The Ghosts of Vietnam
In the last ten years, Vietnam has come awkwardly back into ordinary international life, obliged by the profound changes that have taken place in the world to shed its pose of defiant isolation.
Before 1945, Vietnam had all the allure of an emerging modern culture, with something cosmopolitan and something French added to its far older East and South Asian traditions. These tantalizing prospects were soon to be buried, unable to survive in either a garrison or a police state. For 30 years of war between 1945 and 1975, and for at least a decade thereafter, Vietnam became a country that prided itself on drabness and austerity, and seemed determined never again to become enticing.
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