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Free eBook The Last Valley download

by Martin Windrow

Free eBook The Last Valley download ISBN: 029784671X
Author: Martin Windrow
Publisher: Weidenfeld Military; 1st Printing edition (April 8, 2004)
Language: English
Pages: 320
Category: Historical
Subcategory: Asia
Size MP3: 1733 mb
Size FLAC: 1817 mb
Rating: 4.9
Format: lit doc lit docx

Eventually, the demoralized and weakened French were utterly depleted and withdrew in defeat. The siege at Dien Bien Phu was a landmark battle of the last century-the first defeat of modern western forces by an Asian guerilla army.

The Last Valley: Dien Bien Phu and the French Defeat in Vietnam by Martin Windrow was published in 2004 by Weidenfeld and Nicholson. The USA failed to learn the lessons of this conflict, thus condemning themselves to defeat. Interestingly the British were more adept in Malaysia’s during the insurgency and again during the Indonesian confrontation.

The Last Valley: Dien Bien Phu and the French Defeat in Vietnam (Paperback). Martin Windrow (author). Please provide me with your latest book news, views and details of Waterstones’ special offers.

The Last Valley book. Each chapter Like Martin Windrow my interest in the French debacle at Dien Bien Phu began many years ago with Bernard Fall's classic Hell in a Very Small Place. Now Windrow has surpassed Fall. The Last Valley: Dien Bien Phu and the French Defeat in Vietnam is an outstanding example of the non-fiction writer's art.

Stalingrad in the jungle: the battle that doomed the French Empire and led America into Vietnam. In winter 1953-54 the French army in Vietnam challenged its elusive enemy, General Giap's Viet Minh, to pitched battle. Ten thousand French paras and légionnaires, with artillery and tanks, were flown to the remote valley of Dien Bien Phu to build a fortress upon which Giap could smash his inexperienced regiments. The siege which followed became a Stalingrad in the jungle, and its outcome shocked the world.

Martin Windrow has pulled off a remarkable feat, given the wholesale destruction of the French Army’s files in its retreat from Indo-China and the embarrassed silence of successive French governments about the debacle

Martin Windrow has pulled off a remarkable feat, given the wholesale destruction of the French Army’s files in its retreat from Indo-China and the embarrassed silence of successive French governments about the debacle. In fact France was still tortured in the 1950s by its defeat and occupation in 1940.

In December 1953 the French army challenged its elusive Vietnamese enemies to a stand-up battle. French paras landed on the border between Vietnam and Laos, astride the Communist lines of communication. The Vietnamese not only attacked, they isolated the French force and besieged it in its jungle base. The hunters became the hunted. As defeat loomed, the French appealed to the USA where Vice-President Nixon and Air Force General Le May planned to drop atomic bombs on the Vietnamese supply dumps. It fell to Winston Churchill to block the use of atomic weapons in Vietnam: President Eisenhower would not employ them without his consent. What followed became a Stalingrad in the jungle: the French were worn down and destroyed. The French withdrew from Vietnam but the country was divided at US insistence, creating the short-lived 'Republic of South Vietnam' for which 55,000 US servicemen would die over the next 20 years. The French colonial army regrouped in Algeria where a new war began, one it was so determined to win that its officers would ultimately attempt a coup d'etat. Dien Bien Phu is a true landmark battle. Its political consequences were profound. Militarily, it was the first defeat of modern western forces by an Asian guerrilla army.
User reviews
Long ago, as a young Marine LT going to Nam, I read Bernard Fall’s <i>Hell in a Very Small Place</i>. I thought of it then, and now, as one of the great battle books written. Fall’s description of the heroism of the Legionaires on the Elaines, of the fights to hold and beat back huge attacks by the Viet Minh were inspiring.

Apparently Mr. Fall’s book inspired Mr. Windrow to spend serious time researching the battle, and the various factors that were in play in French Indochina at the time. This is the result of his work, and it very well may be THE definitive book on Dien Bien Phu. Carefully researched, with acknowledgements to sources of his data, including numerous post-campaign works of justification or explanation, the author takes the reader through the battle, showing both French and communist force movements, motivations, responces, etc. He also spends the first quarter of the book dealing with how the war in Indochina evolved since the French return after WWII, including difficulties France had with running the war because of limitations at home.

And like his hero, Bernard Fall, Mr. Windrow has managed to write this all in a highly readable manner, allowing one to get involved in all the parts of the battle. I am a great fan of great battle books, and this one ranks among the best. Bernard Fall would be pround of his legacy.
I stumbled into this book with no strong interest in the Vietnam war, nor intention to read a longish military history. But this turned out to be one of my best reads of the year.... It briskly, thoroughly, and brilliantly lays out the run up to, and hour by hour battle of, Dien Bien Phu and its political and military aftermath. In retrospect, it is stunning to see how the USA stepped in and basically supersized almost every strategic mistake the French made, until we also left the steaming jungle in shame, politically defeated in a militarily winnable war. Windrow writes with terse clarity, with an occasional "plain English" aside to explain what it felt like to be in a tank, or under an artillery barrage. His passage explaining the difference between what one sees in the movies with commercial explosives pretending to be artilley fire, versus the flat, breath-sucking crack of military-grade high explosive, communicated that reality in a way I've never sensed in other war writing. Somehow, without dwelling on the gruesome, he conveys some of the fulness of brutality that battle saw. More than once I found myself ending the evening, putting the book down not only with eyes tired, but emotionally spent after a couple hours' vicarious life in the trenches.... Stunning book!
The level of research coming from French sources in this book was impressive. But there was a lack of depth to the Viet Minh sources used. Part of the problem is the closed archives of Hanoi, but part of the problem was also a lack of utilization of oral narratives of the surviving Viet Minh fighters. In some cases Windrow used accounts from French POWs on what was going on behind Viet Minh lines that were not supplemented by Vietnamese sources. My recommendation is to supplement this book by reading Harvard University Press's book "The First Vietnam War."
Fantastic read. I loved Windrow's ability to switch from the macro -- French political developments, international diplomacy -- to the micro -- individual units or specific legionnaires holding on to a particular blockhouse. I had a very unfair, and uninformed, conception of the French at Dien Bien Phu and of Gen. Giap and the People's Army. Learned something on every page.

Windrow also has the ability to write about small unit tactics and battlefield mechanics in a way that is engaging and compelling. Really can't recall another author with that skill.
This was as well researched and presented as any military history book I've read. As a retired Army officer I look for technical details in military history; weapons, tactics and terrain. This book had everything I wanted in the technical and tactical areas and provided some very readable personal profiles of soldiers engaged in one of the most violent battles of the Vietnam era. I have nothing but positives for this book. Highly recommend.