It’s a Living – Work and Life in Vietnam Today by Gerard Sasges (ed.) has been selected by CHOICE: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries as a “highly recommended” read. Check out the review by Peters, E.J. below.
It’s a Living gives voice to 67 Vietnamese workers from all walks of life. The respondents paint vivid pictures of their daily routines and the particular rewards and challenges of each career path. The short chapters are balanced between people who take pleasure in their work and those who are mostly there for the paycheck. Apparently ordinary jobs, such as factory worker, farmer, and bank employee, are interspersed with more offbeat occupations, from grey hair plucker to rat catcher. Interviews touch on issues of corruption and arbitrary enforcement of regulations; they also reveal the importance of education and aspirations of the Vietnamese for their children. A short introduction sets out the book’s major themes, but readers would benefit from more about Vietnamese socialism and how much workers have to pay toward the costs of education, health care, and retirement. Reading Bill Hayton’s Vietnam: Rising Dragon (2010) can provide more context about the country’s economic system. This book is a wonderful, evocative read for undergraduates or anyone with an interest in the people of Vietnam. Beautiful photos allow many of the book’s personalities to shine through.
Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries.
–E. J. Peters, Culinary Historians of Northern California
Peters, E.J. “It’s a living: work and life in Vietnam today.” CHOICE: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries Mar. 2014: 1314. Academic OneFile. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.
Read abstract of the book.