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Quagmire: Nation-Building and Nature in the Mekong Delta (Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books) Hardcover – International Edition, February 3, 2011
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Perhaps the most significant contribution of Quagmire lies in its theoretical balance between the agency of man and nature within nation-building processes. --Kevin Whalen
"No one before Biggs has focused so intensely on the landscapes and waterscapes in which the Vietnam War was fought and their relationship to the complex colonial history of transformation that had been occurring for the century prior to the conflict."―William Cronon
"This brilliantly researched book explains the part that the environment has played in several colonial schemes in the Mekong Delta and in America’s most tragic war there, and how the environmental history of the Mekong Delta has been part of the process of nationbuilding in Vietnam."―Mart Stewart, Western Washington University
"The delta, has played a decisive role in the successes and the failures of colonial and post―colonial regimes, of the American war efforts, and of modernization and development. Biggs’s focus on the muddied delta and its ‘quagmire’ characteristics that shaped every economic, agriculture, and political project is among the first of its kind."―Thongchai Winichakul, University of Wisconsin―Madison
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I have been a resident in the Mekong delta for 17 years, and I keep returning to David Biggs' book for reference or just for the good read.
Biggs is very well informed, arguably the most up-to-date historian on the Mekog delta today, but he also writes a vivid and engaging prose.
Some of the illustrations make me dream of large prints on my walls. (as we are approaching Christmas, I am thinking of the digging of Chợ Gạo canal, by hand, with this lonesome manager on a horse, lost in the crowd)
All in all, a very good book.