The Anger of the Legions
WSJ ^ | 8 Jul1 2015 | JAMES D. HORNFISCHER
Posted on 7/9/2015, 1:37:02 PM by DUMBGRUNT
A 55-year old novel is a rich evocation of small-unit esprit de corps and the moral crossroads of counterinsurgency warfare.
“The Centurions” opens with a French battalion in captivity, taken by the Viet Minh at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, which spelled the end of French power in Indochina in 1954. Capt. Jacques Glatigny, the hidebound commander of an overrun stronghold, is bewildered that his Viet Minh counterpart seems little more than a peasant. Soon he and his men are facing re-education by a propagandist known as the Voice, whose saccharine locutions press home the usual communist complaints about capitalism and its robber barons.
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