Street Without Joy: The French Debacle in Indochina PDF

Street Without Joy: The French Debacle in Indochina PDF



10 thoughts on “Street Without Joy: The French Debacle in Indochina (Stackpole Military History Series)

  1. Scott Scott says:

    If you have in interest in the Vietnam war, or in strategy, insurgencies and counter insurgent techniques this book should be on your reading list Street Without Joy tells the fascinating story of the post WW2 French in Indochina, their failures to understand or counter Vietnamese Communist forces and the eventual continuance of the same errors by the United States.Essentially, Fall posits that French and later US forces failed to understand the nature of the Vietnamese Communists revolution If you have in interest in the Vietnam war, or in strategy, insurgencies and counter insurgent techniques this book should be on your reading list Street Without Joy tells the fascinating story of the post WW2 French in Indochina, their failures to understand or counter Vietnamese Communist forces and the eventual continuance of the same errors by the United States.Essentially, Fall posits that French and later US forces failed to understand the nature of the Vietnamese Communists revolutionary war, their support among the local population and their ability to use neighboring countries and eventually North Vietnam as refuges Western forces tried to counter these advantages with technology fast strike mobile helicopter and armor groups,and better surveillance, agent orange, etc but this was a losing battle and they lacked the foresight to see it as such.Beyond the incisive and illuminating discussion of strategies and tactics, this is a story of heartbreaking death and suffering on a grand scale over a protracted time period Time and again French soldiers were told to hold posts to the last man against advancing Viet Minh forces Time and again they were slaughtered, with maybe a handful escaping into the jungle to trek for days or weeks back to the French lines, their adversaries in pursuit When they eventually reached safety their ordeals had broken them to the point that to their rescuers they resembled Christ on the cross When Dien Bien Phu fell captured French soldiers, wounded or not, were cruelly forced marched five and even six hundred kilometers through the jungle, dying where they fell from exhaustion.Neither brave sacrifices nor horrific suffering were not restricted to the French military Indochinese Soldiers and civilians suffered terribly, with the former making near superhuman efforts to defeat their foreign enemies Viet Minh and VC soldiers carried heavy weapons hundreds of kilometers through the mountains on their bleeding backs, living only on handfuls of rice and dying in droves under French artillery attacks with only primitive medical care available to them The French also committed war crimes of their own, and Fall details how a Vietnamese village and its residents were napalmed by French aircraft for no reason other than to make a point.Fall writes well, and tells a compelling story of savagery and screw ups, arrogance and last stand bravery I ve heard this book is studied at defense academies around the world, and I can see why Street Without Joy is one of the best books I ve read on counterinsurgency and the mistakes a large high tech army can make when fighting less sophisticated guerrilla forces I finished this book with a heavy heart So much wasted life and, judging by the US entry into Vietnam and later Afghanistan and Iraq , so many lessons unlearned On a final sad note, no one in this story escapes the horrors of this war, not even Fall himself Six years after this book s publication Fall was on patrol in Vietnam with a group of U.S soldiers when he stepped on a landmine and was fatally hurt


  2. Manray9 Manray9 says:

    Street Without Joy is a must for the library of anyone interested in the 20th Century s Indo China wars Bernard Fall explored the French disaster brilliantly exposing the foolishness of the French military and political leaders while honoring the valor and dedication of the fighting men Fall was a Frenchman who immigrated to America and accompanied French Union forces for graduate research at a U.S university His writing brought to light the hidebound French military leadership s failure Street Without Joy is a must for the library of anyone interested in the 20th Century s Indo China wars Bernard Fall explored the French disaster brilliantly exposing the foolishness of the French military and political leaders while honoring the valor and dedication of the fighting men Fall was a Frenchman who immigrated to America and accompanied French Union forces for graduate research at a U.S university His writing brought to light the hidebound French military leadership s failure to grasp the realities of counter insurgency warfare The French knew mobility was the key to thwart the Viet Minh, but they applied European concepts of mobile warfare that depended too heavily on roads and vehicular transport The cruel fate of Mobile Group 1 in central Annam unveiled the limitations of French military visioncompletely than the renowned fiasco at Dien Bien Phu The French bungled and miscalculated everywhere They failed at tactical intelligence gathering, routinely neglected to conduct adequate reconnaissance, mismanaged the propaganda war, underestimated the capabilities and tenacity of their enemy and squandered troops and scarce material resources in defense of worthless fixed installations In virtually every respect, French leadership ceded the initiative to General Giap and Ho Chi Minh and you don t win by simply reacting to your enemy One of war s oldest maxims is Carry the war to the enemy The French did not The Viet Minh carried it to them again, and again, and again Street Without Joy drew lessons from the French debacle applicable to America s growing involvement in Indo China unfortunately Fall was a prophet without honor in his adopted country While a few forward looking American officers appreciated the value of effective counter insurgency warfare, conventional forces generals held sway in Saigon, Hawaii and Washington Some of our greatest successes in Vietnam resulted from effective operations by Special Forces, Combined Action Platoons and indigenous guerrillas, but most of our vast resources went into conventional operations Bernard Fall told us what to expect in the jungles of Southeast Asia, but too few of our generals and politicians heeded the admonition


