The best biography of Ho, but that's not saying much at all
By Mani Tadayon - December 7, 2003
First, one should be very clear that there are really no other serious scholarly works on Ho. There are accounts by journalists and Vietnamese who knew Ho, but these are usually very shallow and involve little or no research.This book is a good general introduction to Ho Chi Minh and Vietnamese history, but lacks crucial insight into Ho's life after World War 2, which is very disappointing. Ho Chi Minh was a remarkable person if only for the number of languages he spoke (French, English, Russian, Chinese, Vietnamese) and the breadth of his knowledge and experience. He is very unlike the grim, close-minded communist stereotype. Ho's globe-trotting life, however, makes the biographer's job tremendously difficult, as he frequently went from one corner of the world to another, often living in secrecy or in remote jungles with a small group of colleagues. Conducting interviews with people who knew Ho and his colleagues is probably not possible today. Those still living who knew Ho... read more
a welcome addition to understanding Ho Chi Minh.
By A Customer - October 9, 2000
695 pages of valuable and well written research on Ho Chi Minh. For westerners this is a much needed book, dispelling many myths and providing great detail on this otherwise secretive leader of Vietnam. Although some publicity indicated it is the only biography on Ho Chi Minh and that isn't true, it far surpasses those of Charles Fenn and Jean lLcouture both written before the war in Vietnam ended in 1975. Of course a lot more information became available over time. It's just amazing how much of it the author found, some coming from France and Russian archives. Having just returned from a trip to Ha Noi where Ho is even more a symbol of the country then Washington is to us, it was good to find this newly published book to put a human face on the man still called Uncle Ho and revered by his people. For those interested in the facts of Ho Chi Minh's life rather then the propaganda put out by those who revere him and those who hate him, this is the book to read. Then draw your own... read more
Nationalist or Communist?
By Shogun Len "tokieyasu" - February 21, 2001
This has been a good year of biographies for us social studies teachers. Short's excellent look at Mao, Bix's bio of Hirohito, and a tough but neccessary read on Ataturk. After all of that reading and bucks spent on books I was looking forward to reading some fun stuff. But how could any good global studies teacher pass a new biography of Ho Chi Minh. He, like Ataturk, has only been on every New York State Global Regents for the last 6 years! And I certainly could not resist after seeing Duiker on c-span discussing the book.First and foremost...is it a good book? YES! It was very informative and highly readable once you made it past the opening chapters and got used to reading the endless Vietnamese names. Also, please note that while the book is readable, it is not a fast read. This book took me over three months to read, and I am a pretty avid reader with a decent background in Vietnamese history. So be warned, great book but time consuming.The book is well... read more