PSNews - "A Campaign in Tonkin" which has been published in Vietnam by three of Vietnam’s prestigious publishing houses – Omega+, Dong A and Nha Nam reveals readers about the people, landscape, lifestyle and customs of the country at the end of the 19th century.
Author of "A Campaign in Tonkin" is Charles-Édouard Hocquard (1853-1911), a French doctor, explorer and photographer. The first version of this book, Une campagne au Tonkin, was published in France in 1892.
As reported, Hocquard was born in Nancy, France. In 1884, he volunteered in Indochina to serve the expedition war and became a historian by photographing this land.
He observed landscapes, architecture to people and customs and then noted down, studied and took photos. Therefore, A Campaign in Tonkin is considered an important historical resource to learn about the politics, economy and society in northern and central Việt Nam in the late 19th century.
Hundreds of rare photos of the local people and landscapes of the new country brought Hocquard the prestigious gold medal at the Antwerp Universal Exhibition in 1885.
The book is divided into 23 chapters, taking readers on a journey around Hanoi, Bac Ninh, Hung Hoa, Nam Dinh, Tuyen Quang, Lang Son, Phu Tho, Da Nang, Hue of doctor Hocquard over two years (1884-1886). During this journey, the author had the chance to meet people from all walks of life, from merchants, transporters, mandarins, local families and children and even King Dong Khanh (1864-1889).
The book is translated into Vietnamese by translator Dinh Khac Phach. Born into a family with a traditional fondness for learning in the northern province of Thai Binh, he learned French at a young age and developed an interest in poetry and history.
“Frankly speaking, when I first encountered the book, I still had some prejudices about the views by many French authors in writing about colonial Annam (a French protectorate encompassing Central Vietnam). But this time, such views have been much alleviated,” Phach said.By Linh Bui