The Battle of Dienbienphu

November 1, 2020
The Battle of Dienbienphu years ago, France's war with the anticolonialCommunist-led Vietminh insurgency climaxed in the bloody battle forthe valley of Dienbienphu. The Vietminh's victory put the 17million people of North Vietnam under Communist rule and would, intwo years, induce America's attempt to save South Vietnam—withoutheeding the French army's catastrophic defeat. That defeat, formerFrench soldier Jules Roy explains, occurred not because of ashortage of arms or troops, but more important, less tangiblereasons. Hungry for a textbook victory, the French military commandoccupied the valley in a plan to lure the Vietminh down from thehills to destroy them with supposedly superior artillery. Royvividly shows how French political infighting in Paris and rivalryin the high command left a few romantic professional officers andsoldiers of the French Expeditionary Corps and the Foreign Legionto be surrounded and then overwhelmed by totally dedicated andresourceful enemy forces. Roy also profiles Vietminh soldiers andcommanders and how they ended over eighty years of French colonialrule in North Vietnam. 16 pages of black-and-white photographs addto a "moving and dramatic" (New York Times Book Review) account ofthe battle that led to America's involvement the Vietnam War.