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/
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.
Paul Sutter is series editor for the Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books series. He is professor of history at the University of Colorado Boulder. He has published five books, including Driven Wild: How the Fight against Automobiles Launched the Modern Wilderness Movement (University of Washington Press, 2005) and Let Us Now Praise Famous Gullies: Providence Canyon and the Soils of the South (University of Georgia Press, 2015).
"[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
"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."
"A very welcome addition to the growing field of environmental history on Vietnam and on war and environment generally."
"[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