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Except for in terms of the Vietnam War, Vietnam's history remains significantly under-studied. In this comprehensive book, Vu Hong Lien and Peter Sharrock chronicle the vast sweep of the region's tumultuous past, from the Bronze Age to the present day. Historians writing about Vietnam have defined the country as either a ragged Chinese subordinate aspiring to a full 'Chinese' way of life, or as a rebel Chinese province defined entirely by its shaky relationship to its looming neighbour. Yet archaeological evidence now shows culturally distinct and technologically sophisticated human occupation in the region from 8,000 to 10,000 years ago. Unshackled from the confined histories of outsiders, imperial invaders and occupiers, the history of Vietnam is revealed as central to the cultural, political and ethnic development of Southeast Asia over the past millennia. With a scope unrivalled in previous accounts, Descending Dragon, Rising Tiger is a definitive history of the Vietnamese people, culture and nation.