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  • Street Without Joy

  • The French Debacle in Indochina
  • Written by: Bernard B. Fall
  • Narrated by: Derek Perkins
  • Length: 13 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Military
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (6 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In this classic account of the French war in Indochina, Bernard B. Fall vividly captures the sights, sounds, and smells of the savage eight-year conflict in the jungles and mountains of Southeast Asia from 1946 to 1954. The French fought well to the last, but even with the lethal advantages of airpower, they could not stave off the Communist-led Vietnamese nationalists, who countered with a hit-and-run campaign of ambushes, booby traps, and nighttime raids. Defeat came at Dien Bien Phu, in 1954, setting the stage for American involvement and opening another tragic chapter in Vietnam's history.

©1964 Bernard B. Fall (P)2013 Tantor

What listeners say about Street Without Joy

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  • Mike
  • 2013-05-31

In 1964 this was our Vietnam textbook

September 1964 I graduated from Infantry OCS at Fort Benning Georgia. The US involvement in Vietnam consisted of Special Forces advisors, but we were fairly certain that we would end up in Vietnam. We knew very little of how the Viet Cong or the North Vietnamese regulars operated, and this was our textbook, but I failed to pay attention. I was ready to go to war. November 1965 I was a platoon leader in the First Infantry Division, the first part of our buildup in Vietnam. Two months later I was at Walter Reed Army Hospital after encountering an anti-personnel device. Three months after that my replacement was killed in an ambush. Indeed our involvement in Vietnam was a Street Without Joy. An excellent book, and a very professional narration by Derek Perkins. Just learn from it.

24 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
  • TCope
  • 2017-04-03

Great Background to Subsequent Books

If you're interested in one of the later books on Vietnam such as Sheehan's or Karnow's, this is an excellent background on the French experience with colonial Vietnam before, during, and after WWII, and how it led to the transition to American involvement.The book is a little technical, and may seem obscure, but I would recommend powering through it before one of the later books on the U.S. in Vietnam, as it will lend excellent context.

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  • PLM
  • 2015-04-17

will we never learn?

We are, sadly, repeating the mistakes of the Vietnam war in the Middle East - i.e. seeking a military solution to a political dilemma. Our officers in Iraq should have been reading STREET WITHOUT JOY instead of SEVEN PILLARS OF WISDOM!


3 people found this helpful

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  • Arius
  • 2014-12-03

The Neverending Debacle

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

It was, but I think I'll have to spend more time listening to it again, as I frequently do with histories. It's hard to keep things straight, partially because it's hard to keep a timeline in one's head as the events go from disaster to disaster. What's a flash-back? What's in order? I'm not sure.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

A better flow time-wise would be better. It's hard to keep all the place names straight and move from one event to another, unsure if they're directly connected, how they relate to each other... sometimes it's clear. Other times, not so much.

Which character – as performed by Derek Perkins – was your favorite?

His French accent is great so any time there's an actual conversation, he adds flavor to it quite well.

Did Street Without Joy inspire you to do anything?

It inspired me to read more about the French war in Vietnam.

Any additional comments?

Generally, this is an interesting subject and really shows how skilled, operationally, Giap was. He made mistakes, but the strategic plan was spot-on.

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  • Tom Cooper
  • 2016-05-12

Still great after all these years.

What did you love best about Street Without Joy?

It showed how a great military force that adapted to the terrain still got beaten. The French forces were made up of so many brilliant soldiers and they were creative in dealing with their enemies, but were undone by political factors that they did face, but not as well as their enemies.

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  • Robert G Palmer
  • 2015-04-16

Excellent

an exceptional and almost wholly unbiased analysis of the French war in Vietnam from 1946 to 1954, with its major focus on the French operations from 51 to 54. the book is written as a manual for politicians and soldiers fighting a revolutionary war. one if the best I've ever read.

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  • peter brumlik
  • 2022-02-13

A truly prophetic book

Bernard Fall becomes a prophet regarding the wars in Vietnam. Unfortunately, he died during the American Vietnam War, but he has left a legacy of prophecy regarding western involvement in Southeast Asia; specifically Vietnam. Exquisitely documented, Fall describes the military and political failures of the French in trying to hold on to their Indochina Colony. Most American military officers have read this book, unfortunately after the war had ended; they, along with their enlisted counterparts, they clearly agree that the French disasters described in the book, re-awakened during the American attempt to westernize Vietnam. "Street Without Joy" is a testament, although barely heeded, to politicians who want to convert the world to their ideals and systems of government.

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  • Richard D Powell
  • 2020-09-24

Great firsthand insight to first indochina war

Bernard Fall gives a great firsthand perspective of the French conflict in Indochina. He also provides a brief glimpse into how America was slowly pulled into the conflict.

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  • Louis Russell Simonet
  • 2021-08-22

Goodstory but not si good narration

Story drags on at some points but is definitely worthwhile. Narrator's fake French accent is ridiculous and unnecessary.

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  • Levi Cardoza
  • 2020-03-05

A Must Read

This man knew more in early 1960's on the geopolitical landscape of Southeast Asia than most experts today. Fascinatining, insightful, brilliant.