In this classic account of the French war in Indochina, Bernard B. Fall vividly captures the sights, sounds, and smells of the savage eight-year conflict in the jungles and mountains of Southeast Asia from 1946 to 1954. The French fought well to the last, but even with the lethal advantages of airpower, they could not stave off the Communist-led Vietnamese nationalists, who countered with a hit-and-run campaign of ambushes, booby traps, and nighttime raids. Defeat came at Dien Bien Phu, in 1954, setting the stage for American involvement and opening another tragic chapter in Vietnam's history.
©1964 Bernard B. Fall (P)2013 Tantor
September 1964 I graduated from Infantry OCS at Fort Benning Georgia. The US involvement in Vietnam consisted of Special Forces advisors, but we were fairly certain that we would end up in Vietnam. We knew very little of how the Viet Cong or the North Vietnamese regulars operated, and this was our textbook, but I failed to pay attention. I was ready to go to war. November 1965 I was a platoon leader in the First Infantry Division, the first part of our buildup in Vietnam. Two months later I was at Walter Reed Army Hospital after encountering an anti-personnel device. Three months after that my replacement was killed in an ambush. Indeed our involvement in Vietnam was a Street Without Joy. An excellent book, and a very professional narration by Derek Perkins. Just learn from it.
It was, but I think I'll have to spend more time listening to it again, as I frequently do with histories. It's hard to keep things straight, partially because it's hard to keep a timeline in one's head as the events go from disaster to disaster. What's a flash-back? What's in order? I'm not sure.
A better flow time-wise would be better. It's hard to keep all the place names straight and move from one event to another, unsure if they're directly connected, how they relate to each other... sometimes it's clear. Other times, not so much.
His French accent is great so any time there's an actual conversation, he adds flavor to it quite well.
It inspired me to read more about the French war in Vietnam.
Generally, this is an interesting subject and really shows how skilled, operationally, Giap was. He made mistakes, but the strategic plan was spot-on.
It showed how a great military force that adapted to the terrain still got beaten. The French forces were made up of so many brilliant soldiers and they were creative in dealing with their enemies, but were undone by political factors that they did face, but not as well as their enemies.
We are, sadly, repeating the mistakes of the Vietnam war in the Middle East - i.e. seeking a military solution to a political dilemma. Our officers in Iraq should have been reading STREET WITHOUT JOY instead of SEVEN PILLARS OF WISDOM!
an exceptional and almost wholly unbiased analysis of the French war in Vietnam from 1946 to 1954, with its major focus on the French operations from 51 to 54. the book is written as a manual for politicians and soldiers fighting a revolutionary war. one if the best I've ever read.
We Westerners have been warned to never fight land wars in Asia, but we never listen to our own advice.
a very good book about the roots of the american vietnam war. great narrative and entertaining person gallery.
The narrator killed it for me. The story sounds like a history lesson and the accent along with bad acting made it impossible for me to sympathize with the characters.
Dr. Fall wrote an excellent and factual account that is an excellent read. I have been in many of the locations and walked, or drove, over the ground.
Perhaps Perkins was using British pronunciation but his Vietnamese pronunciation really sucks. I found it very distracting and at times a bit hard to follow. Too bad, there are plenty of ways to get correct pronunciation.
This is the story of the French fighting the Viet Minh, battle by battle. It doesn't pretend to be anything else. There are endless descriptions of military maneuvers and engagements, with place names that mean very little to me. After three or four I just lost interest.
"Missed opportunity for the US"
I have read this at least three times and will do so again.
The Last Valley by Martin Windrow. Windrow revisits the pre-cusors to Dien Bien Phu, the battle itself and the aftermath. Although written thirty years later when considerably more French and North Vietnamese governmental records were available, the foundational details remain the same with similar, if not the same conclusions.
It was fine.
Complete puzzlement in how the battle came to pass and the fact that US did not learn from the mistakes of the French in Indo-China.
A thumpingly good book.
"Old Indochina Hand tells it like it was"
Fascinating listening, especially as it was written just before America's involvement in Vietnam began to involve putting lots of combat units on the ground. The author was killed by a landmine on the titular street without joy in 1967 which gives this work an added dimension.I think it bears up really well and was gripped from start to finish.
The author himself, who isn't shy of talking about his own experiences and opinions
His voice is a good choice, his pronunciation practiced and he even gets away with doing a few accents
Before the war you knew, there was the one you don't
I hope there are more audiobooks from this author on here
"Great story, terrible pronunciation"
Great book, still the best account of the French debacle in Indochina and although quite well read with the assumed French accent bringing the oral history to life, the pronunciation of Vietnamese place names and other nouns is unforgivably bad! Most grating was 'Viet Ming' over and over again...
Clearly the history. It is a war which is rarely discussed, especially with the American involvement so soon afterwards. This was written while the US was still in Vietnam so his descriptions of the combat and conditions resonate with what we know of the US War.
The story of the Jewish refugee from WWII who found his way into the French Foreign Legion and into Vietnam to confront an enemy from his past. That is a story crying out for a film to be made.
It wasn't business like which some historical narrations can be, he came across as interested in what he was reading.
The suffering on all sides was terrible.
Fine historical knowledge gained from this book particularly so as the war isn't that well covered. I learned things I hadn't known and my respect and pity for the French soldiers as well as admiration for the Vietnamese has increased tenfold.
It is also interesting to note that the US repeated so many of the French failures in Vietnam while the VC kept to broadly the same tactics. The blurb for the book states this is now required reading at American military schools as examples of counter insurgency successes and failures. I would hope such lessons are learned well to keep American soldiers safe in current wars.
in the top half
The 2 mile french convoy that was ambushed and nearly destroyed.
In some ways its sad to see a former world power cling on to its empire by its finger tips, All Empires fall....A lesson to our current Superpowers I think.
Interesting stuff....try it...if you dont like it...send it back :)
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