Victory at Any Cost: The Genius of Viet Nam's Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap

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Potomac Books, 2005 - Biography & Autobiography - 401 pages
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Tells the full story of the man who fought three of the world’s great powers--and won. Cecil B. Currey makes clear one primary reason why America lost the Vietnam War: Vo Nguyen Giap. He has written the definitive biography of one of history’s greatest generals.

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Currey does not include all-side facts in the book. The author only tells one-side accounts given by general Vo. I can't agree with Currey's view that Vo is one of the best generals.
I think
Napoleon is a perfect fit for this decoration. The French emperor won most of his battles when his army was 2 - 3 times smaller than the forces of his opponents. Being able to defeat a bigger army is a true characteristic of that talented commander Napoleon has.
On the other hand, I would not say Giap is a military genius. During his military career, he always relied on overwhelming forces for his battles. He even relied on Chinese's PLA forces & commanders to fight his battles, but claimed that he did on his own. He usually suffered more casualty than his enemy would. I wondered if it was his lack of military training, or absence of commanding talent to be blamed for the high number of casualties. He even relied on Chinese PLA troops to fight his battles.
I want to point out a few important factors that Currey has overlooked:
- Giap received massive supplies of arments from China. He had Chinese advisors who decided the battle planning and tactics. He got Chinese soldiers to help hauling and possitioning the artilery. Not yet to mention the enormous supports from the USSR. No one could ever defeat a superpower without the other superpower as its ally.
- The U.S refused to intervene as promise. France became weak after the WW II. The USSR and China were eager to assert their influence. They came to challenge other superpowers at any cost for their political gains.
- After the French defeat, Giap and the communist leader (Ho Chi Minh) agreed to the U.N resolution that divided Vietnam into 2 nations. This result was not to preserve the integrity of Vietnam - indepedent from the French while free of communism. It was unfortunate because Vietnam did not gain a TRUE independence. Instead, half the country beccame dependent on the Communist-bloc. North Vietnam fell to the bloc after the battle of Dien-Bien-Phu. Vietnamese people never wanted to give up a square inch of their motherland to Communism.
There were many ways to achieve independence. Peaceful struggling measure that Saint Gandi took was for the best interests of India. Gandi did not need a ruthless general (like Giap), but still won independence in 1947. Giap chose violent approach - only to victimize Vietnam with bloodshed for 20 more years. The legacy of Giap: Vietnam was divided, suffered much of bloodshed in the two wars, and millions of people died uneccesarily for the communist expansion.
Currey has much work to do in order to prove his claim in this book. It is not convincing to me and reasonable readers who know TRUE history. I believe anyone with averaged militay knowledge woul be able to take Dien-Bien-Phu..

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User Review  - downhomealabama -

Good information with interesting view from the other side . Read full review

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About the author (2005)

Cecil B. Currey is a professor of military history at the University of South Florida.

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