By Sarah Geegan
UK history professor, Lien-Hang T. Nguyen recently received the Stuart L. Bernath Book Prize, an honor awarded annually by the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations. The prize recognizes the best book by a first-time author in the field of diplomatic history.
Nguyen's book, "Hanoi's War: An International History of the War for Peace in Vietnam," examines the international context in which North Vietnamese leaders pursued war and American intervention ended. Using never-before-seen Vietnamese documents, recently declassified U.S. materials and archival collections in Europe, Nguyen's narrative takes the reader from the marshy swamps of the Mekong Delta to the bomb-saturated Red River Delta, from the corridors of power in Hanoi and Saigon to the Nixon White House, and from the peace negotiations in Paris to high-level meetings in Beijing and Moscow, all to reveal that peace never had a chance in Vietnam.
Nguyen said that her reaction to receiving the award was one of joy mixed with surprise.
"The Bernath is the most important award for younger scholars in my field of U.S. foreign relations history," Nguyen said. "So winning it was the ultimate form of praise for and recognition of my work. Since there were so many excellent books on this topic in contention for the Bernath — many that utilized extensive American diplomatic history materials as well as archival collections from overseas — I did not think I would win it."
The award will be presented at the upcoming meeting of the Organization of American Historians in San Francisco.
Lien-Hang Nguyen talked about her book, Hanoi's War: An International History of the War for Peace in Vietnam. She responded to questions from members of the audience.
This was an event in the History and Biography Pavilion of the 12th annual National Book Festival, held on the National Mall.