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Customer Review

on 13 March 2013
A well researched and well written account of American and French involvement in Vietnam (primarily 1945-59). I had always thought that France's involvement in Vietnam post 1945 was due to a failure to recognise that the days of empire were over. While this may have been true initially the author conclusively proves that in the latter years the only factors keeping the French in Vietnam were American support and pressure, with the latter coming from the US administration's dogmatic belief in the now defunct domino theory (Vietnam was seen as the front line in preventing the communist hordes sweep through Asia)and, after the Korean stalemate, to deflect criticism at home that they were 'losing' Asia. Eisenhower came very close to committing US ground forces into Vietnam in 53/54 and the UK deserves some credit for effectively preventing this by refusing to join the coalition of countries that Eisenhower required to justify ground forces. Eden was wary of the vietnam situation and did not subscribe to the domino theory- if only he had been around to advise Blair on Iraq. In another parallel with Iraq a constant theme of the book is the US administration's token understanding of both Vietnam and Asia outside Japan and the accompanying policy mistakes-history repeating itself. An excellent and very readable book.
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