Guidebook Reading up

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Reading up

8 incredible books to read before you visit Vietnam. Wanderlust has compiled this list of some of the best books about Vietnam:

A Dragon Apparent by Norman Lewis: “First published in 1951, this sees Lewis documenting his travels through Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, although it is mainly set in Vietnam ... through immersing himself in the local life, Lewis presents a fascinating insight of West meeting East.”

The Quiet American by Graham Greene: “The novel is about an optimistic, naïve American official who is sent to Saigon to promote democracy through a mysterious ‘Third Force’. It is a cautionary tale, and a lot of factors in this story subsequently happened in real life, in terms of the outcome of the Vietnam War and American involvement.”

Mad About The Mekong by John Keay: “Tells the story of the Mekong River from its delta in Vietnam up through Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar, China and Tibet … drenched in history, the 12th longest river in the world has not undergone much industrialisation and until about 20 years ago, it didn’t have any bridges.”

The Rough Guide to Vietnam: “Contains detailed listings for destinations throughout the country and divides the information into easy to digest sections, with amazing colour photography throughout. Introductory chapters advise where and when to go, authors picks, things not to miss and suggested itineraries … a whole section on 'basics' covers accommodation recommendations from cheap to luxury, food and drink, safety, shopping, sports, travelling with children and travel essentials.”

Vietnam - Rising Dragon by Bill Hayton: “An intensive crash course in the history, politics and economics of the country … Hayton looks beyond the Vietnam that is presented to tourists and explains how the country works today, with capitalism flooding into the nominally communist society and cultural traditions being influenced by modern pressures.”

The Penguin History of Modern Vietnam by Christopher Goscha: “Having been both colonisers and victims of colonisation over the centuries, Vietnam has survived and retained so much culture, while evolving with the Western influences that have shaped it into the much loved tourist destination of today … this book will help you understand the many layers of history from an insider’s perspective.”

Ho Chi Minh City & South Vietnam Footprint Handbook: “This pocket sized guide to Ho Chi Minh City and South Vietnam covers the country's largest, most energetic city, taking readers through an impressive list of sights, from the Notre Dame Cathedral, the opera house and the old post office to the art deco buildings of the Donh Khoi street, buildings from the French colonial era and an array of pagodas, museums and markets.”

At Home in the World by Thich Nhat Hanh: “A selection of Zen teachings and autobiographical stories written by the Vietnamese Buddist monk and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh … he reminisces about his childhood in rural Vietnam, his initial years as a novice monk, his experiences as a writer during a time when war created a huge upheaval to the country, right up to recent times when he has been travelling the world and reaching out to a modern audience in need of 'mindfulness'.”

And here are some useful websites that take you deep inside Vietnam:

Rusty Compass Vietnam Coracle Travelfish Vietnam Travel’s listing of websites Lonely Planet online Rough Guides online

The Basics
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