Hanoi After the War is a picture of daily life in and around Hanoi in the period after the war.
It sets black and white photographs, many of surprising beauty, alongside haunting accounts by Vietnamese writers. This is a portrait of hardship, poverty and endurance but also of an ancient culture, of brave and resilient people, of beauty amidst the austerity:
“The Hanoi I knew after the war – a subdued place, though of wistful beauty – is now a booming modern city. This is a journey back in time, to a city exhausted by forty years of conflict. The people whose lives are pictured here fought through the war and endured the hardships that followed. Though I could observe their daily life, any meaningful contact with the local people was forbidden in those cold war days. The stories told in these pages take us into the inner world of the Vietnamese: bitter sweet memories of a time which now seems vanishingly distant”. John Ramsden
The photographs are enriched with the memories of Vietnamese writers who knew the city from the inside - who swept leaves for fuel, queued before dawn to buy food, dreamed of owning a bicycle but still managed to find books and the time to read them.
The writers are Dương Trung Quốc, a well-known historian, who wrote the captions; Nguyễn Quang Thiều, a poet and novelist whose work is available in English and French; Phạm Tường Vân, a screenwriter, poet and journalist; and Vũ Thị Minh Hương, a historian and former head of the national archives. Their texts are translated and edited by Andrew Hardy , Director of the Hanoi Centre of the French School of Asian Studies [EFEO].