Struggling to reassert control over their Indochinese colonies after World War II, the French established a huge air-land base in the valley of Dien Bien Phu. But when the opposing Vietnamese People's Army (VPA) began massing its forces against the base in late 1953, French commanders seized the opportunity to draw their elusive enemy into a decisive set-piece battle.
Defending a series of fortified positions which were reliant upon a single airstrip-and later, risky and inaccurate airdrops-for reinforcement and resupply, the French troops quickly discovered that they had underestimated their enemy. In fifty-six days of costly close-quarters fighting, the VPA slowly dislodged the French from one strongpoint after another by developing novel tactics and accomplishing incredible feats of engineering.
Drawing upon Vietnamese-language sources never previously employed in Western accounts of the siege, Valley of the Shadow is a dramatic re-telling of the climactic battle of the First Indochina War, the conflict that saw the French expelled from their former colony and set the stage for the "American War" in Vietnam.
This title is part of (or scheduled to be part of) the following subscriptions:
You can find this title in the following lists:
by Antony Beevor
by Thomas H. Davenport
by Kevin Starr
by Mark Leibovich
by John Steinbeck
by Kevin Cook
by Kevin O'Brien
by Malcolm Macpherson
by Lars Brownworth
by Roy E. Appleman, James Macgregor Burns, Russell A. Gugeler, John Stevens
by Pete Blaber
Sign up for our email newsletter