For many Westerners, Hanoi evokes memories only of war and bitter loss. But Hanoi is much more than the capital of Vietnamese communism. Ancient seat of the royal house, then center of the French colonial empire in Indochina, and finally birthplace of Vietnamese independence, Hanoi is today a thriving urban center with a rich history all its own. Georges Boudarel and Nguyen Van Ky paint a vivid portrait of a city that is now awakening to the modern era. Together they reveal Hanoi in its myriad facets, from the aromas of its traditional cuisine to its destruction in wartime to the modern era of motorcycles and movie theaters. Part history, part paean, this book takes us into the heart of a city just emerging from the storms of the twentieth century.