  3. Ammara Abid Ammara Abid says:

    Street without joy Explicit detailed account.Very informative but very dry I keep on pushing myself, Read Ammara Read Irrespective of the fact, it s hard for me but undoubtedly it s a brilliant book on French war.


  4. Thomas Thomas says:

    This book and The True Believer, were required reading when I went through the Special Forces Officer s Course at Ft Bragg When I went to Vietnam, I saw much of what Dr Fall was describing I just reread Street Without Joy and realize that he was not only a brilliant historian, he was prescient in his understanding of the nature of insurgencies in the modern world He spoke of the folly of the French when he said that they were trying to fight ideology with technology We, the Americans, This book and The True Believer, were required reading when I went through the Special Forces Officer s Course at Ft Bragg When I went to Vietnam, I saw much of what Dr Fall was describing I just reread Street Without Joy and realize that he was not only a brilliant historian, he was prescient in his understanding of the nature of insurgencies in the modern world He spoke of the folly of the French when he said that they were trying to fight ideology with technology We, the Americans, tried the same thing McNamara attempted to fight the NVA infiltration with electronic sensors Didn t work The parts of the American effort that was successful was often suppressed or ignored by Washington This was particularly true of some of the better psychological warfare efforts.Are we making the same mistakes now in the Middle East


  5. David David says:

    Simply a great book It deserves your undivided attention As far as I can tell, this book can be bought in old fashioned paper form in the USA only from by Stackpole Books, based in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania and in business since 1930 In addition to the inherent virtue of supporting a publishing institution of long standing dignity and of location far removed from the traditional centers of power, I also think that this book is best experienced this way, because of the great pictures and map Simply a great book It deserves your undivided attention As far as I can tell, this book can be bought in old fashioned paper form in the USA only from by Stackpole Books, based in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania and in business since 1930 In addition to the inherent virtue of supporting a publishing institution of long standing dignity and of location far removed from the traditional centers of power, I also think that this book is best experienced this way, because of the great pictures and maps in the book It s impossible to say that there isn t an electronic format somewhere that will display this book adequately, but my Kindle ebook reader certainly will not do justice, especially, to the excellent maps in this book, apparently drawn by the author himself The clarity and accuracy of these maps must constitute some kind of gold standard against which other military historians may measure themselves Each complex and chaotic battle described in the book and there are many appears notthan three pages away from a crisp and beautiful map which clarifies the text considerably Every place name or geographical feature referred to in the narrative appears on the nearby map My only complaint is that the book should be sold as a set with a good magnifying glass, as a special offer to middle aged history buffs who are too cheap to regularly update the prescription on their reading glasses To put it another way, squinting at a book held two inches from nose is not consistent with the self image I hold of my dignity.All this praise of the maps shouldn t lead you to conclude that the rest of the book suffers by comparison The research was clearly phenomenal Given the author s clear and easy style, it s also hard to believe that the author was born in Austria and his first language was French.All this praise of the maps, pictures, research, and style shouldn t lead you to conclude that the book doesn t carry a clear and worthwhile message today about the effective use of military might For example, from page 266 In a form of warfare in which political considerations regularly outweigh the military, air attacks against suspected enemy groups are all too likely to be self defeating The loss of support brought brought on by each innocent man or woman killed is likely to far outweigh the possible gain of hard core rebels This is actually a quotation by Fall from another book, but it s to the author s credit that he found and included it For casual readers meaning, if you re reading this for pleasure born from knowing things, but not studying it for a class , I especially recommend the chapters 4, 6, 8, and 10 labelled Diary , which are adapted from the letters Fall wrote home to his American wife while doing research in Southeast Asia They offer a fascinating glimpse into the day to day details of a time and place that is quickly receding from living memory Some of it is even laugh out loud funny, like the anecdote on page 274 about the unexpected popularity with certain hill tribes of Vietnam of a US government produced short documentary film about a volunteer fire department in Illinois.In fact, if you are fortunate to live in a place where you can grab this book off the shelf of a library or bookstore, run down right now would be good and read these chapters while standing in the aisle It will be the most enjoyable act that you will do today.If you are not fortunate enough to be in a situation where you can study it with an expert, at least try to find a quiet moment in your life when you can read it with mindfulness I think a beach vacation would be perfect for this purpose In fact, I read it on a beach vacation However, my understanding, based on observation of people who appear to fit the description of normal , is that many people inexplicably desire lighter fare during beach vacation Why Books like this one are far superior, and you will only have the time and energy to give this book the attention it deserves at a time when you are away from the thousand distractions of a normal life Plus, you will be a better person for having read this book Just go ahead and read it already


