Sunday, March 6, 2011


As a late-bloomer in appreciating the importance of history, I have a strong recommendation to make for VALLEY OF DEATH by Pulitzer Prize winning author Ted Morgan. The sub-title is “The tragedy at Dien Bien Phu that led America into the Vietnam War”. It is unusual to be recommending a book that I have not yet finished reading, but having only read about the first 100 pages, I believe this book is sufficiently important to go out on a limb with my stamp of approval.

Being old enough to remember most of the Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, I am learning substantial amounts of new information from this book as to the importance of his actions and lack of communication during his extensive administration. The book clearly documents the impact of Roosevelt’s decision to keep Vice-President Harry Truman in the dark about his intentions and decisions, which in the long-term hampered Truman’s ability to confront numerous world-wide developments immediately upon assuming office. For instance, as has been documented many times, Truman did not know of the development of the Atomic Bomb until after Roosevelt’s death.

With every page I have turned I have acquired new insight into why the French colonial holdings in Indochina were doomed from the outset after World War II. Most disturbing is the fact that America was drawn into Indochina’s anti-colonial conflict due to our lack of proper planning for the aftermath of the War in the Pacific. Russia should never have been permitted into the Japanese war efforts, but I will leave the details for you to learn from the book. Suffice to say the lack of communication within the American administration was a blunder that cost thousands of American lives and billions of dollars.

This is a page turner that makes history come alive; it’s exciting and enjoyable especially on cold winter evening. Once I finish this 642 page magnificently researched book I will report in further detail, but I could not wait to recommend the book for your reading pleasure.


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