Hell in a Very Small Place

  • by Bernard B. Fall
  • Narrated by Robertson Dean
  • 19 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Like Gettysburg, Stalingrad, Midway, and Tet, the battle at Dien Bien Phu - a strategic attack launched by France against the Vietnamese in 1954 after eight long years of war - marked a historic turning point. By the end of the 56-day siege, a determined Viet Minh guerrilla force had destroyed a large tactical French colonial army in the heart of Southeast Asia. The Vietnamese victory would not only end French occupation of Indochina and offer a sobering premonition of the US' future military defeat in the region but would also provide a new model of modern warfare in which size and sophistication didn't always dictate victory.
Before his death in Vietnam in 1967, Bernard Fall, a critically acclaimed scholar and reporter, drew upon declassified documents from the French Defense Ministry and interviews with thousands of surviving French and Vietnamese soldiers to weave a compelling account of the key battle of Dien Bien Phu. With Fall's thorough and insightful analysis, Hell in a Very Small Place has become one of the benchmarks in war reportage.

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What the Critics Say

"A thorough account of a brave, sanguinary battle that has since turned out to have immense historic importance." (The New Yorker)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Dien Bien Phu

What made the experience of listening to Hell in a Very Small Place the most enjoyable?

The detail. Made you feel you were right there.


What was one of the most memorable moments of Hell in a Very Small Place?

The surrender. Poignant and what a shame so terrible a conflict brought on by imperialism.


Which scene was your favorite?

Sadly, it was the march to confinement and the horrible casualties rendered thereby. Previously, I had not known about this aspect of the battle.


Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Arresting and frustrating. In Viet Nam we made many of the same mistakes. What hubris not to have learned from this war what to do and what not to do.


Any additional comments?

One detail of interest missing: The Viet Ming executed the prostitute-nurses. The nurses were heroes. They should be honored with a memorial.

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- William R. Toddmancillas

Chien Thang Dien Bien Phu!

Had a hard time feeling bad for the French colonial forces. Really picked up towards the end as the fortress fell.
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- Donald

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-06-2016
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio