By Lê Hương
The first ever bilingual photo book featuring President Hồ Chí Minh’s Testament has been published by the Vietnam News Agency Publishing House in conjunction with the Hồ Chí Minh National Politics Institute and the Hồ Chí Minh Museum.
The cover of the new photo book. VNS Photo Lê Hương
Titled 50 Năm Thực Hiện Di Chúc Của Chủ Tịch Hồ Chí Minh, 1969-2019 (50 Years of Implementing President Hồ Chí Minh’s Testament, 1969-2019), the 280-page Vietnamese-English book features the leader’s testament as a historic document with both theoretical and practical values.
Hundreds of photos have been included to illustrate the great achievements of Việt Nam’s revolution over the past 50 years and the efforts by the Party and people to carry out the leader’s will: “Building a peaceful, reunified, independent, democratic and prosperous Việt Nam along with building and fortifying the Party as well as constructing a pure and strong political system”.
A photo from the book shows President Hồ hoeing the land to plant vegetables in a resistance base during the war against the French.
“We have compiled the book following the guidelines of the Central Party and leaders of the Vietnam News Agency,” director of the publishing house Nguyễn Thế Sơn told Việt Nam News. “We have the advantage of having close access to the agency’s databank of photos and news as well as the abundant source of current news while compiling the book.”
The book is divided into three parts. The first includes various drafts of the testament, hand-written by the leader himself, and the situations in which the President wrote each part of the document.
The book also analyses details that make the document unique and historic.
“The testament is the outcome of President Hồ Chí Minh’s preoccupation and thought about the future of the nation; the succinct and scientific summarisation of the process of our people’s revolutionary struggle under the leadership of the Party, the creative theoretical development; the draft platform for national construction; and the inner wish, sentiment, will, belief and responsibility of President Hồ Chí Minh towards the Motherland, people and revolutionary cause,” the book reads.
“The testament shows the bright morality and noble humanism of President Hồ Chí Minh – a national liberation hero and a pre-eminent culturist,” it continues. "The testament is a document that stirs the hearts of millions of people and inspires not only our people but also everyone who struggles for freedom, independence, peace, justice and happiness of humans."
The second part of the book features the achievements of the Vietnamese revolution after 50 years of implementing President Hồ’s testament, while the third part focuses on Party building and rectification as well as studying and following Hồ Chí Minh’s thought, morality and lifestyle.
A photo from the book shows a seagoing vessel being repaired at Bạch Đằng Shipyard in the city of Hải Phòng.
“Our biggest challenge is how to link the photos into a smooth story,” said Phùng Thị Mỹ, deputy editor-in-chief of the publishing house.
“Otherwise, the photo book will be no more than a photo essay," Mỹ said. "So the role of the editor, who wrote the introduction for each chapter and caption for each photo, is very important. Selecting photos is also important. Among the many file photos of the Vietnam News Agency, the Hồ Chí Minh Museum and the Hồ Chí Minh National Politics Institute, we had to choose the best photos for each part. For example, in the part on achievements, we had to select typical photos depicting achievements representing every sector, region and period.”
“Due to the large number of photos, we took great care to provide the exact information, dates, figures and names, on which it is quite easy to make mistakes when dealing with file photos,” she said.
According to Nguyễn Văn Huê, a member of the book’s editorial board, the photo book is among the first of its kind featuring one of the most important documents of the country, though there have been many books on the same topic already.
“I think the topic is interesting and challenging as well,” he said, “To select photos for such a book, it’s a huge and challenging task.
“Ït’s a historical book but it deals with current affairs updated until this month (August this year) and the President’s Testament and the movement to learn and follow his morality and his will.”
The joy of going to school shown in a photo from the book.
Vũ Mạnh Long, the book's designer, said he had spent lots of time retouching old photos.
“I created a separate style for the book,” Long said. “I tried to design the pages so that the photos bring their power into play. Each page should have a main photo while the subordinate photos support the main one's topic to tell the story in the most eye-catching way.”
The book is being sold for VNĐ390,000 (US$16.8) at Thăng Long Book Store, 34 Tràng Tiền Street, Hà Nội; the publishing house's office in 79 Lý Thường Klệt Street, Hà Nội; and the Vietnam News Agency's representative office at 120 Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai Street, District 1, HCM City. It is now available at provincial libraries, libraries of colleges and universities as well as information centres of ministries and State agencies throughout the country. VNS