Footprints of War
Militarized Landscapes in Vietnam
- PUBLISHED: August 2021
- SUBJECT LISTING: History / Environmental History, Asian Studies / Southeast Asia
- BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: 288 Pages, 6 x 9 in, 55 b&w illus., 9 color plates (280 pp plus 8 pp insert)
- SERIES: Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books
- ISBN: 9780295749730
- Publisher: University of Washington Press
When American forces arrived in Vietnam, they found themselves embedded in historic village and frontier spaces already shaped by many past conflicts. American bases and bombing targets followed spatial and political logics influenced by the footprints of past wars in central Vietnam. The militarized landscapes here, like many in the world’s historic conflict zones, continue to shape post-war land-use politics.
Footprints of War traces the long history of conflict-produced spaces in Vietnam, beginning with early modern wars and the French colonial invasion in 1885 and continuing through the collapse of the Saigon government in 1975. The result is a richly textured history of militarized landscapes that reveals the spatial logic of key battles such as the Tet Offensive.
Drawing on extensive archival work and years of interviews and fieldwork in the hills and villages around the city of Hue to illuminate war’s footprints, David Biggs also integrates historical Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data, using aerial, high-altitude, and satellite imagery to render otherwise placeless sites into living, multidimensional spaces. This personal and multilayered approach yields an innovative history of the lasting traces of war in Vietnam and a model for understanding other militarized landscapes.
For more information visit the author's website: http://davidbiggs.net/
Authors & Contributors
David Biggs is associate professor of history at the University of California, Riverside. He is the author of Quagmire: Nation-Building and Nature in the Mekong Delta, which won the George Perkins Marsh Prize for the best book in environmental history.
[O]ne of those rare works that combines practical benefits with broad scholarly significance . . . outstanding. Its original arguments, and the diversity of peoples contained within its pages—Vietnamese, Cham, Chinese, French, French colonial, Japanese, American—ensure that the book will matter to historians of Vietnam, the United States, and the world.- Journal of World History
A very welcome addition to the growing field of environmental history on Vietnam and on war and environment generally.- Environmental History
Presents the history of this area as a form of stratigraphy, excavating layers of sedimented past where multiple military conflicts occurred. . . . A very welcome addition to the growing field of environmental history on Vietnam and on war and environment generally.- Environmental History
[O[ffers readers an intriguing new perspective on the long history of military conflict and occupation in central Vietnam by integrating environmental perspectivves with more traditional military and political histories..an inspiring application of robust historical research to solving modern environmental problems caused by war.- LSE Review of Books
In this compelling and original book, Biggs innovatively combines environmental and social history to offer a fundamentally new narrative about the impact of war on Vietnamese society in the twentieth century.- Mark Philip Bradley, University of Chicago
David Biggs’s second major book on the social and environmental history of modern Vietnam. His nuanced use of Vietnamese-language publications and his extensive interviews with local people are outstanding. He tells a compelling story in fluent, vivid, and even lyrical prose, expressing compassionate insight into both society and ecosystem.- Richard P. Tucker, University of Michigan
In this rich and innovative new book, David Biggs considers the spatial dimension of the war in Vietnam through an examination of the densely layered militarized landscapes around Huế. The result is a gem, a fluid, authoritative, compelling work that shows just how deep, complex, and long-lasting were ‘the footprints of war.’- Fredrik Logevall, author of Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam