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.