(Cambridge University Press, 2019)
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North and South Vietnamese youths had very different experiences of growing up during the Vietnamese War. The book gives a unique perspective on the conflict through the prism of adult-youth relations. By studying these relations, including educational systems, social organizations, and texts created by and for children during the war, Olga Dror analyzes how the two societies dealt with their wartime experience and strove to shape their futures. She examines the socialization and politicization of Vietnamese children and teenagers, contrasting the North’s highly centralized agenda of indoctrination with the South, which had no such policy, and explores the results of these varied approaches. By considering the influence of Western culture on the youth of the South and of socialist culture on the youth of the North, we learn how the youth cultures of both Vietnams diverged from their prewar paths and from each other.
“By bringing to light the sharply contrasting political education and experiences of youths in the two Vietnams, Olga Dror’s pathbreaking and masterful study provides a key to understanding both the secret of Hanoi’s victory in the civil war and the postwar failure of communism in Vietnam.”
– Tuong Vu, University of Oregon
Olga Dror is associate professor of history at Texas A&M University