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About This Book
The Republic of (South) Vietnam is commonly viewed as a unified entity throughout the two decades (1955–75) during which the United States was its main ally. However, domestic politics during that time followed a dynamic trajectory from authoritarianism to chaos to a relatively stable experiment in parliamentary democracy. The stereotype of South Vietnam that appears in most writings, both academic and popular, focuses on the first two periods to portray a caricature of a corrupt, unstable dictatorship and ignores what was achieved during the last eight years.
The essays in Voices from the Second Republic of South Vietnam (1967–1975) come from those who strove to build a constitutional structure of representative government during a war for survival with a totalitarian state. Those committed to realizing a noncommunist Vietnamese future placed their hopes in the Second Republic, fought for it, and worked for its success. This book is a step in making their stories known.