Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — The biggest and most comprehensive-ever book collection on the history of Việt Nam has just hit bookcases throughout the country.
Titled Lịch Sử Việt Nam, the 15-episode collection was printed for the first time by the Việt Nam Academy of Social Sciences in 2015 with a limited number of 500 copies. The book was awarded Best Book in 2015 by the IRED Institute of Education and Phan Châu Trinh Foundation.
“This very first reprint will help the 10,000-page collection serve a wider audience,” said Vũ Dương Thúy Ngà, head of the Library Department within the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. “The collection will be sent to public libraries all over the country this time.”
According to Đinh Quang Hải, rector of Việt Nam History Institute, the collection covering Vietnamese history from early times to the year 2000 was a ministry-level research project hosted by the institute.
“The collection builds on basic knowledge in previous studies on the matter, besides focusing on including the most recent research by experts from history, archaeology, ethnology, religion and culture,” he said.
Trần Đức Cường, chairman of Việt Nam Association of History Science, stressed that the collection includes more details on two border wars between 1975 and 1988.
“The southwest border war is very clear. After we gained the reunification in 1975, the Pol Pot-allied Khieu Samphan and Ieng Sary attacked Việt Nam,” he said. “We had mobilised the army troops to protect our border. Besides helping Cambodian patriots, our volunteer troops marched to Cambodia to fight against Pol Pot to free the Cambodian people.”
He continued to talk about the south border war against Chinese in 1979.
“In this collection, we mentioned the exact number of soldiers, tanks and cannons that the Chinese used during the war between 1979 and 1988,” he said.
“I believe the figures and materials on the wars updated in the collection are highly objective and trustworthy,” commented researcher Hải.
According to Cường, the collection has some fresh ideas in comparison with previous studies.
First of all, the collection confirmed that the Vietnamese State was established early in the nation’s history, but was based on three different ancient kingdoms.
“These included Đông Sơn civilisation with Âu Lạc Kingdom [257-207BC], Sa Huỳnh civilisation with Chăm Pa Kingdom [192-1832] and Óc Eo civilisation with Phù Nam Kingdom [68-550],” he said.
“Before, scholars had just discussed the history of Âu Lạc Kingdom as the history of the whole Việt Nam,” he said.
This study also differs from predecessors by reexamining the royal reigns in Việt Nam throughout the history, this time more objectively.
For example, researchers came into conclusion that Mạc reign (1527-1677) was among reigns with good contributions to the country’s history.
The reign helped solve socio-economic problems handed down by the Lê reign (1428-1527).
The Nguyễn reign (1802-1945) was also re-judged with both achievements and mistakes.
“The Nguyễn kings had great contributions in unifying the country, confirming the national sovereignty,” he said, “But they did not apply reform, which resulted in the regression of the country’s society and economy, and enabled colonists to conquer the country more easily.”
Cường said the collection in general offers a more objective view on history than previous work. — VNS