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The Spy Who Loved Us: The Vietnam War and Pham Xuan An's Dangerous Games

Public Affairs, $26.50
by Thomas Bass

Pham Xuan An was a brilliant journalist and an even better spy. A long-time correspondent for Time and friend to many American reporters covering Vietnam, he was an invaluable source of news and font of wisdom on all things Vietnamese. At the same time, he was a masterful double agent, a North Vietnamese operative whose secret reports were so admired by Ho Chi Minh that he clapped his hands with glee on receiving them and exclaimed, “We are now in the United States’ war room!” An inspired shape-shifter who kept his cover in place until the day he died, Pham Xuan An ranks as one of the preeminent spies of the twentieth century. Thomas Bass began his conversations with An in 1992. And when he set out to write the story of An’s remarkable career for The New Yorker, he uncovered fresh revelations almost daily during their freewheeling conversations. But a good spy is always at work, and it was not until An’s death in 2006 that Bass was able to lift the veil from his carefully guarded story and provide this fascinating portrait of a hidden life.  A masterful biography, The Spy Who Loved Us reveals the true motivations of a man who, caught between dueling loyalties in a time of war, “lived a lie and always told the truth.”

"I enjoyed this book enormously and learned a lot. The Spy Who Loved Us is a fine read and a gripping story; but, most of all, it is an object lesson in why human intelligence and a great spy will always trump the most sophisticated espionage and surveillance technology. It's not the simple accumulation of information that counts. It's the recognition of what's important and then knowing what to do with it." 
- Ted Koppel

“This is a chilling account of betrayal of an American army—and an American press corps—involved in a guerrilla war in a society about which little was known or understood.   The spy here was in South Vietnam, and his ultimate motives, as Thomas Bass makes clear, were far more complex than those of traditional espionage.  This book, coming now, has another message, too, for me—have we put ourselves in the same position, once again, in Iraq?”
- Seymour Hersh, author of Chain of Command: The Road from 9/11 to Abu Ghraib

“Thomas Bass has rendered a sensitive, revealing portrait of the strangely ambivalent personality I knew during the Vietnam War.  In doing so he provided us with unique insights into the nature,  conflicting sentiments and heartbreak of many Vietnamese who worked with Americans, made friends with them, but in the end  loved their land more and sought , as their ancestors had a for a thousand years, to free it from all trespassers.”
- Seymour Topping, former Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Managing Editor of The New York Times

“The story of Pham Xuan An is the revelation of a remarkable life and a remarkable man. Fictional accounts of practitioners of the Great Game—the craft of spying—come nowhere near the real thing that was practiced by An. In The Spy Who Loved Us, An is revealed as a man of split loyalties, who managed to maintain his humanity. Cast prejudices aside and you will discover a true hero, scholar, patriot, humanist and masterful spy.”
- Morley Safer, Correspondent, CBS 60 Minutes and author of Flashbacks: On Returning to Vietnam