Synopses & Reviews
In December 1953 French paratroopers, who had been searching for the elusive Vietnamese army, were quickly isolated by them and forced to retreat into their out-gunned and desolate jungle base-a small place called Dien Bien Phu. The Vietnamese besieged the French base for five long and desperate months. Eventually, the demoralized and weakened French were utterly depleted and withdrew in defeat. The siege at Dien Bien Phu was a landmark battle of the last century-the first defeat of modern western forces by an Asian guerilla army.The Last Valley is the first new account of the battle since the 1970s. The author has incorporated much new material from French and Vietnamese sources, including veteran interviews, making this the most complete account to-date. And Martin Windrow has received widespread praise from top historians such as John Keegan and Max Hastings (below), as well as reviewers on both sides of the Atlantic.
A look at Dien Bien Phu and the French defeat in Vietnam.
In December 1953 the French army occupying Vietnam challenged the elusive Vietnamese army to engage in a decisive battle. When French paratroopers landed in the jungle on the border between Vietnam and Laos, the Vietnamese quickly isolated the French force and confronted them at their jungle base in a small place called Dien Bien Phu. The hunters-the French army-had become the hunted, desperately defending their out-gunned base. The siege in the jungle wore on as defeat loomed for the French. Eventually the French were depleted, demoralized, and destroyed. As they withdrew, the country was ominously divided at U.S. insistence, creating the short-lived Republic of South Vietnam for which 55,000 Americans would die in the next twenty years.
The highly acclaimed book about the battle that doomed the French Empire and led America into Vietnam, The Last Valley is "a brilliant work of military history" -Boston Globe
About the Author
Martin Windrow is an associate of the Royal Historical Society and a member of the Foreign Legion Association of Great Britain. He is the co-author of several well-known military reference works, including the Dictionary of Military Biography. He lives in Sussex, England.