Tuong Vu. 2010. Paths to Development in Asia: South Korea, Vietnam, China and Indonesia. Cambridge U.P.

Why some countries took the path of developmental state and achieved admirable economic performance while others not in Asia? This book seeks for the answer to this often neglected but significant question. The focus of author is straightforward. After the end of WWII, the formerly colonized countries faced a period with high uncertainty. Under complex situation of independence, domestic instability, external intervention and ideological conflicts at the dawn of Cold War, political leaders of each countries interacted and set a certain pattern of  inter-elites and elite-mass relationship, which left legacy in the following decades. The author compares South Korea, Vietnam, China and Indonesia in order to analyze the difference between capitalist and socialist path as well as that of successful and moderate outcomes.  Although this book has no strong intention on generalizable theory building, it constructs interesting parallel stories with vast literature and primary sources. This can be one of  must-read literature for those students interested in Asian development history.

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