Book Analysis Essay on Street Without Joy by Bernard Fall

Paper Type:  Book review
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1504 Words
Date:  2023-02-07


The book Street without Joy by Bernard Fall introduces the war in Vietnam. The book was published in the year 1961 when the United States and Chinese intervention internationalized and enlarged the battle. The author Bernard B. Fall was a professor who was on-site as an American war correspondent and a French soldier. Under a teenager, he joined the resistance and fought the Allies to liberate France and drive to Berlin. War came in Indochina during World War 11 when European colonial empires had crumbled in Asia. The author incorporated both primary and secondary sources through the analysis of the Vietnam War. Bernard B. Fall grew up in France during the era of World War 11, where he lost both parents through the conflict. The experience enabled him to get firsthand information about the battle which he expressed through writing "Street without Joy". Besides the acquired ideas of the Indochina conflicts through France Army weekly magazines, soldiers and professional of the war. However, the book does not explain the real causes, and effects of the Vietnam war and factors facilitated the end of the battle. Ultimately, "Street without Joy "remains the splendid account of a struggle of the United States in Vietnam, which led the Vietnamese nationalist in Indochina.

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Book Summary

"Street without Joy" is a book which reviews the First Indochina War in the year 1946-1954. In 1940 during World War 11, the Japanese Army conquered French Indochina after Asian-Pacific conflicts. The coming of Chinese Communist on North Vietnam borders on November 1949, marked the end of the Indochina war and gave the French likelihood of victory. Vietminh battalions acquired field formations, pack howitzers and heavy mortars. On December 17, 1950, De Lattre mobilized the French civilians who lived in Indochina to obtain more guard duties to liberate garrison troops and rescue children and women living in Indochina. On July 20, 1954, the Indochina war ended, where the cease-fire agreement facilitated the exchange of war prisoners. For example, many individuals of VPA (Viet-Nam People's Army) who had been captured through French Union troops were rescued. The failure of Dien Bien Phu enhanced the Conference in Geneva, which comprised of significant powers such as the United States and Communist China, which marked the end of Indochina battle. Dien Bien Phu committed mistakes in various command echelon such as choice of fighting like decisive conflict from main French centres of strength. The capital error is underestimating the capability of enemies and forces positioning within the fortress. 1957, the second Indochina war erupted against administrators and mayors who were the backbone of the government in rural country. Where almost 3000 small officials were killed in Viet Nam around 1960s. The Viet-Minh decided to order the prisoners to establish "Repatriation and peace committee" with the view the board would choose prisoners for repatriation. In 1964, Madagascar recognized a Legion battalion during its defensive agreement with French.

Analysis of the Book

"Street without Joy" gives a comprehensive account of First Indochina conflicts. The book focuses widely on historian period after 1950 when American and Chinese intervention had both internationalized and enlarged the battle. For instance, the United States government could not believe that it could begin the war with Japan nor attack Indochina (Fall, 25). Fall conveys the beautiful ambience of a conflict that was extraordinary like a war without fonts where he reiterates people and terrain triumphed over technology (Fall, 351). He describes individuals and land in phrases and words that may appear in the poems. Fall suggested that only current military strategies combined with local political reforms and economic aid would conquer insurgencies successfully. However, regardless of the war, the Republic of Vietnam formed national programs to ideologically and physically separate people from conflict to win their confidence and support through offering democratic government, security, economic and social development. The program comprised of province rehabilitation, portions of the CIDG programs and hold and transparent operations. However, the book does not provide detailed information on American and other members of Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEOTO) who joined forces with South of Vietnam to contest the communist forces of VC (Viet Cong), and NVA (North Vietnamese Army). Also, the book does not narrate what happened beyond the 1960s because the Vietnam War was the longest in American until 2002-2014 (Afghanistan war)

