By Thomas A. Bass
Pham Xuan An was once a super journalist and an excellent greater undercover agent. a pal to all of the mythical journalists who lined the Vietnam warfare, he used to be a useful resource of reports and a font of knowledge on all issues Vietnamese. even as, he used to be a masterful double agent. An encouraged shape-shifter who saved his disguise in position till the day he died, Pham Xuan An ranks as one of many preeminent spies of the 20 th century.When Thomas A. Bass got down to write the tale of An’s striking occupation for the hot Yorker, clean revelations arrived day-by-day in the course of their freewheeling conversations, which all started in 1992. yet a great secret agent is often at paintings, and it used to be no longer until eventually An’s demise in 2006 that Bass was once capable of raise the veil from his conscientiously guarded tale to provide up this attention-grabbing portrait of a hidden life.A masterful historical past that reads like a John le Carr? mystery, The secret agent Who enjoyed Us deals a vibrant portrait of newshounds and spies at battle.
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Extra info for The Spy Who Loved Us: The Vietnam War and Pham Xuan An's Dangerous Game
An looks like one of the nice, clean-cut young men who joined fraternities and mastered social drinking. He was taller than the average Vietnamese, a scrappy boxer and swimmer who once thought, after failing his school exams for the second year in a row, that he might become a Vietnamese gangster. “I don’t want to talk about myself,” An says frequently. ” Then without skipping a beat he begins recalling in minute detail scenes from fifty years ago. He leans forward in his chair. He gesticulates with his fingers, which are long-boned and nearly translucent with age.
They’re dirty. They’re inhuman. The Americans are very clean people. They have beautiful Yorkshire pigs, Berkshire pigs, which are much bigger than Vietnamese pigs. ” Telling me this story, An begins to grunt like a Yorkshire pig on its way to slaughter. He is a brilliant mimic. I am hearing a perfect Yorkshire grunt here in Saigon. “At the stockyards, where the pigs are killed, an American wearing fine shoes and a necktie opens a gate leading to a big metal machine. He pushes a button. The pig falls down.
One of his most important jobs at Time was to submit weekly coordinates for all the troop emplacements and battles in the ongoing war. In spite of their privileged position as civil servants, An’s family members were not oblivious to the suffering around them. Forced labor and an immiserated peasantry formed the base of the colony’s economy. Ngo Vinh Long, in his book Before the Revolution: The Vietnamese Peasants Under the French, describes how Vietnam’s rubber plantations functioned as slave labor camps, with annual death rates higher than twenty percent.