A Google search for a book on Vietnamese history will result in an overwhelming number about the war, which ended in 1975. This book offers an overview of Vietnamese history from prehistory to the present day and is written for people interested in history from a traveler’s perspective. It specifically focuses on the period from 700 to 111 BCE. It briefly discusses the origin of the Vietnamese, the three characters who shaped its early history: the Hùng kings – the founders of Vietnam; An Dương Vương, Zhao Tuo (Triệu Đà) and the battles involved during the transfer of power from one to the next. The final battle ended the country’s autonomy and placed the country under Chinese dynastic rule for one thousand years to the 10th century.
It also tells the stories of the mythical Four Immortals, the bronze drums manufactured in the north, and the earrings produced in the central and southern parts of the country. It recounts the tragic love story of the Magic Crossbow, the 2200-year-old fort of Cổ Loa, and its builder, An Dương Vương. It describes the key battles, including the invasion of the Yue kingdoms by the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, his general, Zhao Tuo, and the ending of the Nan-Yue kingdom. It has 71 photographs, maps, and diagrams showing locations of interest to a traveler but limited to this period only. It also includes lines from some famous Vietnamese poems, songs, and quotes, all translated into English. Sources of the books came from archaeological evidence, works by historians, ancient Chinese texts, and Vietnamese records, plus more recent academic papers and local newspaper articles. The book aims to draw a balance between telling stories that engage a traveler and, at the same time discussing historical findings that are of interest to serious scholars. It is Volume One of six volumes covering the history of Vietnam to 1954. The other volumes are to be published in the next few years.
List of Figures
Chapter 1 – Rivers, mountains, and the Seas.
Chapter 2 – 2500+ Years of History.
Chapter 3 – A Summary of this book.
Chapter 4 – The Hùng Kings and the Yue.
Chapter 5 – The Four Immortals.
Chapter 6 – The Prehistory to the Hùng Kings – The Origin of the Vietnamese (Part II).
Chapter 7 – Flying Egrets and Plumed Warriors.
Chapter 8 – The Last Hùng King and the 2000-year-old Fortification.
Chapter 9 – The Magic Crossbow and the Tragic end of the Man from Shu.
Chapter 10 – A Time of War.
Chapter 11 – The End of Autonomy.
Chapter 12 – History Revisited.
Chapter 13 – A Time to Trade.
Chapter 14 – Conclusions.
Appendix 1 – Key sources of early Vietnamese history in the Chinese language.
Appendix 2 – Sources of Vietnamese history by Vietnamese authors written pre-19th century.
Appendix 3 – Names in Vietnamese, Pinyin Chinese, and English.
Appendix 4 – Vietnamese urban and rural districts (Quận and Huyện).
Appendix 5 – The kingdom of Văn Lang.
Appendix 6 – Other views of Việt and Yue.
Appendix 7 – Of stone axes and pottery jars.
Appendix 8 – The prefecture of Tây Vu.