A veteran of the French Army, Ted Morgan has made use of exclusive firsthand reports to create the most complete and dramatic telling of the conflict ever written. Here is the history of the Vietminh liberation movement’s rebellion against French occupation after World War II and its growth as an adversary, eventually backed by Communist China. Here too is the ill-fated French plan to build a base in Dien Bien Phu and draw the Vietminh into a debilitating defeat—which instead led to the Europeans being encircled in the surrounding hills, besieged by heavy artillery, overrun, and defeated.
Making expert use of recently unearthed or released information, Morgan reveals the inner workings of the American effort to aid France, with Eisenhower secretly disdainful of the French effort and prophetically worried that “no military victory was possible in that type of theater.” Morgan paints indelible portraits of all the major players, from Henri Navarre, head of the French Union forces, a rigid professional unprepared for an enemy fortified by rice carried on bicycles, to his commander, General Christian de Castries, a privileged, miscast cavalry officer, and General Vo Nguyen Giap, a master of guerrilla warfare working out of a one-room hut on the side of a hill. Most devastatingly, Morgan sets the stage for the Vietnam quagmire that was to come.
Superbly researched and powerfully written, Valley of Death is the crowning achievement of an author whose work has always been as compulsively readable as it is important.
From the Hardcover edition.
Presenting the story from the U.S., French, and Vietnamese points of view, this eBook edition of Operation Vulture is completely revised and rewritten, with new text on almost every international facet of the Dien Bien Phu battle. It provides the most detailed treatment of the secret plan to drop tactical nuclear weapons there. It includes fresh material on American naval and air operations, on the CIA and French intelligence, on U.S. and French efforts to relieve the besieged fortress, on the historical disputes over the diplomacy of Dien Bien Phu and Geneva, and on the cover-up of Eisenhower era records of these events. Also included are new maps specifically prepared for this edition.
“A detailed and readable study…” —Foreign Affairs
“Dr. Prados’s perceptive...account gains impressive credence from his extensive use of recently declassified material.” —Army Magazine
“John Prados is a clever and prodigious digger of historical fact.” —Evan Thomas, New York Times Bestselling Author
The question "Why were we in Vietnam?" comes up regularly regarding the root causes for the ultimate deployment of over five hundred thousand US troops, most of them conscripts, into a virtually unknown land. When France left Indochina in 1954 it became an American problem. Weeks before the murder of John F. Kennedy came the overthrow of Ngo Dinh Diem and the escalation of the war in 1965–68. Finally, Richard Nixon, after extending the war into Cambodia, enacted both the Vietnamization process and negotiations in Paris between Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho, until the final act in April 1975, when the US embassy rooftop with the last helicopter taking off was flashed around the world as the grand finale to the war.
In A War of Logistics, Charles R. Shrader meticulously examines both French Union and Viet Minh logistical units during the period of active conventional warfare, as well as external support provided to the French by the United States and to the Vietnamese by China. Although the Vietnamese had few advantages over their opponents, their military leaders brilliantly employed a highly committed network of soldiers and civilians, outfitted to accommodate the challenging terrain on which they fought.
Drawing on extensive research such as declassified intelligence documents, the reports of French participants, and accounts by Viet Minh leaders, including Vo Nguyen Giap and Ho Chi Minh, A War of Logistics provides in-depth coverage of the often-ignored but critically important topic of logistics in modern military campaigns.
Written with the style of a great novelist and the intrigue of a Cold War thriller, Embers of War is a landmark work that will forever change your understanding of how and why America went to war in Vietnam. Tapping newly accessible diplomatic archives in several nations, Fredrik Logevall traces the path that led two Western nations to tragically lose their way in the jungles of Southeast Asia. He brings to life the bloodiest battles of France’s final years in Indochina—and shows how, from an early point, a succession of American leaders made disastrous policy choices that put America on its own collision course with history. An epic story of wasted opportunities and deadly miscalculations, Embers of War delves deep into the historical record to provide hard answers to the unanswered questions surrounding the demise of one Western power in Vietnam and the arrival of another. Eye-opening and compulsively readable, Embers of War is a gripping, heralded work that illuminates the hidden history of the French and American experiences in Vietnam.
ONE OF THE MOST ACCLAIMED WORKS OF HISTORY IN RECENT YEARS
Winner of the Francis Parkman Prize from the Society of American Historians • Winner of the American Library in Paris Book Award • Winner of the Council on Foreign Relations Arthur Ross Book Award • Finalist for the Cundill Prize in Historical Literature
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
The Washington Post • The Christian Science Monitor • The Globe and Mail
“A balanced, deeply researched history of how, as French colonial rule faltered, a succession of American leaders moved step by step down a road toward full-blown war.”—Pulitzer Prize citation
“This extraordinary work of modern history combines powerful narrative thrust, deep scholarly authority, and quiet interpretive confidence.”—Francis Parkman Prize citation
“A monumental history . . . a widely researched and eloquently written account of how the U.S. came to be involved in Vietnam . . . certainly the most comprehensive review of this period to date.”—The Wall Street Journal
“Superb . . . a product of formidable international research.”—The Washington Post
“Lucid and vivid . . . [a] definitive history.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“An essential work for those seeking to understand the worst foreign-policy adventure in American history . . . Even though readers know how the story ends—as with The Iliad—they will be as riveted by the tale as if they were hearing it for the first time.”—The Christian Science Monitor
“A remarkable new history . . . Logevall skillfully explains everything that led up to Vietnam’s fatal partition in 1954 [and] peppers the grand sweep of his book with vignettes of remarkable characters, wise and foolish.”—The Economist
“Fascinating, beautifully written . . . Logevall’s account provides much new detail and important new insights. . . . It is impossible to read the book without being struck by contemporary parallels.”—Foreign Policy
“[A] brilliant history of how the French colonial war to hang on to its colonies in Indochina became what the Vietnamese now call ‘the American war.’”—Esquire
“An excellent, valuable book.”—The Dallas Morning News