  6. Checkman Checkman says:

    Bernard Fall s classic account of the First Indochina War 1946 1954 The book was originally published in 1961 in English and quickly became a standard reference for American military personnel as well as anyone else wanting to gain some insight into Southeast Asia at the time Street Without Joy French translation La Rue Sans Joie was the name given by troops of the French Far East Expeditionary Corps to the stretch of Route 1 from Hu City yes that Hue from Full Metal Jacket to Qu Bernard Fall s classic account of the First Indochina War 1946 1954 The book was originally published in 1961 in English and quickly became a standard reference for American military personnel as well as anyone else wanting to gain some insight into Southeast Asia at the time Street Without Joy French translation La Rue Sans Joie was the name given by troops of the French Far East Expeditionary Corps to the stretch of Route 1 from Hu City yes that Hue from Full Metal Jacket to Qu ng Tr during the First Indochina War Strangely enough historical irony , Bernard Fall was killed by a landmine ,on that same stretch of road, in 1967 when he was accompanying United States Marines on a mission.The book is not a comprehensive chronological recounting of the war Street Without Joy is actually a series of essays that examine specific battles campaigns that occurred between 1950 1954 Between the chapters ,examining the war, Fall inserts four chapters that are his personal observations and are titled Diary The main centerpiece of the book is the chapter examining the destruction of Groupement Mobile No 100 Mobile Group 100 or G.M 100 It s a long chapter and very engrossing The entire book is very involving Episodic and written in the style of the time frequent reference to Reds and Communists it is evident that Fall did not access to full U.S government documents when he wrote the book The other thing that will stand out is most of the writing is from the perspective of the French with the Viet Minh servingas a faceless opponent The book is an angry book, but there is the unmistakable feeling that Fall wrote the book as a way to educate the Western world about the formidable opponent that if faced in the East It s an angry book because Fall is recounting where the French went wrong in their fight against the Viet Minh, but Fall did not write an anti war scree it has definite political biases anti communist and is intended to show how the Communists fight I would expect nothing less from a book written at the height of the Cold War.Despite these weak spots the book is thoughtful and stays away from simplistic jingoisms It isn t a blast of anti communist propaganda, but rather a book intended to educate Fall is clear that the Communists are very competent and are very capable at taking advantage of the Western World s mistakes and shortcomings In the end the book is most successful at giving the reader a look at the Human element of the war He shows the people of Vietnam ,and their culture, while also conveying what the French soldiers went through with a clear and vivid writing style Fall s book is considered to be a modern military history classic because it brings the French era of the Vietnam War to life It isn t the facts or conclusions that Fall presents some of which are still eerily prescient i.e what the U.S was looking at , but the ability to make that war still seem accessible almost sixty five years since it ended It s an excellent account and I recommend it


  7. Lisa Lieberman Lisa Lieberman says:

    I now see where many of the secondary sources I ve been reading got their insights What s neat, though, is how Fall weaves his personal observations through the analysis of what went wrong at Dien Bien Phu Fascinating characters emerge, and stories like this one Perhaps one of the most touching cases of devotion was that of Madame S White haired and close to sixty years old, she belonged to one of the grand bourgeois families of France When her son, a lieutenant in the infantry, was transfer I now see where many of the secondary sources I ve been reading got their insights What s neat, though, is how Fall weaves his personal observations through the analysis of what went wrong at Dien Bien Phu Fascinating characters emerge, and stories like this one Perhaps one of the most touching cases of devotion was that of Madame S White haired and close to sixty years old, she belonged to one of the grand bourgeois families of France When her son, a lieutenant in the infantry, was transferred to Indochina, she enlisted in the PFAT to be near him and was assigned to Hanoi as director of the maternity hospital for army girls who d gotten into trouble There weren t too many of them, but in any case, the French Army had taken the realistic attitude that a girl, pregnant or not, still made a good radio operator or secretary typist Thus, in the case of pregnancy, the girls were not discharged but merely sent on sick leave within the theater itself, to return to active duty after confinement.Petite and dignified in the immaculate white uniform of the PFAT, Mme S could be seen zooming through the streets of Hanoi on her white motor scooter, going briskly about her business while awaiting the next leave period of her son Her son, while no doubt touched by this extreme demonstration of maternal solicitude, felt that his mother was definitely cramping the style of his leave periods, and, in turn, sought any sort of assignment that would get hi as far as possible from Hanoi, but to little avail When last seen, Lieutenant S Was in Haiphong, hiding behind dark glasses and asking all his friends please not to tell mama that he was taking his vacation elsewhere What a treasure trove of period detail


