This book has taken many, too many, years to complete, and over the years
I have accrued innumerable debts, which I happily acknowledge here. As
a graduate student at Cornell University, I benefited from the insights and
criticisms of friends, colleagues, and professors. I would like to thank Jojo
Abinales, Donna Amoroso, Benedict Anderson, Myra Best, Ðô Văn Gia,
Bruce Lockhart, Sherman and Janice Cochran, Walter Cohen, Christoph
Giebel, Stephen Graw, Emily Hill, Huỳnh Kim Khánh, George Kahin, J.Vic-
tor Koschmann, Micheline Lessard, Shawn McHale, Michael Montesano,
John Najemy, Nguyễn Ngọc Kim-Khôi, Virginia Shih, Takashi Shiraishi,
James T. Siegel, Jonathan Stromseth, Keith Taylor, Nora Taylor, Thaveeporn
Vasavakul, Trịnh Kim-Chi, Christine White, Oliver Wolters, David Wyatt,
Emoretta Yang, and Peter Zinoman. In the post-Cornell years, a number of
people were gracious enough to read this manuscript in one or more of its
earlier versions: David Chandler, Hafid Gafaiti, Rita Smith Kipp, Li Tana,
Bruce Lockhart, David Marr, Anatoli Sokolov, and Alexander Woodside.
Even though some blunders inevitably remain, these readers have saved me
from committing many more, and their comments made me question my
assumptions and approach.
I conducted most of the research for this book in three places: the Karl
Kroch Library at Cornell, where Margaret Crawford and Allen Riedy were
especially helpful; the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore, di-
rected then by Kernial Sandhu; and the Institute of History in Hanoi. In
addition to thanking Dương Trung Quốc, Nguyễn Hồng Phong, and Văn
Tạo, the directors of the Institute, who were always professional and kind,
I would like to acknowledge the contributions of Văn Lan, Minh Tranh,
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