Winner of IBP 2011 Humanities
Stein Tønnesson, Vietnam 1946. How the War Began. University of California Press, 2010.
It is immediately apparent that Vietnam 1946: How the War Began is an important book. Tønnesson argues that this was not merely an ideological conflict, as has hitherto been regarded and understood, but one that was first and foremost the result of geo-political blunders and misreading by all parties involved during the immediate aftermath of the Second World War. Significantly, He argues that the conflict could have been prevented, and concludes by examining how each of the key figures involved might have acted to prevent war. One of the great strengths of Vietnam 1946 is that it is the product of several decades of research and reflection. It carries the authority of an author who has closely studied both the available sources and the individuals involved in the decision-making processes. We are pleased to award the IBP 2011 Humanities to Stein Tønnesson for his compelling narrative that ultimately recognises the limits of historical enquiry, for important records remain unavailable.
Shortlist IBP 2011 Humanities
Rachel V. Harrison & Peter A. Jackson (eds), The Ambiguous Allure of the West; traces of the Colonial in Thailand. Hongkong University Press, 2010.
Rebecca Nedostup, Superstitious Regimes. Religion and the Politics of Chinese Modernity. Harvard University Press, 2009.
Sandra Niessen, Legacy in Cloth. Batak Textiles in Indonesia. KITLV Press, 2009.
Karen Strassler, Refracted Visions. Popular Photography and National Modernity in Java. Duke University Press, 2010