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Histoire de l’Indochine
A History of Indochina
Philippe Héduy
The alliance of cross and sword.
432 pages, 17x24 cm
ISBN: 978-2919-12269-1
29 €  34,90 $  1190 THB
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With a historian's precision and a narrator's freedom of tone, Philippe Héduy brings to life the illustrious figures who, for almost three centuries, played a part in our national romance across the oceans.

Finally reissued, this reference work for anyone with a passion for the Far East and colonization - Histoire de l'Indochine - is first and foremost the work of one man, Philippe Héduy. A fine scholar, this relentless worker has collected the most diverse sources on the subject, from the great reports of embassies, missions and wars, to the most little-known and intimate episodes of this extraordinary epic, the singular encounter - both violent and ardent - of two civilizations that everything seemed to oppose. Philippe Héduy's light-hearted and humorous writing reconstructs the original sequence of events in this great shared adventure, giving us the key to the story. With a historian's precision and a narrator's freedom of tone, he brings to life the illustrious figures who, for nearly three centuries, played a part in our national romance across the oceans. From the missionary Alexandre de Rhodes, the inventor of Quoc-Ngu who laid the foundations of the modern Annamite language, to Mgr Pigneau de Béhaine, diplomat and military strategist, the author reveals how the "alliance of the cross and the sword" came to rely on the interests of commerce to found what was to become "French Indochina". From the self-interested promoters of the Compagnie des Indes to the equivocal and intrepid autodidacts - such as Jean Dupuis - who paved the way for the conquest, the pages are filled with flamboyant and somewhat adventurous soldiers, of whom Francis Garnier was the undisputed hero in his tragic battle against the "Black Flags". With Auguste Pavie and Henri Mouhot, we relive the great explorations that gave rise to the French passion for these bewitching horizons. With Courbet, Lyautey and the "Admirals-Governors" comes the time of feats of arms and the building of the "Pearl of the Empire". But in counterpoint and throughout the story, from Emperor Gia-Long to the head-chopping rebel leaders and Ho Chi Minh, not forgetting Admiral Decoux, who first spoke of "Vietnam", the beginnings of the fall of the Indochina "enterprise" can be seen in the rhythm of its construction. Perhaps even more than the Vietminh battalions, the Japanese saber will finally bring it down. Unrolled like a great romance, 

Philippe Héduy's Histoire de l'Indochine is indispensable for a proper understanding of this part of the world and the ties that still bind us to it.

Philippe Héduy, born in Béthune on September 26, 1926, was editorial director of Elle with Hélène and Pierre Lazareff from 1951 to 1961. Recalled in 1957 to fight in Algeria, he wrote Au lieutenant des Taglaïts, a superb novel that reveals the moods of a French officer. From 1961 onwards, he was editor-in-chief ofEsprit Public, to combat the policy of abandoning Algeria. In 1968, Héduy founded the Bureau de Production Littéraire - which became the Société de Production Littéraire in 1975. Between 1980 and 1983, he wrote four books on Algeria and Indochina. In his last writings, Philippe Héduy examined the decomposition of the materialistic world with Le temps universel - in three volumes from 1983 to 1988 - and the spiritual crisis of our times with 2 000 ans après, then l'Ère chrétienne est notre temps, published a month after his death on Sunday March 1, 1998. In the same year, he published Histoire de l'Indochine, la Perle de l'Empire (History of Indochina, the Pearl of the Empire ) with Albin Michel.

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