In a gripping memoir that reads like a spy novel, one man recounts his personal experience with Operation Phoenix, the program created to destroy the Vietcong’s shadow government, which thrived in the rural communities of South Vietnam.
Stuart A. Herrington was an American intelligence advisor assigned to root out the enemy in the Hau Nghia province. His two-year mission to capture or kill Communist agents operating there was made all the more difficult by local officials who were reluctant to cooperate, villagers who were too scared to talk, and VC who would not go down without a fight. Herrington developed an unexpected but intense identification with the villagers in his jurisdiction–and learned the hard way that experiencing war was profoundly different from philosophizing about it in a seminar room.
This is the final of three books written by a CIA clandestine operations officer who in my view has created a most extraordinary trilogy that not only should be required reading for every aspiring spy, but is recommended for every citizen as well. This is CIA at its best, with all of its problems revealed alongside its priceless contributions to the USA.
6-Star Deeply Authentic Book About Nuances of Spying
After I read and then reviewed the first book, Red Sparrow, I was so deeply impressed that I immediately ordered the other two, this one and The Kremlin’s Candidate, intending to read them on airplanes. That did not last.
This book went to my night-table, then to reading two hours past my bedtime, to last night when I could not put it down and read it until midnight. That is not normal for me, particularly as a former spy who considers most spy books to be utter crap.
This is not only the most authentic and nuanced book I have read about spying and why human intelligence and particularly offensive counterintelligence and covert action matter, but it is spectacularly well put together. The author is gifted in turns of phrase that make you laugh or cry or both.
This book, by a former SE Division (Soviet Division) Operations Officer also known as a Case Officer (C/O) is SENSATIONAL. I bought it at the airport when my planned reading for the return flight turned out to be junk (Life After Google).
4 Stars A Capstone Work But Only For Prior Readers
This book has been over-promoted. The ga ga reviews from the fake news mainstream media led by the New York Crimes are probably paid for, and do not accurately represent the value of this book. In a nutshell, it is a good read but only for those who have read all of Le Carre’s prior work and particularly the George Smiley series.
Former spies like myself, and incoming trainees, might appreciate the sprinkling of tradecraft throughout the book.