Christopher Goscha resituates the Vietnamese revolution and war against the French into its Asian context. Breaking with nationalist and colonial historiographies which have largely locked Vietnam into 'Indochinese' or 'Nation-state' straightjackets, Goscha takes Thailand as his point of departure for exploring how the Vietnamese revolution was intimately linked to Asia between the birth of the 'Save the King Movement' in 1885 and the Battle of Dien Bien Phu in 1954.
But his study is more than just a political history. Goscha brings geography to bear on his subject with a passion. While he considers the little-known political movements of such well-known faces as Phan Boi Chau and Ho Chi Minh across Southeast Asia, the author takes us into the complex Asian networks stretching from northeastern Thailand and the port of Bangkok to southern China and Hong Kong - and beyond. There, we see how Ho and Chau drew upon an invisible army of Vietnamese and Chinese traders, criminals, prostitutes, sailors and above all the thousands of emigres living in Vietnamese communities in Thailand.