Vietnam stands at a crossroads. Located in the geographical center of Southeast Asia, Vietnam is a complex mixture of the ancient and the modern. A Soviet-style legacy contrasts with an emerging Western-style market economy. Vietnam is faced with pressing political, social and economic challenges, and yet it is full of hope and potential. Here is a first look at Vietnam in the twenty-first century, a nation undergoing rapid change and opening up to the world. Dr. Mark Ashwill paints a broad picture of Vietnam, past and present, and explores today s defining issues. Readers come to understand how a two-thousand-year history of foreign invasion, occupation and war has deeply influenced the Vietnamese character. The Chinese, French and U.S. Americans have all left their imprint. Yet the struggle against oppression has infused the Vietnamese with a fierce spirit of nationalism and caution in their dealings with foreigners. Building relationships and trust as a prelude to doing business are critical to the Vietnamese, whether at home or abroad. Vietnam Today reveals the most prominent characteristics of the Vietnamese: their energy and drive, the dominance of group over individual and the paramount importance of maintaining harmony. In doing so, Ashwill and his Vietnamese contributor shed light on many sources of misunderstanding between Vietnamese and Western professionals. But for those who are prepared to take the time to get to know the people, to move at their pace, and to learn about their culture and history, Vietnam can be a land of promise and opportunity.