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Valley of Death

Valley of Death is a gripping, panoramic history taking the reader from 1940 through the aftermath of the harrowing, monumental French defeat at Dien Bien Phu, which ended colonial rule in Indochina and led inexorably to America's Vietnam War. In 1954, after two months of vicious fighting, French troops were comprehensively defeated, and the first Indochina War effectively ended, by what they had considered a ragtag guerrilla band of revolutionaries. In an epic blunder, the French greatly underestimated the military capabilities of the Viet Minh. They surrounded and besieged the French, with Dien Bien Phu rapidly becoming a`suburb of hell', as tenacious fighting on the ground ensued, reminiscent of the trench warfare of World War One. Ted Morgan is uniquely qualified to provide the definitive account of a battle that changed the course of history. Beyond his prestigious literary accolades, Morgan served in the French Army in 1956, just two years after the battle at Dien Bien Phu. During that time he had the unique experience of hearing first hand accounts from soldiers and major figures involved in the action. Alongside this, Morgan makes use of previously untapped information that has come out of the US on America's involvement in the battle. With this new information Meyer is able to shed fresh light on one of the worst disasters in French military history. About the Author Ted Morgan is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and the author of biographies on FDR, Churchill and Maugham, which was a finalist for the National Book Award.
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About the Author

Ted Morgan is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and the author of biographies of FDR, Churchill, and Maugham, the last of which was a finalist for the National Book Award. He is also the author of "Reds: McCarthyism in Twentieth-Century America," "A Shovel of Stars: The Making of the American West--1800 to the Present," and "Wilderness at Dawn: The Settling of The North American Continent." He lives in New York City.


"Ted Morgan answers one of the most elusive questions of our time: how and why America went into Vietnam? Until now the issue of the origins of the war was never given the thorough analysis found in Valley of Death, an amazing and essential account that was missing from all the classic Vietnam War histories. It took a writer equally comfortable with the French and the American archival record to finally deal successfully with the issue that compelled Robert McNamara to order the drafting of the Pentagon Papers. Yet even that Department of Defense study remains incomplete because the French record was only marginally touched by the researchers. That gap has finally been closed with Valley of Death."--Robert L. Miller, Co-author of "Encyclopedia of Cold War Espionage" " ""Ted Morgan brings to life the climactic battle of Dien Bien Phu in a way no English reader has seen in four decades. This was the battle that cast the enduring mold for Southeast Asia. From contextualizing the French war in Vietnam to the desperate efforts of French and Vietnamese soldiers, and from the conference tables in Geneva, Paris, and Washington to the staff map rooms in Hanoi and at Viet Minh headquarters in the bush, Valley of Death tells this important story with verve. This is a gem of a book." --John Prados, author of "Vietnam: The History of an Unwinnable War, 1945-1975 ""In Valley of Death, Ted Morgan has made a significant contribution to the bookshelf of both history buff and general reader. Done in an easy, readable style, thoroughly researched, it is a story of the incredible blunders made by the French in their effort to maintain their colonial status in Indo-China from 1940 to mid 1954. It stands as a reminder of how easy it is for the Western countries to underestimate the will of "backward" peoples to fight for their freedoms both with self-sacrifice and intelligence. At the same time it is a very human story. It tells of people - of generals, diplomats, andc

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