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Last Reflections on a War Hardcover – March 1, 2000

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Fall was killed by a Viet Cong booby trap before completing this volume, published posthumously in 1967. LJ's reviewer found that the "material is often repetitious, roughly written, poorly organized," nonetheless adding that the book had value as a springboard for "future research" (LJ 11/1/67). Now that the war is long over, Fall's last observations might better serve as a snapshot of how the war was perceived while in its early stages.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Stackpole Books (March 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811709043
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811709040
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,298,630 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Harold Y. Grooms on January 14, 2004
Format: Hardcover
In this his final work, the late Dr. Bernard B. Fall chronicles America's ever deepening involvement in Vietnam drawing parallels to his native France's involvement earlier. Published from notes and tape recordings recovered after his death in 1967 from a Vietcong booby trap, he shows the triumph and tragedy of that conflict for both sides. A clear warning emerged: America was headed down the same, "Street Without Joy," traveled by France a few years earlier.
Fall begins with a short history of the country. Vietnam has been dominated, through the ages, by a host of foreign powers: first, China, then France, then, during World War II, Japan, and finally the U.S. The reader sympathizes with nationalist leaders like Ho Chi Minh after reviewing Fall's indictment of the French colonial administration. Feelings change after reading how Franklin Roosevelt allowed the slaughter of his allies, the Free-French forces fighting against his bitter enemies, the Japanese, in order to insure France would never return to Indo-China as a colonial power.
In the post World War II period, America's preoccupation with the U.S.S.R.and the PRC and its vacillating foreign policy regarding Indo-China provided the Communists with numerous opportunities to entrench themselves north and south of the 17th parallel. After France's humiliation at Dien Bien Phu America was left to "contain communism" in Southeast Asia alone. To do this we had to support the repressive dictatorship of South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem whose police state tactics had thoroughly alienated the populace. His chapter on, "Viet-Nam's Twelve Elections," is particularly enlightening; call it "democracy" at its absolute worst!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By ElkoJohn on September 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a veteran of the American war in Vietnam. I served two tours as a helicopter gunship pilot. I returned in 1971 totally disillusioned with my government, the South Vietnamese government, the mainstream media, and mainstream religion -- all of whom promoted this war as the way to make the world safe for democracy (wasn't that supposed to be WW-I?). I began to do my research about Vietnam to understand how I, a 19-year old college student, could be so deceived and betrayed to give up my college deferment and volunteer to go to war for the American oligarchy. Dozens of books later, I found two books that were far and away above the rest. The first, Bernard Fall's ''Last Reflections'' is the most comprehensive and truthful account of Vietnam and the colonial powers that tried to occupy and rule that ''domino'' in Southeast Asian. The second, ''Novel Without a Name'' by Duong Thu Huong, was written by a VC soldier who fought the Americans for 10-years. She was one of three survivors of her unit. She told the heart-wrenching story of the American war from the Vietnamese point of view. Her description of combat PTSD on page 152 is the most authentic I have ever read. To quote another author, Major General Smedley Butler, ''War is a Racket.'' Maybe someday the American voters will wake up.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By John P. Jones III TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Bernard Fall was the son of Austrian Jews who emigrated to France after the Anschluss of Austria by Germany in 1938. He lost both his parents in the war; he followed his father in fighting in the French Resistance. After the war he emigrated to the United States, where he became a scholar who specialized in Indochina. He wrote two classic accounts of the French involvement in Indochina, Hell in a Very Small Place: The Siege of Dien Bien Phu, which is an account of the climatic battle of the French war at Dien Bien Phu, and Street Without Joy: The French Debacle In Indochina (Stackpole Military History Series) which was the name the French expeditionary force gave to the area between Hue and Quang Tri along Highway 1. In the latter book he also provides an account of the destruction of Groupe Mobile 100, along Highway 19, in the Central Highlands of southern Vietnam. The destruction of GM 100 took place six weeks after the fall of Dien Bien Phu, which most people think of as the end of the French war. The destruction of GM 100 is indeed a bloody footnote, and Fall's account is the definitive one, and I am most grateful to him for it. I read his account when I was stationed in exactly the same place, at LZ Schueller, on Highway 19, with a tank unit. To those of us who noticed and considered the implications, the French tank, from GM 100, lying on the side of the road, about 2 km from LZ Schueller, was indeed haunting. The destruction of GM 100 is the opening scene in the movie ...Read more ›
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