June 2013 Ho Chi Minh. A Biography by Pierre Brocheux. This was a fascinating biography that I stumbled upon in doing research for a paper in my Church History class on the Catholic Church in Vietnam. The book gave a very well researched biography of Ho Chi Minh, as well as a general history of the 20th Century Marxist/Communist movements which seemed to be a rather cohesive group up to 1956. After that, the USSR and China diverged significantly in approach to the Cold War. This book painted the personalities of 20th Century Marxism/Communism (i.e. Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Mao, etc) with a much finer brush than I have ever read.

The book reinforced other things I read in the course of my research that described Ho Chi Minh's focus on independence from the French. After WW2, once Fascism was defeated, Vietnam became a Cold War battlefield that eventually brought American military action (something that Ho Chi Minh feared). Ho Chi Minh's leadership seemed to move steadily toward more of a beloved figurehead than a powerful leader of state as the Cold War heated up in the 1950's and early 1960's.