  8. Jack Jack says:

    This is not a book It was an opportunity A chance A vision of the future that was missed Who missed that vision We did.Street Without Joy was written about the French miseries fighting the Viet Minh How they struggled How they lost It was also written real time It was published in 1961 Many years before we fully committed ground troops to what was to become a quagmire But they were French Why should we pay attention to someone who lost We are Americans We don t pay attention to any This is not a book It was an opportunity A chance A vision of the future that was missed Who missed that vision We did.Street Without Joy was written about the French miseries fighting the Viet Minh How they struggled How they lost It was also written real time It was published in 1961 Many years before we fully committed ground troops to what was to become a quagmire But they were French Why should we pay attention to someone who lost We are Americans We don t pay attention to anyone else because we know better don t we We could have read and learned from these men We lost an opportunity because of our arrogance.Starting at World War II the Viet Minh filled the power vacuum once the Japanese folded This was their strategy They were solidly in power when the French made their return to Indochina Trying desperately to reclaim their empire they ran into something muchpowerfulnationalism The Japanese had shown that European colonial powers could be defeated Thus they could lose again The Viet Minh were supported by the populace like no French puppet could.The French fielded the largest army since the World War The army was a road bound behemoth that tried to pin down an elusive enemy Battles were fought Some won Some lost Meanwhile battles across the world were being lost to the communists China Korea ManyThe sanctuaries developed allowing the Viet Minh to hide and lick their wounds and frustrate their French antagonists Experienced Chinese and Russian advisors came to assist the Vietnamese in their struggles The French were losingand they knew it They rolled the dice at Dien Bien Phu and got snake eyes Their colonial venture was lost The biggest loser was us though We paid no attention to their lessons Our arrogance cost us dearly We have a habit of not listening or attending to those who have gone before us Maybe next time we will


  9. James James says:

    Bernard Fall s heartbreaking history of war in Vietnam heartbreaking for at least three reasons because of the failure of the French to honor the aspirations of the Vietnamese or to learn from their own mistakes the failure of the U.S government to learn from the experiences of the French and the staggering amount of death, suffering and devastation visited on the Vietnamese people as a result.One story can stand in for a lot of this book s message An American unit was ambushed by the NVA Bernard Fall s heartbreaking history of war in Vietnam heartbreaking for at least three reasons because of the failure of the French to honor the aspirations of the Vietnamese or to learn from their own mistakes the failure of the U.S government to learn from the experiences of the French and the staggering amount of death, suffering and devastation visited on the Vietnamese people as a result.One story can stand in for a lot of this book s message An American unit was ambushed by the NVA on a highway that the French had nicknamed the Street Without Joy, because of the bloodshed there When a larger U.S unit came to the rescue, they in turn found themselves caught in a much larger ambush the NVA had been using the first American unit as bait to draw a larger unit in.After the battle, in which both U.S units took terrible losses, one American soldier wandering along the side of the road noticed a sign, a historical marker, commemorating a battle in which exactly the same thing had happened to the French army in exactly the same place So much for learning from the experiences of others


  10. Mike Mike says:

    Not difficult to understand how a small colonial possession rises up to throw off the occupier.


