Giap: The Victor in Vietnam

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Here, for the first time, is the full story of the general who humbled both the French and the Americans in Vietnam. In 1990 Peter Macdonald went to Hanoi at the invitation of the Vietnamese government to interview General Vo Nguyen Giap, the legendary commander of the Vietnamese Army who had crushed the French at Dien Bien Phu and stymied the Americans at Khe Sanh. Never before had a western writer been offered the opportunity to study the Indochina and Vietnam wars from the Vietnamese point of view, to examine ...
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Scranton, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. 1993 Hardcover New 0393034011. FLAWLESS COPY, BRAND NEW, PRISTINE, NEVER OPENED-368 pages.

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Overview

Here, for the first time, is the full story of the general who humbled both the French and the Americans in Vietnam. In 1990 Peter Macdonald went to Hanoi at the invitation of the Vietnamese government to interview General Vo Nguyen Giap, the legendary commander of the Vietnamese Army who had crushed the French at Dien Bien Phu and stymied the Americans at Khe Sanh. Never before had a western writer been offered the opportunity to study the Indochina and Vietnam wars from the Vietnamese point of view, to examine in detail how an army so poor in material resources accomplished such miracles. In addition to his interviews with Giap, Macdonald spent time with Vietnamese Army serving officers, interviewed many veterans and civilians, and had access to a wealth of written and photographic sources. Subsequently, he interviewed General Marcelle Bigeard, the only senior French officer to survive the great battle at Dien Bien Phu, and General William C. Westmoreland, the American commander in Vietnam from 1964 to 1968. Out of this research comes a balanced, fascinating portrait of one of the greatest military commanders of all time - from his early days as a resistance fighter against the Japanese through the brilliant campaigns against the French and Americans that established his reputation. Giap: The Victor in Vietnam tells the story of the longest - and perhaps strangest - war of the twentieth century, as seen through the eyes of its brilliant, enigmatic, and ultimately triumphant commander.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A retired British brigadier, MacDonald was invited to Hanoi in 1990 by the Vietnamese government to interview Vo Nguyen Giap, the legendary general whose ``primitive'' army defeated two great Western powers. The result is the first major biography of this great military leader, as well as a new look at his army and its methods of waging war. MacDonald traces Giap's 30-year leadership of the Vietminh and People's Army, describing how he learned to exercise his talents as organizer, logistician, strategist and tactician against the French in the 1940s and 1950s and against the Americans in the 1960s and 1970s, employing a unique combination of guerrilla and conventional warfare. An important political and military figure, Giap was involved in decision-making at the highest levels of government. As MacDonald points out, Giap can claim the largest share of credit not only for winning two major wars but also for securing the unification and independence of his nation. There is unfamiliar material here about Giap's brilliant victory over the French at Dien-bienphu and his creation of the Ho Chi Minh Trail and the anti-aircraft defenses of Hanoi. MacDonald confidently nominates him for membership in that exclusive club, the Great Captains. Photos. (Jan.)
Library Journal
Vo Nguyen Giap, the architect of Communist Vietnam's decisive victories over France and the United States, arguably ranks with the greatest names in the history of warfare. Yet he remains an elusive figure in this work by British author-soldier Macdonald, who interviewed the elderly Giap in Hanoi in 1990. If the man himself remains opaque, his military feats do not. Under the guise of biography, Macdonald provides a succinct, vivid, and well-informed military history of modern Vietnam, in particular bringing to life the key battles of Dien Bien Phu in 1954 and Khe Sanh in 1968. His brief chapter on the Ho Chi Minh Trail is fascinating, and his analysis of America's war in Vietnam is illuminating. Unfortunately, Macdonald tells us almost nothing of Giap's political role, and his political analysis is derivative and jejune. For academic and most public library collections. Military Book Club selection.-- Steven I. Levine, Boulder Run Research, Hillsborough, N.C.
John Mort
Macdonald brings a Britisher's objectivity to the elusive subject of General Giap, the military strategist who crafted the French defeat in Indochina and much of the American debacle to follow. Macdonald's interviews with Giap throw little light on the general's inner life, except to suggest that the violent death of his first wife all but devastated him. Giap was not born a great strategist but was baptized under fire with bloody defeats; he learned that the "human-wave" tactic of the Communist Chinese, used to such effect in Korea, did not work well against the massive firepower the U.S. fielded in Vietnam. With the Ho Chi Minh trail, Giap engineered a formidable logistics system, and his deployment of the Vietcong, which pinned down much of the U.S. effort, was brilliant, but ultimately it was on the political front that North Vietnam was victorious. Politically, Giap was not imaginative. Militarily, he was most effective at Dien Bien Phu, and Macdonald's gripping account, drawing both from historical sources and from Giap himself, is perhaps the best to date. In Macdonald's final pages the man behind the general at last shows through with a sad request, through a third party, for some good Western whiskey. Not a definitive account, but solid enough in its way, and lively.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393034011
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/1/1993
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.44 (w) x 9.53 (h) x 1.33 (d)

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