This book is the most detailed analysis yet published of Dien Bien Phu. The authors' research in recently available Vietnamese sources raises our understanding of this world-changing battle to a new level. It is underpinned by maps, orders-of-battle and statistical material which are of unprecedented completeness for a Western publication. Every chapter has surprises to offer which either change our perceptions, deepen our understanding, or both.
Martin Windrow, Author of 'The Last Valley'
Boylan's and Olivier's new work on the siege of Dien Bien Phu is a major contribution to scholarship which in some respects surpasses and supersedes all previous works on this epic story of the post-Second World War epoch. No-one interested in the First Indochina War (1946-1954) can afford to ignore it and it should also be read by all interested in the Second Indochina War (1959-1975). Boylan (by courtesy of Merle Pribbenow's translations) has made fuller use than any previous historian of Vietnamese Communist literature on this campaign, while Olivier has dived deep into French archival sources and interviewed an impressive array of veterans. The result is a work which busts myths and corrects oft-repeated errors. […] For decades Bernard Fall has been venerated as an authority on the First Indochina War, his "Hell in a Very Small Place" long regarded as the classic account of the campaign. Boylan and Olivier are not intimidated by Fall's venerable status. Fall did not have access to some of the sources that Boylan and Olivier have used and they convincingly demonstrate that he got some things wrong. It is to be hoped that Fall's great work will continue to be read, but on the military events of the campaign Boylan's and Olivier's book now sets the standard.
Dr J. P. Harris, Senior Lecturer in the Department of War Studies at RMA Sandhurst
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