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Street Without Joy: The French Debacle in Indochina (Stackpole Military History Series) ➮ [Read] ➪ Street Without Joy: The French Debacle in Indochina (Stackpole Military History Series) By Bernard B. Fall ➺ – Capitalsoftworks.co.uk Originally published in , before the United States escalated its involvement in South Vietnam, Street without Joy offered a clear warning about what American forces would face in the jungles of Southe Joy: The Kindle Ñ originally Joy: The French Debacle PDF/EPUB or published in , before the United States escalated its involvement in South Vietnam, Street without Joy offered a clear Street Without ePUB ´ warning about what American forces would face in the jungles of Southeast Asia a costly and protracted revolutionary war fought without Without Joy: The ePUB ✓ fronts against a mobile enemy In harrowing detail, Fall describes the brutality and frustrations of the Indochina War, the savage eightyear conflict ending inafter the fall of Dien Bien Phu in which French forces suffered a staggering defeat at the hands of Communistled Vietnamese nationalists With its frontline perspective, vivid reporting, and careful analysis, Street without Joy was required reading for policymakers in Washington and GIs in the field and is now considered a classicAuthor Biography Bernard B Fall was born in France and fought with the French Resistance during World War II While traveling in Vietnam in , he was killed by a Vietcong explosive His other works include Hell in a Very Small Place X and Last Reflections on a War.

10 thoughts on “Street Without Joy: The French Debacle in Indochina (Stackpole Military History Series)

  1. Scott Scott says:

    If you have in interest in the Vietnam war, or in strategy, insurgencies and counter insurgent techniques this book should be on your reading list Street Without Joy tells the fascinating story of the post WW2 French in Indochina, their failures to understand or counter Vietnamese Communist forces and the eventual continuance of the same errors by the United States.Essentially, Fall posits that French and later US forces failed to understand the nature of the Vietnamese Communists revolution If you have in interest in the Vietnam war, or in strategy, insurgencies and counter insurgent techniques this book should be on your reading list Street Without Joy tells the fascinating story of the post WW2 French in Indochina, their failures to understand or counter Vietnamese Communist forces and the eventual continuance of the same errors by the United States.Essentially, Fall posits that French and later US forces failed to understand the nature of the Vietnamese Communists revolutionary war, their support among the local population and their ability to use neighboring countries and eventually North Vietnam as refuges Western forces tried to counter these advantages with technology fast strike mobile helicopter and armor groups,and better surveillance, agent orange, etc but this was a losing battle and they lacked the foresight to see it as such.Beyond the incisive and illuminating discussion of strategies and tactics, this is a story of heartbreaking death and suffering on a grand scale over a protracted time period Time and again French soldiers were told to hold posts to the last man against advancing Viet Minh forces Time and again they were slaughtered, with maybe a handful escaping into the jungle to trek for days or weeks back to the French lines, their adversaries in pursuit When they eventually reached safety their ordeals had broken them to the point that to their rescuers they resembled Christ on the cross When Dien Bien Phu fell captured French soldiers, wounded or not, were cruelly forced marched five and even six hundred kilometers through the jungle, dying where they fell from exhaustion.Neither brave sacrifices nor horrific suffering were not restricted to the French military Indochinese Soldiers and civilians suffered terribly, with the former making near superhuman efforts to defeat their foreign enemies Viet Minh and VC soldiers carried heavy weapons hundreds of kilometers through the mountains on their bleeding backs, living only on handfuls of rice and dying in droves under French artillery attacks with only primitive medical care available to them The French also committed war crimes of their own, and Fall details how a Vietnamese village and its residents were napalmed by French aircraft for no reason other than to make a point.Fall writes well, and tells a compelling story of savagery and screw ups, arrogance and last stand bravery I ve heard this book is studied at defense academies around the world, and I can see why Street Without Joy is one of the best books I ve read on counterinsurgency and the mistakes a large high tech army can make when fighting less sophisticated guerrilla forces I finished this book with a heavy heart So much wasted life and, judging by the US entry into Vietnam and later Afghanistan and Iraq , so many lessons unlearned On a final sad note, no one in this story escapes the horrors of this war, not even Fall himself Six years after this book s publication Fall was on patrol in Vietnam with a group of U.S soldiers when he stepped on a landmine and was fatally hurt

