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Street Without Joy: The French Debacle in Indochina (Stackpole Military History Series) Paperback – June 10, 2005
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"A poignant, angry, articulate book . . ." --Newsweek --Newsweek
"A poignant, angry, articulate book . . ." --Newsweek
"...A dramatic treatment of a historic event ... the vast panorama of the Indochina struggle emerges with graphic impact." -- The New York Times Book Review<br /><br />"A poignant, angry, articulate book . . ." --Newsweek
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While many in Washington in the early 1960s claimed to have read this book, obviously, very few heeded its message. Had they done so, it would seem that the United States, despite all its arrogance, might have avoided the quagmire that Viet Nam became and the multitude of deaths that occurred as the result of our hubris.
Published in 1961 (more than 4 years before the beginning of the US build-up in SE Asia), Fall provided his readers with an exceptionally strong historical and political analysis of the region, its people and their leaders. Again, the Washington elite seemed to have disregarded the quality of the material and the skill of the messenger as they barged head-long into our longest and most divisive war. It was one that would ultimately cause America to question itself and to cause the American people to question the honesty and integrity of their leaders. That could have been avoided had more people heeded the message contained within the covers of Fall's outstanding treatise.
To be sure, Fall's loyalties were divided and often conflicted. Born and raised in France, he came to the USA after WW II to study. He first saw Viet Nam as a Fulbright scholar. He returned many times and became a recognized expert in the cultural, political and economic realities of the region.Read more ›
Lessons learned included the folly of employing heavy, road-bound, mechanized/armored forces that were highly vulnerable to Viet-Cong (VC) ambushes, effective use of the jungle as a sanctuary by the VC, underestimating the stamina of the VC, and the ultimate war-weariness that caused the French public to rebel at fighting a seemingly endless conflict for no tangible gain. Add to this, the close coordination of political and military objectives that caused the Viet-Cong to sacrifice people, places and things to achieve a single objective: A Vietnam united under Communism. Does this sound familiar? This book, published in 1961, was readily available in the U.S. If it was read, it was ignored.
Fall gives detailed accounts of communist tactics and the results that accrued to French commanders who refused to recognize the fact that, "the (tactics) book," they had been schooled under simply did not apply in Vietnam. Amazingly, the U.S. then deployed our troops to Vietnam, with our own officers schooled by the same, "book!" Gallantry, esprit-de-corp, machismo, and/or faith in a righteous cause were no more effective against well-laid ambushes in the `60s and `70s than they were in the `40s and `50s. The lessons of history were there for the reading. Why we refused to heed them is a mystery that still calls for an answer.
Street Without Joy is not a left-wing condemnation of western "imperialism," or, the evils of "intervention.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A classic.... A must have for military enthusiasts and students of military history and tactics....Published 14 days ago by Frank
Great book in depth look at why the French could never win a war.Published 1 month ago by Wizard of Fitchburg
Was glad that I read and studied the original Street Without Joy before my first tour in Vietnam. Understanding the lessons of the French and Viet Minh save my bacon more that... Read morePublished 2 months ago by rex
Very interesting read for those who are interested in understanding the French experience and how it, in so many ways, foreshadowed the American experience in Vietnam.Published 3 months ago by Robert Connerley
A FAIR READ ON THE FRENCH DEBACLE IN VIETNAM..BETTER CHOICES OUT THERE...Published 3 months ago by Samshooter
A Very readable account of this little known war. Should be required reading at West Point. Details which are fascinating.Published 5 months ago by Deborah W.