Dien Bien Phu: The Epic Battle America Forgot

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9780028810478: Dien Bien Phu: The Epic Battle America Forgot

Dien Bien Phu is recognized as one of history's great battles. It began in November 1953, when French paratroopers seized a small airstrip in Northwestern Vietnam. It ended in May 1954 with tens of thousands of Vietminh troops overrunning the beseiged garrison. A third of the 15,000 French defenders died in combat, fewer than a hundred escaped into the jungle. Thousands more died in captivity. The fall of Dien Bien Phu led to the American commitment to Vietnam. Ironically, the US military repeated many of the French mistakes. Howard Simpson was at Dien Bien Phu as a combat reporter. His account is a personal one - that of a man who shared meals and wine and danger with the doomed soldiers. He is uniquely qualified to tell the story of this famous last stand.

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About the Author:

The late Howard R. Simpson was the author of eight other well-received novels. He also wrote several nonfiction books, including Someone Else's War and Dien Bien Phu

From Publishers Weekly:

The battle of Dien Bien Phu (1953-1954), stresses the author, was one of the modern era's most decisive confrontations. Simpson, who as a U.S. Information Agency correspondent visited the isolated French fortress and knew many of its defenders, relates the story in heroic terms: how General Giap's Viet Minh troops hauled artillery pieces across mountain ranges and through dense jungles to dominating heights overlooking Dien Bien Phu, their shells ultimately forcing the French surrender; the poignant call for volunteers willing to parachute into the besieged fort to reinforce the casualty-depleted garrison and the response by hundreds of men even though Dien Bien Phu was already doomed. The fall of the fort on May 7, 1954, after a 57-day siege was a disaster for France, for it spelled the end of French hegemony in Indochina and opened the way for U.S. involvement in the region. Simpson pointedly reviews the lessons that would be ignored by the Americans in their ensuing war with the NVA/VC: not to underestimate the guerrilla or overestimate U.S. air power, and above all to secure the support of domestic public opinion. Simpson ( Tiger in the Barbed Wire ) has written a military classic based on newly released documents, interviews with survivors, and his own vivid and compassionate recollections. Photos.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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