Discussion of the Author and Reflection of the Book

Bernard B. Fall was a historian professor and war correspondents. He liked to collect information about combat in the ground in the front lines where the conflict was going on, and he had done marvellously in Indochina. He was present when French fought a losing war against Vietnamese insurgent resulting in their defeat at Dien Bien Phu in 1954. In 1956, Bernard B. Fall began to apply his career in foreign affairs mainly on federal projects as he was teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in Washington. As a federal contractor, and research associate, developed contacts at the America foreign assistance agencies where Fall became an official in (ICA) International Cooperation Administration. In 1961, he wrote "Street without Joy" to show how French commanders experienced difficulties in coping with Viet Minh. He believed that the sergeants, Dien Bien Phu had more mobility and firepower than French; thus, the Vietnamese victory must serve as a lesson to the American. Various evidence shows the book "Street without Joy" is of valid or quality, for example, material copyright 1961, 1963 and 1964 by Bernard Fall and renewed in 1989 by Dorothy Fall. "Street without Joy" creates impression regarding Indochina war to today debate over military doctrine and types of conflicts for which American should prepare.

Book Sources

Bernard B. Fall used primary sources in his writing by acquiring firsthand information since he was born during the era of World War 11. He witnessed incidences he revealed through the book. He also incorporated secondary sources. For instance, what he would not see he could acquire from French officials papers such as Ministry of Defense in Paris and weekly magazines published by the French Army in Indochina such as Stars, Yank and stripes. He evaluated what he saw in the French Union Forces based on military experience and knowledge. Fall could also seek more information from military philosophies and individual soldiers who witnessed the war. Besides, Bernard consulted various books written in France on different aspects of the Indochina war. For example, Viet-Nam report presented during the annual conference of the Association of American Army in Washington on October 23, 1963, by Brigadier General Frank A. Osmonski and Congressional Record on November 6, 1963.

Published Reviews of the Book

The book brings two different scenarios, for example, Bernard B. Fall analysis the second Indochina (Vietnam) conflict after the Second World War. Where French assumed it would control colonial holdings mostly in Southeast Asia such as Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. While the battle took place in northern Vietnam before extending to the neighbouring French Indochina. Thus, the book brings conflicts since it lacks clear evidence, the exact location where the battles started.

Book Physical Structure

The book is good for the research since it drives various questions which need thorough analysis. For example, more information is required to understand how Chinese Communist marked the end of the Indochina war. Hence, the research topic may be the impacts of Chinese Communist on North Vietnam borders in November 1949. The book also consists of the chronological of the conflicts ranging from 1946-1954. For instance, in early 1946, the French introduced a military force in Haiphong and negotiation about the future for Vietnam as a nation within the French union took place. 1947, the troops were sent to attack Vietminh. 1948, French begin looking for ways of opposing the VietMinh politically. In 1949, France recognized officially nominal independence. In 1950, Ho's government acquired recognition from the Soviet Union and China and lastly 1954, official propaganda presented the conflict as a crusade against communism. However, the book does not illustrate the causes of the war, whether the battle could be controlled before happening, and factors led to the end of the Vietnam War. For example, Fall did not provide more details on who, or what facilitated Geneva negotiations between Vietminh and France in April 1954 to mark the end of the battle.


"Street without Joy" remains the splendid account of a battle of the United States in Vietnam which led the Vietnamese nationalist in Indochina.French colonial forces involved in various attacks in operating Camargue from July to August 1953. Bernard B. Fall witnessed such incidences after the Second World War and decided to review much through writing. The books incorporate both primary and secondary sources. In firsthand information, the author witnessed the war where he analyzed what he saw in French Union Forces based on military experience and knowledge. The secondary sources include French Arm magazines and Viet-Nam report presented during the annual conference of the Association of American Army and Congressional Record. However, the book does not give precise details on the causes of the Vietnam War, effects and factors facilitated the end of the battle. Hence, various researches are required to exploit more on Indochina conflict.

Work Cited

Fall, Bernard B. Street without Joy: The French Debacle in Indochina. Stackpole Books, 1961.

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