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Street Without Joy: The French Debacle in Indochina (Stackpole Military History Series) by [Fall, Bernard B.]
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Street Without Joy: The French Debacle in Indochina (Stackpole Military History Series) Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Length: 408 pages Word Wise: Enabled

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Product Description

Review

A poignant, angry, articulate book...' - Newsweek 'Definitive military history of the Indochina conflict' - New Republic 'Mr. Fall's book is a dramatic treatment of a historic event... the vast panorama of the Indochina struggle emerges with graphic impact in his volume.' - The New York Times Book Review

About the Author

Bernard B. Fall was born in France and fought with the French Resistance during World War II. While traveling in Vietnam in 1967, he was killed by a Vietcong explosive. His other works include Hell in a Very Small Place (0-306-81157-X) and Last Reflections on a War (0-8117-0904-3).

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 6690 KB
  • Print Length: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Stackpole Books; Revised ed. edition (24 May 2005)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001GIPFD2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #168,004 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Fall's books are brilliant.They were written close to the events that they described ,using french official military sources ,and sum up the futility of the war which unecessarily erased France from the map of SE Asia nd caused millions to be killed and displaced before the American War even started.You can see the Americans attempted to learn some lessons from the french experience,like the need for mobility and airpower. There is no better witness to these events than Fall, certainly not Anglo/American. Giap's memoirs, although comprehensive are too dull to read.
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Format: Paperback
Bernard Fall was a rare man whose academic career was marked by an intense interest in validating his opinions on the conduct of war with experience "in the laboratory." Most regrettably, and ironically, it cost him his life when he stepped on a "bouncing betty," a land mine that, when activated, leaps into the air, waist high, before exploding. He was with a unit of the US Marines, in early 1967, along the very same road, which the French dubbed "Rue sans Joie," and from which Fall derived the title to this book. The road was (is) Highway 1, in Thua Thien province, in what the Americans would call I Corps. His most famous book is Hell in a very small place: The siege of Dien Bien Phu, which concerns the Battle of Dien Bien Phu. I've read the book twice (and reviewed it on Amazon), and visited the battle field once, in 1995. And I've noted that my seeming obsession is not shared by many of the younger French (or for that matter, American) generation, who have never heard of that once famous valley that translates rather prosaically as "Seat of the Border County Prefecture."

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.
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Format: Paperback
This is best and most detailed account of the Vietnamese struggle for independence prior to the arrival of significant numbers of US advisors and soldiers in the early 60s. Fall describes the bitter and bloody conflict with the French following the defeat of the Japanese in 1945 and the attempted restoration of colonial rule, almost entirely bankrolled by the USA. The coverage does not include anything other than a passing reference the siege of Dien Bien Phu, as this is the subject of separate title by the same author, 'Hell in a Very Small Place'.

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.
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Format: Hardcover
Fall provides an insight in how the french fought a brave, but ultimately futile campaign against the VC in Indo-China. The narrative of the war is combined deftly with insights on the human side of this bloody conflict. For instance "The Death of a Task Force" or a French Major visiting the grave of his wife for the last time. This will be a disturbing, but enlighten book for anyone who fought in the war as Fall's pasionately explains why the Americans will lose the war as they refuse to learn the lessons from France's failure. This is even more telling as the book was written well before the Tet offensive and the American withdrawal (How many lives would have been saved if Johnson, Nixon or Kissinger had had a copy ?)
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 !
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Format: Hardcover
Bernard Fall: "Street without joy".

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.
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