The China Journal and Cold War History review CWIHP Book Behind the Bamboo Curtain by Priscilla Roberts

Oct 02, 2008

Carlyle A. Thayer of Ohio University, writing in The China Journal, and Marilyn B. Young of New York University reviewed Behind the Bamboo Curtain: China, Vietnam, and the World Beyond Asia, edited by Priscilla Roberts and published as part of the Cold War International History Project Book Series.

Thayer writes that "Behind the Bamboo Curtain is a mammoth collection of papers that were first delivered to a [CWIHP co-sponsored] conference on 'New Evidence on China, Southeast Asia, and the Vietnam War,' held at Hong Kong University in January 2000. This edited collection contains thirteen substantive chapters written by fourteen authors. It opens with a 52-page introduction by the editor, Priscilla Roberts, which is longer than all but one of the chapters that follow. Roberts not only summarizes the important findings of each contributor, but also discusses several papers that were not included. Her editorial hand is evident throughout the volume as she links discussions of topics across chapters."

Moving beyond the introduction, Young writes that "some of the essays go over more familiar ground but do so with rich detail not previously available. Yang Kuisong's spirited account of 'Mao Zedong and the Indochina Wars,' for example, draws a vivid portrait of a committed revolutionary who could, when necessary, 'sober up and heed the realities of power politics' (p. 91). There is nothing particularly surprising in Yang's interpretation, but his description of Mao's patient explanation to a visiting Albanian delegation of the correctness of Vietnam's peace negotiations with the U.S. is worth the price of admission."

Click here to visit The China Journal's website, and here to visit Cold War History's website.

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