  2. Manray9 Manray9 says:

    Street Without Joy is a must for the library of anyone interested in the 20th Century s Indo China wars Bernard Fall explored the French disaster brilliantly exposing the foolishness of the French military and political leaders while honoring the valor and dedication of the fighting men Fall was a Frenchman who immigrated to America and accompanied French Union forces for graduate research at a U.S university His writing brought to light the hidebound French military leadership s failure Street Without Joy is a must for the library of anyone interested in the 20th Century s Indo China wars Bernard Fall explored the French disaster brilliantly exposing the foolishness of the French military and political leaders while honoring the valor and dedication of the fighting men Fall was a Frenchman who immigrated to America and accompanied French Union forces for graduate research at a U.S university His writing brought to light the hidebound French military leadership s failure to grasp the realities of counter insurgency warfare The French knew mobility was the key to thwart the Viet Minh, but they applied European concepts of mobile warfare that depended too heavily on roads and vehicular transport The cruel fate of Mobile Group 1 in central Annam unveiled the limitations of French military visioncompletely than the renowned fiasco at Dien Bien Phu The French bungled and miscalculated everywhere They failed at tactical intelligence gathering, routinely neglected to conduct adequate reconnaissance, mismanaged the propaganda war, underestimated the capabilities and tenacity of their enemy and squandered troops and scarce material resources in defense of worthless fixed installations In virtually every respect, French leadership ceded the initiative to General Giap and Ho Chi Minh and you don t win by simply reacting to your enemy One of war s oldest maxims is Carry the war to the enemy The French did not The Viet Minh carried it to them again, and again, and again Street Without Joy drew lessons from the French debacle applicable to America s growing involvement in Indo China unfortunately Fall was a prophet without honor in his adopted country While a few forward looking American officers appreciated the value of effective counter insurgency warfare, conventional forces generals held sway in Saigon, Hawaii and Washington Some of our greatest successes in Vietnam resulted from effective operations by Special Forces, Combined Action Platoons and indigenous guerrillas, but most of our vast resources went into conventional operations Bernard Fall told us what to expect in the jungles of Southeast Asia, but too few of our generals and politicians heeded the admonition

  3. Ammara Abid Ammara Abid says:

    Street without joy Explicit detailed account.Very informative but very dry I keep on pushing myself, Read Ammara Read Irrespective of the fact, it s hard for me but undoubtedly it s a brilliant book on French war.

  4. Thomas Thomas says:

    This book and The True Believer, were required reading when I went through the Special Forces Officer s Course at Ft Bragg When I went to Vietnam, I saw much of what Dr Fall was describing I just reread Street Without Joy and realize that he was not only a brilliant historian, he was prescient in his understanding of the nature of insurgencies in the modern world He spoke of the folly of the French when he said that they were trying to fight ideology with technology We, the Americans, This book and The True Believer, were required reading when I went through the Special Forces Officer s Course at Ft Bragg When I went to Vietnam, I saw much of what Dr Fall was describing I just reread Street Without Joy and realize that he was not only a brilliant historian, he was prescient in his understanding of the nature of insurgencies in the modern world He spoke of the folly of the French when he said that they were trying to fight ideology with technology We, the Americans, tried the same thing McNamara attempted to fight the NVA infiltration with electronic sensors Didn t work The parts of the American effort that was successful was often suppressed or ignored by Washington This was particularly true of some of the better psychological warfare efforts.Are we making the same mistakes now in the Middle East

  5. David David says:

    Simply a great book It deserves your undivided attention As far as I can tell, this book can be bought in old fashioned paper form in the USA only from by Stackpole Books, based in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania and in business since 1930 In addition to the inherent virtue of supporting a publishing institution of long standing dignity and of location far removed from the traditional centers of power, I also think that this book is best experienced this way, because of the great pictures and map Simply a great book It deserves your undivided attention As far as I can tell, this book can be bought in old fashioned paper form in the USA only from by Stackpole Books, based in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania and in business since 1930 In addition to the inherent virtue of supporting a publishing institution of long standing dignity and of location far removed from the traditional centers of power, I also think that this book is best experienced this way, because of the great pictures and maps in the book It s impossible to say that there isn t an electronic format somewhere that will display this book adequately, but my Kindle ebook reader certainly will not do justice, especially, to the excellent maps in this book, apparently drawn by the author himself The clarity and accuracy of these maps must constitute some kind of gold standard against which other military historians may measure themselves Each complex and chaotic battle described in the book and there are many appears notthan three pages away from a crisp and beautiful map which clarifies the text considerably Every place name or geographical feature referred to in the narrative appears on the nearby map My only complaint is that the book should be sold as a set with a good magnifying glass, as a special offer to middle aged history buffs who are too cheap to regularly update the prescription on their reading glasses To put it another way, squinting at a book held two inches from nose is not consistent with the self image I hold of my dignity.All this praise of the maps shouldn t lead you to conclude that the rest of the book suffers by comparison The research was clearly phenomenal Given the author s clear and easy style, it s also hard to believe that the author was born in Austria and his first language was French.All this praise of the maps, pictures, research, and style shouldn t lead you to conclude that the book doesn t carry a clear and worthwhile message today about the effective use of military might For example, from page 266 In a form of warfare in which political considerations regularly outweigh the military, air attacks against suspected enemy groups are all too likely to be self defeating The loss of support brought brought on by each innocent man or woman killed is likely to far outweigh the possible gain of hard core rebels This is actually a quotation by Fall from another book, but it s to the author s credit that he found and included it For casual readers meaning, if you re reading this for pleasure born from knowing things, but not studying it for a class , I especially recommend the chapters 4, 6, 8, and 10 labelled Diary , which are adapted from the letters Fall wrote home to his American wife while doing research in Southeast Asia They offer a fascinating glimpse into the day to day details of a time and place that is quickly receding from living memory Some of it is even laugh out loud funny, like the anecdote on page 274 about the unexpected popularity with certain hill tribes of Vietnam of a US government produced short documentary film about a volunteer fire department in Illinois.In fact, if you are fortunate to live in a place where you can grab this book off the shelf of a library or bookstore, run down right now would be good and read these chapters while standing in the aisle It will be the most enjoyable act that you will do today.If you are not fortunate enough to be in a situation where you can study it with an expert, at least try to find a quiet moment in your life when you can read it with mindfulness I think a beach vacation would be perfect for this purpose In fact, I read it on a beach vacation However, my understanding, based on observation of people who appear to fit the description of normal , is that many people inexplicably desire lighter fare during beach vacation Why Books like this one are far superior, and you will only have the time and energy to give this book the attention it deserves at a time when you are away from the thousand distractions of a normal life Plus, you will be a better person for having read this book Just go ahead and read it already

