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Quagmire: Nation-Building and Nature in the Mekong Delta (Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books)
In the twentieth century, the Mekong Delta has emerged as one of Vietnam's most important economic regions. Its swamps, marshes, creeks, and canals have played a major role in Vietnam's turbulent past, from the strles of colonialism to the Cold War and the present day. Quagmire considers these strles, their antecedents, and their legacies through the lens of environmental history.
Beginning with the French conquest in the 1860s and continuing to the American military campaigns of the 1960s and 70s, Biggs shows how engineered transformations of the Mekong Delta landscape figured in the evolving geopolitics of this region. Quagmire delves beyond common stereotypes to present an intricate, rich history.
David Biggs is Associate Professor of History at the University of California, Riverside.
"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 nation-building 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
Quagmire just got back from getting his "Summer Cut". I'm not too happy with the face but anything is better than what he had when it's 110 outside. He's not being too cooperative with the camera right now. I think he's annoyed with me.
Quagmire is taking odd angles for his MySpace profile of course.
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Pulitzer-prize winning author David Halberstam's eyewitness account provides a riveting narrative of how the United States created a major foreign policy disaster for itself in a faraway land it knew little about. In the introduction to this edition, historian Daniel J. Singal supplies crucial background information that was unavailable in the mid-1960s when the book was written. With its numerous firsthand recollections of life in the war zone, The Making of a Quagmire penetrates to the essence of what went wrong in Vietnam. Although its focus is the Kennedy era, its analysis of the blunders and misconceptions of American military and political leaders holds true for the entire war.
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