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Street Without Joy: The French Debacle in Indochina | [Bernard B. Fall]

Street Without Joy: The French Debacle in Indochina

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What Members Say

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4.2 (62 )
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4.2 (57 )
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  •  
    Mike Florence, Colorado, United States 05-31-13
    Mike Florence, Colorado, United States 05-31-13 Member Since 2010

    Mike Vendetti

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "In 1964 this was our Vietnam textbook"

    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.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Troels Copenhagen, Denmark 03-11-14
    Troels Copenhagen, Denmark 03-11-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Street Without Joy: The French Debacle in Indochin"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    a very good book about the roots of the american vietnam war. great narrative and entertaining person gallery.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Chicago 04-17-15
    Amazon Customer Chicago 04-17-15 Member Since 2009

    Hondana

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    "will we never learn?"

    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!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert G Palmer Havelock, NC United States 04-16-15
    Robert G Palmer Havelock, NC United States 04-16-15 Member Since 2012
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    "Excellent"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Arius Annandale, VA United States 12-03-14
    Arius Annandale, VA United States 12-03-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The Neverending Debacle"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    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.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    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.


    Which character – as performed by Derek Perkins – was your favorite?

    His French accent is great so any time there's an actual conversation, he adds flavor to it quite well.


    Did Street Without Joy inspire you to do anything?

    It inspired me to read more about the French war in Vietnam.


    Any additional comments?

    Generally, this is an interesting subject and really shows how skilled, operationally, Giap was. He made mistakes, but the strategic plan was spot-on.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CARLOS A MALAGON 03-28-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Too monotone."

    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.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John E. Foster 10-21-13
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    "Great book, lousy narrator"
    What did you love best about Street Without Joy?

    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.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    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.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim Los Angeles, CA, United States 03-31-14
    Tim Los Angeles, CA, United States 03-31-14 Member Since 2011
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    "War might be hell, but it is also boring"
    What would have made Street Without Joy better?

    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.


    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
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  • Mr S.M.R.Plocki
    4/28/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Missed opportunity for the US"
    Would you listen to Street Without Joy again? Why?

    I have read this at least three times and will do so again.


    What other book might you compare Street Without Joy to, and why?

    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.


    What about Derek Perkins’s performance did you like?

    It was fine.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    A thumpingly good book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A User
    7/7/14
    Overall
    Performance
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    "Old Indochina Hand tells it like it was"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    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.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The author himself, who isn't shy of talking about his own experiences and opinions


    What about Derek Perkins’s performance did you like?

    His voice is a good choice, his pronunciation practiced and he even gets away with doing a few accents


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Before the war you knew, there was the one you don't


    Any additional comments?

    I hope there are more audiobooks from this author on here

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mr
    Old Woking, United Kingdom
    5/16/14
    Overall
    Performance
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    "Fascinating"
    What did you like most about Street Without Joy?

    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.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Street Without Joy?

    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.


    What about Derek Perkins’s performance did you like?

    It wasn't business like which some historical narrations can be, he came across as interested in what he was reading.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The suffering on all sides was terrible.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • martin
    MACCLESFIELD, United Kingdom
    11/11/13
    Overall
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    Story
    "INTERESTING"
    Where does Street Without Joy rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    in the top half


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    The 2 mile french convoy that was ambushed and nearly destroyed.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    Interesting stuff....try it...if you dont like it...send it back :)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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