Hell In A Very Small Place: The Siege Of Dien Bien Phu

Paperback | April 18, 2002

byBernard Fall

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The 1954 battle of Dien Bien Phu ranks with Stalingrad and Tet for what it ended (imperial ambitions), what it foretold (American involvement), and what it symbolized: A guerrilla force of Viet Minh destroyed a technologically superior French army, convincing the Viet Minh that similar tactics might prevail in battle with the U.S.

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From the Publisher

The 1954 battle of Dien Bien Phu ranks with Stalingrad and Tet for what it ended (imperial ambitions), what it foretold (American involvement), and what it symbolized: A guerrilla force of Viet Minh destroyed a technologically superior French army, convincing the Viet Minh that similar tactics might prevail in battle with the U.S.

Bernard B. Fall was forty when he was killed in South Vietnam in 1967. The author of the classic Vietnam account, Street Without Joy, he wrote for the New York Times and the Washington Post.

other books by Bernard Fall

Street Without Joy: The French Debacle in Indochina
Street Without Joy: The French Debacle in Indochina

Kobo ebook|May 24 2005

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:568 pages, 8.5 × 5.38 × 1.5 inPublished:April 18, 2002Publisher:Da Capo BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:030681157X

ISBN - 13:9780306811579

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Customer Reviews of Hell In A Very Small Place: The Siege Of Dien Bien Phu

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from Pivitol Battle Written by a journalist who followed both the French and American conflicts in Viet Nam, this book is about a pivotal battle/siege that spelled the end for the French in Indochina. After 8 years of indecisive conflict with the Viet Mihn, the French high command decided, in 1954, to offer "a target sufficiently tempting to pounce at, but sufficiently strong to resist the onslaught once it came. It was an incredible gamble....", and the book gives the history of that gamble. Dien Bien Phu was an ill conceived idea that was probably never going to succeed. Command conflicts and uncertainties led to a poorly planned operation that underestimated the strength of the enemy. Parachuted into the jungle, the French troops had no land connection for resupply, so everything - food, ammunition, even tanks - had to be delivered by plane. In total, close to 30,000 French troops were sent to Dien Bien Phu, 20,000 of whom became casualties. As a matter of pride the French did not surrender, but merely stopped fighting. The French involvement in Viet Nam ended soon after Dien Bien Phu fell to the Viet Mihn. The book is fairly accessible, although it does get bogged down occasionally with the complex details of the political machinations taking place outside, and the complexities of the fighting. It is not a light read though - its treatment of the history is thorough, and it is helpful if the reader has some prior knowledge of the French/Viet Nam conflict in order to put many things into perspective. Source material for the history is good, both sides are discussed, and the larger ramifications of the battle/siege are also considered. Most of the maps are of the specific battle area itself, and some reference maps would have added to the ease of understanding. Not a book for a casual reader, but a great book to readers interested in military history and the post-world war II history of Viet Nam and France.
Date published: 2014-06-25