Ho Chi Minh


My better half actually bought this for herself. A dyed in the wool capitalist, she’s got a strange obsession with Leninist-Stalinist strongmen like Mao and Minh.

But I’m the one who wound up reading it first, mainly because it was there.

What can I say? It’s light reading, but not very illuminating. Official statements for public view don’t tell one very much. The interesting bits were gleaming a few bits of history that I didn’t know (taken with a grain of salt) and it was also interesting to see an article that he had written in the early thirties about the lynching in America (something that was on the rise at the time).

At first, I thought that some of the writing (translated, of course) came across as almost an Orwellian parody of itself. Talk about ‘right policies’ and ‘right thinking’ and ‘right ideology’ (sometime with ‘right’ being replaced with ‘correct’) leading inevitably to success. This was done the context of success having already been achieved and describing as the obvious outcome of that correct thinking.

Except then I remember the translations I have read of Sun Tzu and Confucian thought, as well as the religious pamphlets (translated into English) from the Wat Thai in Maryland. This seemed something rather endemic to a lot of Eastern thought. Rather than good actions leading to goodness, as it were, good or proper thinking (or religious practice) leads to good actions and good results. Not defending Ho Chi Minh, but this particularly trend in his writing is more about a non-western way of thinking than anything else.

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