This introductory chapter first describes the village of Son-Duong, a rural community in the Red River delta of North Vietnam. It details how Son-Duong has withstood repeated foreign ravages throughout the past century, first by the Chinese, then by the French, and finally by the Americans. At the same time it has undergone fundamental ecological, demographic, socioeconomic, and political changes in one the most important revolutions of our time. The chapter then sets out the book's purpose, which is to examine the revolutionary processes in the village of Son-Duong over the past eight decades as discovered through the voices of elderly villagers, the findings from archival and field research in France and North Vietnam, and a survey of village households. The remainder of the chapter discusses revolutionary processes in agrarian societies followed by a brief overview of the three parts of the book.
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