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Street Without Joy: The French Debacle in Indochina (Stackpole Military History Series) Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
I read a portion of the subject book, published in 1964, in 1969, and felt I was long overdue to give the entire book a thorough re-read. Nine-tenths of the book concerns the French war in Indochina, from 1946 to 1954. The last tenth involves the initial American involvement there. Fall himself had fought in the French Resistance, and later the French Army during World War II, was obviously fluent in French, and though now operating from an American academic setting, was considered "one of them" by both French officers and the troops.Read more ›
The book is very readable and is particularly interesting because it was written soon after the events by a journalist with an intimate knowledge of the country / conflict (Fall was killed in Vietnam in 1967 by a landmine). 'Street Without Joy' also has the added lure of having been widely read by the US advisors, counter-insurgency experts etc and journalists involved in the ensuing American escapade.
Fall's other well known book "Hell in a Very Small Place" covers the in graphic detail events leading up to and the siege of Dien Bien Phu (The Khe Shan that never was for the American's)
I highly recommend both books !
Reading "Street without joy" was like welcoming back again an old friend, who had been away for forty years. Bernard Fall's writing style slips easily between writing the academic, journalistic and popular genres. Pick up the book, start reading and be transported back in time to Indochina.
Fall relates the war from the French side, but was immensely respectful of Giap and the Viet-Minh. In the French war effort he saw tremendous courage, Quixotic behaviour and bad decisions. You cannot read this book and not be impressed by the fierceness of the battles and bravery of the French and Viet-Minh troops. The terrible losses that were suffered slowly became unacceptable as the French counted the cost of holding its former colony.
In 1954 the French had only 15 helicopters in Indochina and their reliance on road transport was fraught with danger. Later, in Algeria the French relied heavily on their 600 helicopters (p. 265). The story of Groupe Mobile 100 in the Central Highlands (Pleiku, Dak To) was a harbinger of what was to come in the next 20 years of war. The handover of the French wounded by the 803rd Division showed rare humanity in a bloody and savage campaign.
One of the saddest aspects of the war was the abandonment of the Indigenous hill tribes, collectively referred to as the montagnards, who supported the anti-communist forces. Whether it was the French or the CIA providing logistical support for a better, independent existence, the end result was always going to be the same. The montagnards would always face communist retribution for backing the wrong side.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
brilliant book if only the americans had read it before they went to vietnamPublished 1 month ago by savvy shopper
Interesting and well written - as relevant then as it is today.Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
Gripping account of the first Indochina war. Very readable, brilliant journalism.Published 9 months ago by John.T. THOBURN
Excellent read about a bloody war that seems forgotten but has a lesson for the west in current times. Read morePublished 10 months ago by JohnH52
excellent book....great history filling in the gaps where the French went wrong and the Americans didn't learn from the mistakes made!Published 14 months ago by Jay Dee
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