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Misalliance: Ngo Dinh Diem, the United States, and the Fate of South…

de Edward Miller

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"As leader of South Vietnam from 1954 to 1963, Ngo Dinh Diem was hailed by some as a "miracle man" who had saved his country from communism. Others denounced him as a U.S. puppet or as a reactionary mandarin. In Misalliance, Edward Miller refutes these simplistic caricatures and presents a new interpretation of Diem and the rise and fall of his alliance with the United States. Drawing on American, French, and Vietnamese archival sources, Miller shows how Diem engineered his own rise to power and outmaneuvered his rivals in Saigon during the mid-1950s. He then embarked on an ambitious program of nation building that was based not on the advice offered by his U.S. advisors, but on his own vision of Vietnam's modernization. Overturning the conventional wisdom about Diem, Miller shows that he was a man with a plan--a plan that turned out to be deeply flawed, with disastrous consequences for both Vietnam and the United States"--Provided by publisher.… (mais)
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I've read a fair amount about post-colonial Vietnam over the years but never have I read a book that was so enlightening about Diem as a man and what his motivations in governance were and which made clear how serious he took his own agenda of social and moral improvement as being the real end of good government, at least when he wasn't playing off other rivals for power in Saigon. However, it's also quite clear that American politicians & officials, with their focus on economic development and governmental organization never quite grasped these motivations, which tied into a strong current of American doubt over Diem's long-term political durability. A matter which has tended to be overshadowed by the legend of Diem as an American puppet from the start. Of course, it's not to say that most Vietnamese took either the Diem or the American "options" as their preference; the failure to truly engage in grass-roots level politics remains the tragedy of South Vietnam. ( )
  Shrike58 | Mar 15, 2017 |
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"As leader of South Vietnam from 1954 to 1963, Ngo Dinh Diem was hailed by some as a "miracle man" who had saved his country from communism. Others denounced him as a U.S. puppet or as a reactionary mandarin. In Misalliance, Edward Miller refutes these simplistic caricatures and presents a new interpretation of Diem and the rise and fall of his alliance with the United States. Drawing on American, French, and Vietnamese archival sources, Miller shows how Diem engineered his own rise to power and outmaneuvered his rivals in Saigon during the mid-1950s. He then embarked on an ambitious program of nation building that was based not on the advice offered by his U.S. advisors, but on his own vision of Vietnam's modernization. Overturning the conventional wisdom about Diem, Miller shows that he was a man with a plan--a plan that turned out to be deeply flawed, with disastrous consequences for both Vietnam and the United States"--Provided by publisher.

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