Quite a lot of recent Asian history and ideological complex is brought effectively to light in the story of Duc a Vietnam boy, and the course of events that brought him to the siege of Dienbienphu. It is a long story with an interesting chain of episodes, the main links of which start with a raid on Duc's village 100 miles from Hanoi. Taken captive by the Vietmish, Duc and a friend Phan, are led north to a Communist center where they are given a brain washing and made soldiers in the Red Army. While Phan falls for the Communist line, Duc remains loyal but manages to cover his feelings and play out his chances for escape during a raid to the south. There is a crisis when Phan is wounded and Duc must save him. The return home is slow and painful and in an ironic turn of fate, Duc must convince the French authorities that he is not a Communist- in order to be allowed to join the Vietnam army. When he does he is eventually made an officer to fight with De Castries at the siege and gain the few ounces of individual strength that must enable him and others of his kind to go on towards a still uncertain future. Yet despite these stirring events and a healthy native idealism, Duc's story seems contrived falls short of the impact it could have achieved under more realistic circumstances.