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Vietnam Today: A Guide to a Nation at a Crossroads

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ISBN-13: 978-1931930093
ISBN-10: 1931930090
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Editorial Reviews


This book examines a nation and its heritage, its present, and its future, with the dispassionate look that renders objectivity to the analysis, yet manages to preserve the humanity at the core of such analysis -- MultiCultural Review, September 2005

This succinct guidebook is must reading for businesspeople interested in the Vietnamese market; it is also recommended for academics and tourists interested in Vietnam. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduate through professional collections. --- J. W. Leonard, Miami University, ALA. -- CHOICE Review, June 2005

Who should read this book? Certainly those doing business with or in Vietnam...  students of international business and opportunity seekers. I would also recommend it for the slightly adventuresome tourist, for veterans of the war generation who would go back out of curiosity or contrition. -- Dr. George F. Simons at, 2005

The focus throughout the book is the Vietnamese people, their culture, and their reaction to Western ideals. The book does an excellent job of maintaining a critical yet constructive view of both Western and Vietnamese cultures as they meet and interact. -- Nilar A.Chit Tun, Intercultural Management Quarterly, American University, 2005

A practical and relevant guide that provides a deeper understanding of Vietnam's rich heritage and recent changes. In-depth and comprehensive. -- Asian Pages, January 15-31, 2005

Vietnam is opening to the Western world. Contains history, cultural overview, and contemporary facts to ease the way. -- AsianWeek, January 28, 2005

About the Author

Mark A. Ashwill is the Managing Director of Capstone Vietnam, a human resource development company with offices in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) that offers a variety of education and training solutions for individual and institutional clients. From 2005 to 2009, he served as country director of the Institute of International Education in Vietnam.  Prior to moving to Vietnam, Ashwill was director of the World Languages Institute, adjunct lecturer and Fulbright program adviser at the State University of New York at Buffalo (SUNY-Buffalo).  In 2003 Dr. Ashwill became the first U.S. citizen to be awarded a Fulbright Senior Specialists Grant to Vietnam. He blogs at An International Educator in Vietnam.  Thai Ngoc Diep assisted in researching Vietnam Today. She received her undergraduate degree in Vietnam and Master's and Ph.D. degrees from SUNY-Buffalo.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Intercultural Press (November 4, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1931930090
  • ISBN-13: 978-1931930093
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.5 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #381,343 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By David V. Vu on December 25, 2005
Format: Paperback
As a Vietnamese-American living in the US for 26 years, I consider this book one of the best ever written about Vietnam nowadays undergoing great changes. Very insightful,honest, fair,well balanced, non bias and not influenced by,for the better or worse, the American experience in Vietnam. Only a few corrections are recommended for next editions. First the Chams ( not Chans), are a malay group of minorities.The group living in Central Vietnam are mainly hinduist while the other group living in the Delta ( province of An Giang ) are mainly muslim.They never consider themselves as Vietnamese but Chams whose civilization was destroyed by the Vietnamese. The name of the late President of South Vietnam missed the middle name. He is Ngo "dinh" Diem, still highly revered by the majority of Vietnamese overseas. I appreciate very much the fact that the author use the abbreviation HCM City for Saigon instead of the full name which is anathema for many Vietnamese. Very clever and sensitive. The quotation about letting the windows open will let a few flies and mosquitoes flying in is one of the famous quotation of Deng Xiao Ping which changed the history of China. The sub title " a Guide " can mislead a few readers to think that this book is just another touristic travel book about Vietnam ( most of them not well written and superficial). This book is much more valuable and insightful than all the recent books about Vietnam. Congratulations !!!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Richard Fitzpatrick on July 12, 2007
Format: Paperback
VietNam is land full of promise and potential -- yet is faced with pressing political and economic challenges. VIETNAM TODAY provides a valuable picture of VietNam, past and present, and defines the issues and trends of today. It is a very practical guide that captures the culture, politics and complexity of today's VietNam - a nation of 80+ million - the thirteenth most populous country - with the second fastest growing economy.
It is significant to note that more than two-thirds of Vietnamese were born after the last American GI left in 1975. This book describes the 21st Century VietNam where, for the first time in more than 100 years, a generation has grown into adulthood not experiencing war or foreign domination.
VIETNAM TODAY was written for those who will visit VietNam on business, as well as for travelers who come on holiday also who want to know something about the country they are visiting. Furthermore, it should be read by Americans who want to understand VietNam as a country - not the name of a war.
It provides chapters on geography, demographics, politics, economy and business, history, changes since the war, cultural differences and offers invaluable tips for dealing with Vietnamese. It describes how to work with the fact that VietNam is a relationship-based society in which everyone is tapped into a network. It makes the observation that mavericks and lone wolves are likely to fail in making inroads here.
Particularly helpful is Chapter 7, "How the Vietnamese See Westerners." It presents impressions and reflections - positive, negative and constructively critical - from Vietnamese who have worked with foreigners for many years.
Don't let the subtitle "a Guide . .
Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Maclean J Storer on July 9, 2008
Format: Paperback
Vietnam is a country that is changing extremely rapidly in both economic and social spheres, adding to the bewilderment that many Westerners feel when dealing with the country and its inhabitants. This book provides a historical, demographic, economic and political background which explains many of the present cultural stances of the Vietnamese and the effects that has on business dealings.

This is not a travel guide in the conventional sense -- it caters for people who want to make more in-depth inquiry into the nature of the country, the people and its systems. As such, it is written in an academic tone, backed up by numerous references from previous authors and illuminated by examples of interactions between people from communal high-context cultures like Vietnam and individualistic low-context cultures as seen in the West.

The scholarship is impressive and valuable, and only occasionally glosses over important points -- the explanation of the Asian notion of face as a simple desire to maintain harmony, is perhaps worth expanding into the concept of the deep-rooted fear among people with a communal and high-context mindset of being expelled from "the group".

There are many nuggets of wisdom in here -- businessmen in particular will find engrossing detail in the section dealing with endemic corruption, and the sly ways in which its true nature is often concealed. Trends in modern-day Vietnam are examined thoroughly, although the country continues to change at such a rate that what was true when this book was published in 2004 may be less so now, especially after the unforeseen economic problems which struck the country in 2008. The basic insights, however, remain as true as ever.

This is an extremely worthwhile book for people with a serious interest in Vietnam and the Vietnamese people.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Thomas E. Davis TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 7, 2008
Format: Paperback
For its compact size, this book is the most comprehensive and useful guide available to understanding and dealing with the nation and culture of Vietnam. It's only four years old, so it's quite up-to-date. It covers Vietnamese history, geography, government, economics, education, communication, cultural values, common problems, and the process of building personal and business relationships.

This is no tourist guide; rather, it offers assistance in dealing with the Vietnamese as a people and a nation. It's ideal for those planning to live and work in Vietnam, or for those who work with Vietnamese living overseas, both temporary visitors and permanent residents. Highly recommended.
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