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Valley of the Shadow

The Siege of Dien Bien Phu
Narrated by: Joe Barrett
Length: 11 hrs and 27 mins
Categories: History, Military
4 out of 5 stars (8 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Struggling to reassert control over their Indochinese colonies after World War II, the French established a huge air-land base in the valley of Dien Bien Phu. But when the opposing Vietnamese People's Army (VPA) began massing its forces against the base in late 1953, French commanders seized the opportunity to draw their elusive enemy into a decisive set-piece battle.  

Defending a series of fortified positions which were reliant upon a single airstrip - and later, risky and inaccurate airdrops - for reinforcement and resupply, the French troops quickly discovered that they had underestimated their enemy. In 56 days of costly close-quarters fighting, the VPA slowly dislodged the French from one strongpoint after another by developing novel tactics and accomplishing incredible feats of engineering. 

Drawing upon Vietnamese-language sources never previously employed in Western accounts of the siege, Valley of the Shadow is a dramatic re-telling of the climactic battle of the First Indochina War, the conflict that saw the French expelled from their former colony and set the stage for the "American War" in Vietnam.

©2018 Kevin Boylan and Luc Olivier (P)2019 Tantor

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  • Carsten
  • Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • 09-22-19

Choppy Audio?

Quite a few words (especially French names) seem to have been added in post production. While this of course doesn't change the content it makes for a choppy audio experience.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Dense listening

Although a fascinating story from an undeservedly obscure episode with world changing ramifications, it is not exactly an easy listen. The author's well-motivated mission to clean up conflicting accounts and get the story straight leads to an abundance of specification. Thus, an large proportion of the audio is consumed with numeric specifications of regiment designations and artillery sizes, in the like of: "the fifty-first platoon of the three-hundred-and-third regiment combined with some elements from the second battalion of the two-hundred-and-eighty-third regiment" (not an actual quote, just representing from memory).

Forgive my presumption for suggesting that once in a while it might have been acceptable to write "some soldiers".

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  • JP
  • 06-25-19

shadow of the valley

well narrated book, detailed ,it sheds new light on subject of the famous battle and how it was lost by the French or won by the vietnamese