World Publishing House, Hanoi (Nhà Xuất Bản Thế Giới) has published my latest book Delta to Delta: The Vietnamese Move South. This is the story of how, from the 15th through the 18th centuries, the three separate parts of Vietnam became one unified country with essentially the borders it has today.
Part One: The Players covers the history, from ancient times until the mid-15th century, cultural development, social organization and economy of the Vietnamese in the North, the Chăm in the Center and the Khmer in the South.
The narrative of Vietnamese expansion begins with Part Two: Expanding Horizons, describing the defeat and annexation of the largest Chăm kingdom, the subsequent civil wars in the 16th-17th centuries that devastated the North and triggered migration to the South, the division of the country and the establishment of the Nguyến Lords’ realm in Central Vietnam.
Part Three: The Last Frontier narrates Vietnamese and Chinese migration into the Mekong Delta, Vietnamese involvement in Cambodian succession quarrels, the collapse of the Nguyễn Lords’ state, the Tây Sơn movement’s rise and fall and the final establishment of the Nguyễn Dynasty over a unified Vietnam.
Besides the historical narrative, the book also describes the adaptations Vietnamese migrants made to adjust to very different environments and the cultural traits they adopted from their Chăm and Khmer neighbors. It includes many color and b/w illustrations. (cover design by Hiệp Hà Dũng, photos by Jim Goodman)