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Victory at Any Cost: The Genius of Viet Nam's Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap Paperback – February 1, 2000


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

From Brassey's come two volumes of military history. Victory at Any Cost: The Genius of Viet Nam's Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap, by Cecil B. Currey, offers a thoroughly researched biography of the leader of the Vietnamese Communist forces against the Japanese, French and Americans. Photos. Oblivion: The Mystery of West Point Cadet Richard Cox, by Harry J. Maihafer, diligently explores and solves the questions behind the 1950 disappearance from West Point of the eponymous cadet, which generated national headlines at the time. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

An absorbing biography of Vietnam's ranking soldier-statesman and, arguably, one of military history's greatest captains, from a scholar who gained direct access to him. Drawing on interviews with and material supplied by Giap (who turned 85 earlier this year), Currey (Edward Lansdale, 1988) offers an engrossing account of how his protagonist played a leading role in an impoverished, industrially backward nation's military defeat of two Western powers. A dedicated member of the Communist Party long before he became a warrior, the self-taught Giap accomplished much as supreme commander of his country's guerrilla, militia, and regular-army forces. Having conducted effective anti-colonial insurgencies during the late 1940s, for example, he routed the French in a pitched battle at Dien Bien Phu in 1954. Giap subsequently organized grassroots resistance in South Vietnam and masterminded campaigns that made continuation of America's Indochinese commitments politically untenable after the Tet offensive of 1968. In his tellingly detailed narrative (which doubles as a chronicle of armed conflict in Vietnam from the preWW II era through the border clashes with Cambodia and China in 1979), Currey (History/Univ. of South Florida) does not shy from cataloguing Giap's shortcomings. Among other things, he faults him for his active involvement in the Politburo's bloody pogroms and his willingness to sustain appalling casualties in pursuit of his objectives. The author nonetheless gives Giap full marks for strategic vision, geopolitical savvy, tactical finesse, and grasp of logistics. Currey also makes a fine job of reconstructing Giap's early years as a teacher and the influences that set him on a revolutionary's path. An authoritative briefing on a great general. (8 pages photos, maps, not seen) -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 401 pages
  • Publisher: Brassey's Inc; Ill edition (February 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1574881949
  • ISBN-13: 978-1574881943
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,782,654 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

He simply tries to tell his story, and why Giap is the genius he is.
John R Sinton
The author of this book succeeded in writing one of the best biographies I have read.
Harmonious
And not only did they have the artillery pieces, they knew how to use them.
Phil Marlowe

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

70 of 81 people found the following review helpful By John R Sinton on August 4, 2001
Format: Paperback
Vietnam history is one of invasion, going back a thousand years. Chinese, Khmer, French, Japanese, and finally the Americans. The Vietnamese have struggled with all of these. If one puts Vietnamese history into this context, one starts to realize that there is no other story like the Vietnamese saga.
General Giap is a figure that must be studied by any serious student of warfare history. Giap was a arduious student of Napoleon, very serious, totally dedicated to his cause. While the fighting spirit and mettle of the Viet Minh cannot be understated, Giap's victory at Dien Bien Phu was nothing short of spectacular, using his army of barefoot soldiers. His grasp of logistics, and his sense of flexability on the battlefield are unsurpassed in modern warfare. His victory gave hope to colonial peoples all over the world, and signaled the end of colonialism. He proved the indiginous people could defeat a modern, powerful army. He fought the riches, most technologically advanced nation ever known to a standstill.
I have totally enjoyed Cecil Curry's book on Giap. Curry's book does not try to glorify the man, nor does he make him out to be an evil communist. He simply tries to tell his story, and why Giap is the genius he is. Also, Curry goes into the excesses of the Vietnamese communist, as well as that of the French, Vietnamese oposition, and the Americans: He never tries to gloss over anything. Curry has some interviews with Giap, which makes the book even more interesting.
This book should be read by anyone who loves military history, whether professionally or not. Any officer in any army could learn something here. Love him or hate him, Giap was a formidable foe, both to his foreign enemies, and those at home. History will remember Giap, and Curry's book will be the definitive source on his story for a long time to come.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Harmonious on October 29, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Vo Nguyen Giap's story is a remarkable one. This is a man that, with no formal military training, built a crack Army from scratch. He also led that same Army to victory over two major World Powers, namely, France and the USA. The author of this book succeeded in writing one of the best biographies I have read. The author is impartial and fair. You will be delighted by the artful writing of the author. Overall, this is a very entertaining and informative book.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By D. E. W. Turner on September 13, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a biography of General Vo Nguyen Giap, the founder and general of the North Vietnamese Army. I found his history to be interesting, especially his education and the foundation of the Vietnamese Army during the revolution against the French after World War II. The revolution against the French began before the end of World War II under the tutelage of the United States as part of the war effort against the Japanese. The United States then deserted Ho Chi Minh and Vo Nguyen Giap - as we have so many "allies" since! Will we learn or will we desert our "allies" in Afghanistan and Iraq? The author did have some difficulties with the writing of the time frame of the Vietnamese Conflict involving the United States - he couldn't decide who was the enemy.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By T. Graczewski VINE VOICE on November 16, 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Vo Nguyen Giap died in Hanoi in 2013 at the ripe old age of 102. Given his arduous early military life in the bush followed by his decades long leadership in a brutal war for national independence, joisting continuously with firepower-rich foreign enemies and deadly internal political rivals, he at least deserves to be remembered by history for his unnatural longevity. But American historian Cecil Currey argues for a much grander legacy for Giap in this able (although occasionally plodding) biography, literally placing the North Vietnamese general alongside history’s greatest commanders. Is such a flattering assessment warranted? After reading “Victory at Any Cost: The Genius of Viet Nam’s Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap,” I’d say the answer is a qualified yes.

Giap was an unusually talented man. That much is clear. Intelligent, hardworking, well-educated and passionate, his native abilities were recognized by many, including French colonial officials when he was still in school. In an attempt to win him over to the French side, the chief of colonial police arranged for Giap to be offered an all-expense paid higher education in Paris to study whatever he liked. He turned it down without hesitation. Giap’s love of country and hatred of the colonizing enemy (and their native lackeys) was incandescent and never dimmed. “For Giap and his fellows,” Currey writes, “a divided Viet Nam was a country in crisis, suffering unnatural agonies.” It matter little to him if the foreign power dividing Vietnam were fellow Asian Japanese, abusive French or liberal Americans, or even fellow communist Chinese. Vietnam, for Giap, was sacred, inviolable. He never doubted that victory would ultimately be achieved, even if it took hundreds of years.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Timothy C. Swanson on September 15, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Mr. Curry's prose flows easily and enjoyably through the twists and turns of General Giap's life up to 1996. Curry's emphasis on the political aspects of warfare that dominate the outlook of the communist Vietnamese military and its overseers is appropriate. Curry does not hide that he finds Giap, in many respects, a sympathetic character. Neither does he shrink from pointing out the mistakes Giap made or the blood on Giap's hands. There is also a sprinkling of Giap's own writing, which is so tortured and hackneyed it was criticized (with good reason) by his own comrades. The quotes will not disappoint commie-speak aficionados. I noticed some surprising factual errors and strange translations that somewhat undermine what otherwise seems to be a well-researched and documented book. Curry seems a bit frustrated that Giap has towed the party line so faithfully and been so unwilling to criticize it. Would that the book had been written in 2004 after Giap's supposed protection of General Tran Do when Do became openly critical of communist party rule.
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