  6. Checkman Checkman says:

    Bernard Fall s classic account of the First Indochina War 1946 1954 The book was originally published in 1961 in English and quickly became a standard reference for American military personnel as well as anyone else wanting to gain some insight into Southeast Asia at the time Street Without Joy French translation La Rue Sans Joie was the name given by troops of the French Far East Expeditionary Corps to the stretch of Route 1 from Hu City yes that Hue from Full Metal Jacket to Qu Bernard Fall s classic account of the First Indochina War 1946 1954 The book was originally published in 1961 in English and quickly became a standard reference for American military personnel as well as anyone else wanting to gain some insight into Southeast Asia at the time Street Without Joy French translation La Rue Sans Joie was the name given by troops of the French Far East Expeditionary Corps to the stretch of Route 1 from Hu City yes that Hue from Full Metal Jacket to Qu ng Tr during the First Indochina War Strangely enough historical irony , Bernard Fall was killed by a landmine ,on that same stretch of road, in 1967 when he was accompanying United States Marines on a mission.The book is not a comprehensive chronological recounting of the war Street Without Joy is actually a series of essays that examine specific battles campaigns that occurred between 1950 1954 Between the chapters ,examining the war, Fall inserts four chapters that are his personal observations and are titled Diary The main centerpiece of the book is the chapter examining the destruction of Groupement Mobile No 100 Mobile Group 100 or G.M 100 It s a long chapter and very engrossing The entire book is very involving Episodic and written in the style of the time frequent reference to Reds and Communists it is evident that Fall did not access to full U.S government documents when he wrote the book The other thing that will stand out is most of the writing is from the perspective of the French with the Viet Minh servingas a faceless opponent The book is an angry book, but there is the unmistakable feeling that Fall wrote the book as a way to educate the Western world about the formidable opponent that if faced in the East It s an angry book because Fall is recounting where the French went wrong in their fight against the Viet Minh, but Fall did not write an anti war scree it has definite political biases anti communist and is intended to show how the Communists fight I would expect nothing less from a book written at the height of the Cold War.Despite these weak spots the book is thoughtful and stays away from simplistic jingoisms It isn t a blast of anti communist propaganda, but rather a book intended to educate Fall is clear that the Communists are very competent and are very capable at taking advantage of the Western World s mistakes and shortcomings In the end the book is most successful at giving the reader a look at the Human element of the war He shows the people of Vietnam ,and their culture, while also conveying what the French soldiers went through with a clear and vivid writing style Fall s book is considered to be a modern military history classic because it brings the French era of the Vietnam War to life It isn t the facts or conclusions that Fall presents some of which are still eerily prescient i.e what the U.S was looking at , but the ability to make that war still seem accessible almost sixty five years since it ended It s an excellent account and I recommend it

