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Tours of Vietnam: War, Travel Guides, and Memory
     

Tours of Vietnam: War, Travel Guides, and Memory

by Scott Laderman, Emily S. Rosenberg
 

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ISBN-10: 0822344149

ISBN-13: 9780822344148

Pub. Date: 01/16/2009

Publisher: Duke University Press Books

In Tours of Vietnam, Scott Laderman demonstrates how tourist literature has shaped Americans’ understanding of Vietnam and projections of United States power since the mid-twentieth century. Laderman analyzes portrayals of Vietnam’s land, history, culture, economy, and people in travel narratives, U.S. military guides, and tourist guidebooks,

Overview

In Tours of Vietnam, Scott Laderman demonstrates how tourist literature has shaped Americans’ understanding of Vietnam and projections of United States power since the mid-twentieth century. Laderman analyzes portrayals of Vietnam’s land, history, culture, economy, and people in travel narratives, U.S. military guides, and tourist guidebooks, pamphlets, and brochures. Whether implying that Vietnamese women were in need of saving by “manly” American military power or celebrating the neoliberal reforms Vietnam implemented in the 1980s, ostensibly neutral guides have repeatedly represented events, particularly those related to the Vietnam War, in ways that favor the global ambitions of the United States.

Tracing a history of ideological assertions embedded in travel discourse, Laderman analyzes the use of tourism in the Republic of Vietnam as a form of Cold War cultural diplomacy by a fledgling state that, according to one pamphlet published by the Vietnamese tourism authorities, was joining the “family of free nations.” He chronicles the evolution of the Defense Department pocket guides to Vietnam, the first of which, published in 1963, promoted military service in Southeast Asia by touting the exciting opportunities offered by Vietnam to sightsee, swim, hunt, and water-ski. Laderman points out that, despite historians’ ongoing and well-documented uncertainty about the facts of the 1968 “Hue Massacre” during the National Liberation Front’s occupation of the former imperial capital, the incident often appears in English-language guidebooks as a settled narrative of revolutionary Vietnamese atrocity. And turning to the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City, he notes that, while most contemporary accounts concede that the United States perpetrated gruesome acts of violence in Vietnam, many tourists and travel writers still dismiss the museum’s display of that record as little more than “propaganda.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780822344148
Publisher:
Duke University Press Books
Publication date:
01/16/2009
Series:
American Encounters/Global Interactions
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
312
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

Prefatory Note: The Nomenclature of the Vietnam War ix

Acknowledgments xiii

Abbreviations and Acronyms xvii

Introduction: History, Tourism, and the Question of Empire 1

1. Tourism and State Legitimacy in the Republic of Vietnam 15

2. Educating Private Ryan: Tourism and the United States Military in Postcolonial Vietnam 47

3. "They Set About Revenging Themselves on the Population": The "Hue Massacre" and the Shaping of Historical Consciousness 87

4. The New Modernizers: Naturalizing Capitalism in Doi Moi Vietnam 123

5. "The Other Side of the War": Memory and Meaning at the War Remnants Museum 151

Epilogue: Tourism and the Martial Fascination 183

Notes 189

References 249

Index 271

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