Since the mid-1980s, Vietnam has experienced remarkable economic, political, and social change. This is the first study in English to focus on rural Vietnam — where nearly 80 per cent of its people live, much of its economic production occurs, and political upheavals earlier this century changed the course of history. Analyzing the impact of economic liberalization on the countryside, the contributors note that despite significant improvements in real income for most rural Vietnamese, poverty is still pronounced and socio-economic inequality appears to be growing. The poorest now appear to have less access to educational and health services. Environmental conditions also pose significant problems. Highlighting the dynamic political scene in Vietnam, the contributors also consider the interplay between national policymaking and local pressures and activity.