A History


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About the Book

Saigon (since 1976, officially Hồ Chí Minh City but widely still referred to as Saigon) is the largest metropolitan area in modern Vietnam and has long been the country’s economic engine. This is the city’s complete history, from its humble beginnings as a Khmer village in the swampy Mekong delta to its emergence as a major political, economic and cultural hub.
The city’s many transitions through the hands of the Chams, Khmers, Vietnamese, Chinese, French, Japanese, Americans, nationalists and communists are examined in detail, as well as the Saigon-led resistance to collectivization and the city’s central role in Vietnam’s perestroika-like economic reforms.

About the Author(s)

Nghia M. Vo, a Vietnamese-American, has written multiple books on Vietnamese culture. He helped found the nonprofit Saigon Arts, Culture & Education Institute and works to document Vietnamese-American culture through conferences, publications and a website.

Bibliographic Details

Nghia M. Vo
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 307
Bibliographic Info: tables, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2011
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6466-1
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8634-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1

1. The Riverine Trading Post (1698–1777)      7

2. Gia Dịnh/Saigon, the Royal Capital (1777–1802)      28

3. Saigon Under the Warlords (1802–1835)      46

4. Colonial Saigon (1858–1920)      59

5. Saigon Through World War II (1920–1945)      88

6. Saigon Under Bao Dai (1945–1954)      110

7. Saigon Under the Ngos (1954–1963)      125

8. American Saigon      145

9. Saigon and the Generals (1967–1975)      158

10. Red Saigon (1975–1988)      192

11. Resurgent Saigon (1988–2010)      223

12. The Little Saigons      249

Epilogue      257

Appendix: Saigon Street Names According to Periods in History      263

Chapter Notes      265

Bibliography      291

Index      297

Book Reviews & Awards

“offers a detailed, affectionate history of the city from its birth as a minor coastal trading post in the late 15th century, through various conquests and re-conquests by warlords and foreign powers, to its present status as a global city”—Reference & Research Book News; “Engaging history”—Ronald B. Frankum, Jr., PhD, Chair, Department of History, Millersville University of Pennsylvania; “In an exquisitely drawn chronicle, Dr. Nghia Vo outlines Saigon’s beginning from a humble village in a muddy swamp, to one of Asia’s premier cities. Vo captivates the reader by weaving Saigon’s turbulent growth within the bloody history of South Vietnam. At times poignant, Vo writes with passion about his home, lamenting its devastation at the hands of the Communist’s, while proud of Saigon’s amazing resilience. Required reading for anyone seeking to understand the South Vietnamese, their plight, and their incredible resurgence after the war.”—George J. Veith, author of Code Name Bright Light: The Untold Story of U.S. POW Rescue Efforts during the Vietnam War, and Black April: The Fall of South Vietnam, 1973–75.