Hoàng Thị Thế, the daughter of a famous figure in the resistance to the French conquest of Vietnam, was glamorous; a self-proclaimed princess and later a film star, she captured the imaginations and attention of those around her. But her life was also sad, full of loss and hardship. And because of who she was, official interest in her, documented in French surveillance files and the propaganda of the revolutionary Vietnamese state, makes her life an unusually rich example of the possibilities of biography to illuminate the everyday struggles, unlikely networks and trajectories, and powerful ironies and sadnesses of the colonial era in Vietnamese history. This article tells her life story.
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