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Nathaniel L. Moir

Feb 8, 2022

Number One Realist

Bernard Fall and Vietnamese Revolutionary Warfare

Oxford University Press 2021

In Number One Realist: Bernard Fall and Vietnamese Revolutionary Warfare (Oxford UP, 2021), Dr. Nathaniel L. Moir studies the thought of this overlooked figure, one of the most important experts on counterinsurgency warfare in Indochina. Dr. Moir’s intellectual history analyses Fall’s formative experiences: his service in the French underground and army during the Second World War; his father’s execution by the Germans and his mother’s murder in Auschwitz; and his work as a research analyst at the Nuremberg Trials. Moir demonstrates how these critical events made Fall “an insightful analyst of war because of the experience and knowledge he brought to his study and his early recognition of the Viet Minh’s approach to warfare, which they used to defeat the French in 1954 during the First Indochina War.”

Dr. Moir investigates how Bernard Fall understood and described Vietnamese revolutionary warfare in Indochina after World War II.The book tells a history indelibly tied to Bernard Fall, but also centers on the unique circumstances through which Fall came to identify, study, and describe revolutionary warfare in Indochina.

In the years before conventional American intervention in 1965, Fall argued that—far more than anything in the United States’ military arsenal—resolving conflict in Vietnam would require political strength, willpower, integrity and skill. Number One Realist illuminates Fall’s study of political reconciliation in Indochina, while showing how his profound, humanitarian critique of war continues to echo in the endless conflicts of the present.

This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose doctoral work focused on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars.

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Miranda Melcher

Miranda Melcher (Ph.D., Defense Studies, Kings College, London) studies post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with deep analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars.

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