The Incredible Double Life of Pham Xuan An Time Magazine Reporter and Vietnamese Communist Agent
By Larry Berman
(Smithsonian, Hardcover, 9780060888381, 336pp.)
Publication Date: May 1, 2007
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During the Vietnam War, Time reporter Pham Xuan An befriended everyone who was anyone in Saigon, including American journalists such as David Halberstam and Neil Sheehan, the CIA's William Colby, and the legendary Colonel Edward Lansdale--not to mention the most influential members of the South Vietnamese government and army. None of them ever guessed that he was also providing strategic intelligence to Hanoi, smuggling invisible ink messages into the jungle inside egg rolls. His early reports were so accurate that General Giap joked, "We are now in the U.S. war room." For more than twenty years, An lived a dangerous lie--and no one knew it because he was a master of both his jobs.
After the war, An was named a Hero of the People's Army and was promoted to general--one of only two intelligence officers to ever achieve that rank.
In Perfect Spy, Larry Berman, who An considered his official American biographer, chronicles the extraordinary life of one of the twentieth century's most fascinating spies. In doing so, he offers a new perspective on a war that continues to haunt us.
Larry Berman has written four previous books on the war in Vietnam: Planning a Tragedy: The Americanization of the War in Vietnam; Lyndon Johnson's War: The Road To Stalemate in Vietnam; No Peace, No Honor: Nixon, Kissinger and Betrayal in Vietnam and Perfect Spy: The Incredible Double Life of Pham Xuan An, Time Magazine Reporter and Vietnamese Communist Agent. He has been featured on C-SPAN Book TV, Bill Moyers' The Public Mind and David McCullough's American Experience. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow and a Fellow in residence at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. He received the Bernath Lecture Prize for contributions to our understanding of foreign relations and the Department of the Navy Vice Admiral Edwin B. Hooper Research Grant. Berman is Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Davis and Founding Dean of the Honors College at Georgia State University. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia.