Quagmire: Nation-Building and Nature in the Mekong Delta

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Winner of the George Perkins Marsh Award

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 struggles of colonialism to the Cold War and the present day. Quagmire considers these struggles, their antecedents, and their legacies through the lens of environmental history.

"This work is an original and innovative approach to the contemporary history of Viet Nam." -Environmental History

"Biggs is clearly a major talent, who has written a path-breaking book that enables us to see, experience, and interpret the delta anew." -Journal of Contemporary Asia

David Biggs is associate professor of history at the University of California, Riverside.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Blending disciplinary perspectives from history, anthropology, and geography, Biggs approaches the Mekong Delta as a landscape—as things on the land, as people, institutions, discourses, artifacts, metaphors, and eco-logics—with a particularly unstable morphology." -Michael Kantor, H-HISTGEOG

"Quagmire is also an example of the challenges faced when trying to translate ambitions in historical narrative. How to tell a story of such complexity and nuance? . . . I expect [the answer] will come pretty close to the way Biggs has written his story." -Maurits Ertsen, Technology and Culture

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780295991993
  • Publisher: University of Washington Press
  • Publication date: 4/9/2012
  • Series: Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 322
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword: Nation-Making in the Mekong Mire William Cronon ix

Acknowledgments xv

Introduction 3

1 Water's Edge 23

2 Water Grid 53

3 Hydroagricultural Crisis 91

4 Balkanization 127

5 Modernization 153

6 American War 197

Epilogue 227

Notes 237

Bibliography 271

Index 289

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