. Ninh examines a top-down radical vision of state and nation through her study of the content of cultural politics, the effort to organize the intellectual community, as well as the attempt to extend cultural work to the remotest of villages. Her work yields the conclusion that a broader definition of civil society is needed in examining socialist regimes like Vietnam.

The extensive use of Vietnamese language materials, access to archival data never before available, and innovative incorporation of literary and historical sources combine to make this book one of the first efforts to reexamine the Vietnamese revolution from the Vietnamese perspective since the end of the Vietnam War.

Kim N. B. Ninh is Assistant Director of the Governance, Law, and Civil Society Programs, The Asia Foundation, San Francisco.

Praise / Awards

  • "Kim N. B. Nin's excellent study of Vietnamese revolutionary politics from 1945 to 1965 makes an important contribution to these salutary shifts in our understanding of modern Vietnamese history. . . . In carefully analyzing the radical break that new modernist conceptions of state and society posed for the Vietnamese after 1945 and in her remarkable use of new Vietnamese archival sources, Ninh's important book opens up the revolutionary history of postcolonial Vietnam in penetrating and transformative ways."
    American Historical Review
  • "[A] fascinating study of the unfolding of the Vietnamese revolution and the making of revolutionary and transformative politics and ideology. . . ."
    —C. L. Yates, Earlham College, Choice, April 2003
  • "This excellent book provides a new level of detail illuminating Vietnam's cultural politics during the critical years of the anti-French war of resistance and onto the period of the anti-American war, documenting understandings of culture in the evolving ideological and propaganda work of the Indochina Communist Party. Few previous works have addressed this topic."
    Journal of Asian Studies

  • ". . . a valuable contribution to the field of Vietnamese studies for its focus on the internal dynamics and the political visions that drove and shaped the Vietnamese revolution in the mid-twentieth century."
    Pacific Affairs

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Copyright © 2002, University of Michigan. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 336pp.
  • 7 tables.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 2002
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-09799-9

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  • $99.95 U.S.

  • Paper
  • 2002
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-06799-2

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  • $38.95 U.S.