'Hell in a Very Small Place':
Talk about a depressing book. Recently completed Martin Windrow's 'The Last Valley,'
his highly detailed and acclaimed account of the French-Viet Minh battle of Dien Bien Phu. I liked the book a lot. But can't really recommend it enthusiastically. 'The Last Valley' is just too detailed, so much so that the author a few times literally catches himself and admits he might have given too many details. But it was worth wading through to the very sad and depressing end. ... Say what you will about the French, they fought fiercely (as did the Viet Minh) at Dien Bien Phu. I was left wondering, 'How in God's name did America allow itself to get dragged into the Vietnam War knowing what the French had just gone through?' That's part of the sad and depressing part of 'The Last Valley.' ... I'm told that Bernard Fall's 'Hell in a Very Small Place'
is a much better account of Dien Bien Phu, though perhaps dated in some facts and conclusions. ... To get the ponderous 'Last Valley' out of my system, I'm now reading 'Raising Atlantis,'
the eBook sensation on Amazon. It's going fast and well.Thinking of rethinking my rethinking:
Hub Blog concedes this: I'm no longer convinced President Bush may have made a shrewd political move
by nominating Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. I clearly underestimated the reaction of conservatives, who don't want to risk appointing someone who might turn out to be another David Souter. But reading this account
of Miers (via AS
) reinforces my suspicion that she'd be more conservative than Sandra Day O'Connor and that conservatives will be more pleased than not if she wins nomination. But who knows? ... FYI: I still thinks she's a case-study crony, something that's getting lost in the angry ideological posturing and blatherings.