Stalking the Vietcong
Inside Operation Phoenix: A Personal Account
By Stuart A. Herrington
(Presidio Press, Mass Market Paperbound, 9780345472519, 279pp.)
Publication Date: November 23, 2004
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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.