  7. Lisa Lieberman Lisa Lieberman says:

    I now see where many of the secondary sources I ve been reading got their insights What s neat, though, is how Fall weaves his personal observations through the analysis of what went wrong at Dien Bien Phu Fascinating characters emerge, and stories like this one Perhaps one of the most touching cases of devotion was that of Madame S White haired and close to sixty years old, she belonged to one of the grand bourgeois families of France When her son, a lieutenant in the infantry, was transfer I now see where many of the secondary sources I ve been reading got their insights What s neat, though, is how Fall weaves his personal observations through the analysis of what went wrong at Dien Bien Phu Fascinating characters emerge, and stories like this one Perhaps one of the most touching cases of devotion was that of Madame S White haired and close to sixty years old, she belonged to one of the grand bourgeois families of France When her son, a lieutenant in the infantry, was transferred to Indochina, she enlisted in the PFAT to be near him and was assigned to Hanoi as director of the maternity hospital for army girls who d gotten into trouble There weren t too many of them, but in any case, the French Army had taken the realistic attitude that a girl, pregnant or not, still made a good radio operator or secretary typist Thus, in the case of pregnancy, the girls were not discharged but merely sent on sick leave within the theater itself, to return to active duty after confinement.Petite and dignified in the immaculate white uniform of the PFAT, Mme S could be seen zooming through the streets of Hanoi on her white motor scooter, going briskly about her business while awaiting the next leave period of her son Her son, while no doubt touched by this extreme demonstration of maternal solicitude, felt that his mother was definitely cramping the style of his leave periods, and, in turn, sought any sort of assignment that would get hi as far as possible from Hanoi, but to little avail When last seen, Lieutenant S Was in Haiphong, hiding behind dark glasses and asking all his friends please not to tell mama that he was taking his vacation elsewhere What a treasure trove of period detail

  8. Jack Jack says:

    This is not a book It was an opportunity A chance A vision of the future that was missed Who missed that vision We did.Street Without Joy was written about the French miseries fighting the Viet Minh How they struggled How they lost It was also written real time It was published in 1961 Many years before we fully committed ground troops to what was to become a quagmire But they were French Why should we pay attention to someone who lost We are Americans We don t pay attention to any This is not a book It was an opportunity A chance A vision of the future that was missed Who missed that vision We did.Street Without Joy was written about the French miseries fighting the Viet Minh How they struggled How they lost It was also written real time It was published in 1961 Many years before we fully committed ground troops to what was to become a quagmire But they were French Why should we pay attention to someone who lost We are Americans We don t pay attention to anyone else because we know better don t we We could have read and learned from these men We lost an opportunity because of our arrogance.Starting at World War II the Viet Minh filled the power vacuum once the Japanese folded This was their strategy They were solidly in power when the French made their return to Indochina Trying desperately to reclaim their empire they ran into something muchpowerfulnationalism The Japanese had shown that European colonial powers could be defeated Thus they could lose again The Viet Minh were supported by the populace like no French puppet could.The French fielded the largest army since the World War The army was a road bound behemoth that tried to pin down an elusive enemy Battles were fought Some won Some lost Meanwhile battles across the world were being lost to the communists China Korea ManyThe sanctuaries developed allowing the Viet Minh to hide and lick their wounds and frustrate their French antagonists Experienced Chinese and Russian advisors came to assist the Vietnamese in their struggles The French were losingand they knew it They rolled the dice at Dien Bien Phu and got snake eyes Their colonial venture was lost The biggest loser was us though We paid no attention to their lessons Our arrogance cost us dearly We have a habit of not listening or attending to those who have gone before us Maybe next time we will

  9. James James says:

    Bernard Fall s heartbreaking history of war in Vietnam heartbreaking for at least three reasons because of the failure of the French to honor the aspirations of the Vietnamese or to learn from their own mistakes the failure of the U.S government to learn from the experiences of the French and the staggering amount of death, suffering and devastation visited on the Vietnamese people as a result.One story can stand in for a lot of this book s message An American unit was ambushed by the NVA Bernard Fall s heartbreaking history of war in Vietnam heartbreaking for at least three reasons because of the failure of the French to honor the aspirations of the Vietnamese or to learn from their own mistakes the failure of the U.S government to learn from the experiences of the French and the staggering amount of death, suffering and devastation visited on the Vietnamese people as a result.One story can stand in for a lot of this book s message An American unit was ambushed by the NVA on a highway that the French had nicknamed the Street Without Joy, because of the bloodshed there When a larger U.S unit came to the rescue, they in turn found themselves caught in a much larger ambush the NVA had been using the first American unit as bait to draw a larger unit in.After the battle, in which both U.S units took terrible losses, one American soldier wandering along the side of the road noticed a sign, a historical marker, commemorating a battle in which exactly the same thing had happened to the French army in exactly the same place So much for learning from the experiences of others

  10. Mike Mike says:

    Not difficult to understand how a small colonial possession rises up to throw off the occupier.

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