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Culture and Customs of Vietnam

By Mark W. McLeod, Nguyen Thi Dieu

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Review by Allison Martin

Culture and Customs of Vietnam is a comprehensive, scholarly overview of Vietnamese history and culture. While the extent and scholarly depth of the text is impressive, the style of writing is accessible and easy to follow. Written by a husband and wife team, with years of experience in Vietnam and its culture, this well developed text provides a detailed look at most of the major areas of Vietnamese culture and customs. Topic areas covered include Vietnamese history, cultural impacts of war and occupation, religion, literature, architecture, food and cuisine, family culture, festivals, and the arts.

The main focus of the book is the time period just prior to and during the occupation of Vietnam by France, but they address a wide span of events and customs s from early historical time to present day culture. Readers are sure to be impressed by the breadth and sincerity of the discussions. These chapters provide a firm underpinning for to understand present day Vietnamese and their culture, both in Vietnam and in as immigrants to other countries. The documentation of the complex interweaving of other cultures such as France, China, southern Asia with native Kinh culture, to produce modern Vietnamese influence is sure to fascinate anyone interested in Vietnamese customs.

I would heartily recommend Culture and Customs of Vietnam for anyone who is interested in a more complete understanding of Vietnam and its people.

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