Tours of Vietnam: war, travel guides, and memory

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Duke University Press,
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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.”

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Grouped Work ID 69b98e03-d498-7ac2-607d-7dbdf4fda380
full_title tours of vietnam war travel guides and memory
author laderman scott
grouping_category book
lastUpdate 2017-08-14 05:04:55AM

Solr Details

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author Laderman, Scott, 1971-
author_display Laderman, Scott
available_at_arlington Central
collection_arlington Adult Nonfiction
detailed_location_arlington Central Adult Nonfiction
format_arlington Book
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itype_arlington Paperback
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literary_form Non Fiction
literary_form_full Non Fiction
local_callnumber_arlington 959.704 LADER
owning_library_arlington Arlington Public Library, Aurora Hills, Central, Cherrydale, Columbia Pike, Connection Crystal City, Detention Center, Glencarlyn, Local History, Plaza, Shirlington, Westover
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primary_isbn 9780822343967
publishDate 2009
record_details ils:.b13265891|Book|Books||English|Duke University Press,|2009.|xv, 289 p. ; 25 cm.
recordtype grouped_work
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series American encounters/global interactions
series_with_volume American encounters/global interactions
subject_facet United States -- Relations -- Vietnam, Vietnam -- History -- 20th century, Vietnam -- Politics and government -- 1945-1975, Vietnam -- Relations -- United States
title_display Tours of Vietnam : war, travel guides, and memory
title_full Tours of Vietnam : war, travel guides, and memory / Scott Laderman
title_short Tours of Vietnam :
title_sub war, travel guides, and memory