Meyer, John Stryker. Across the Fence: The Secret War in Vietnam. Expanded ed. Oceanside, CA: SOG Chronicles Publishing, 2011.
Moyar, Mark. "Hanoi's Strategic Surprise." Intelligence and National Security 18, no. 1 (Spring 2003): 155-170.
In 1964-1965, the North Vietnamese changed from a strategy based on "protracted guerrilla warfare aimed at weakening the enemy" to one of "conventional warfare aimed at destroying the enemy rapidly." The U.S. intelligence failure to detect that shift in strategy "exerted extraordinary influence on both American and North Vietnamese policy."
Nagl, John A. [LTCOL/USA]
1. Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam: Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2002. Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005. [pb]
An advertisement for the 2005 paperback edition of this work notes that it includes "a new preface reflecting on the author's combat experience in Iraq."
According to Millen, Parameters 34.3, "this book compares ... the British approach to counterinsurgency in Malaya with the American approach in Vietnam.... Despite minor flaws, John Nagl's book is a valuable asset for identifying key aspects of a successful counterinsurgency strategy." Freedman, FA 83.6 (Nov.-Dec. 2004), says that "the point of Nagl's book is that the British managed to learn from early mistakes and adapt to the situation."
For Hoffman, Proceedings 132.3 (Mar. 2006), this work is "an extremely relevant text. Those interested in understanding the difficulties faced by Coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, or who want to grasp the intricacies of the most likely form of conflict for the near future, will gain applicable lessons."
2. "Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: British and American Army Counterinsurgency Learning during the Malayan Emergency and the Vietnam War." World Affairs 161 (Spring 1999): 193-199.
Nashel, Jonathan. Edward Lansdale's Cold War. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 2005.
Pellegrin, H-War, H-Net Reviews, Dec. 2006 [http://www.h-net.org], calls this work "a compelling analysis of the life, adventures, and legend" of Edward Lansdale. This "is not a biography in the traditional sense.... Rather, the author uses Lansdale's career to explain American activities during the Cold War and emphasizes those events where Lansdale had a significant effect on such activities." See also, Lansdale, In the Midst of Wars (1972); and Currey, Edward Lansdale (1988).
Nicholson, Thom [COL/USA (Ret.)]. 15 Months in SOG: A Warrior's Tour. New York: Presidio, 1999. [pb]
From Inside Flap: As commander of Company B, Command and Control North's Raider Company (Da Nang), the author "commanded four platoons,... in some of the war's most deadly missions, including ready-reaction missions for patrols in contact with the enemy, patrol extractions under fire, and top-secret expeditions 'over the fence' into Laos, Cambodia, and North Vietnam." Nicholson "provides a rare glimpse into the workings of one of the military's most carefully concealed reconnaissance campaigns."
Patti, Archimedes L. A. Why Viet Nam? Prelude to America's Albatross. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980. 1981. [pb]
Pforzheimer: Patti was briefly OSS chief of station in Hanoi in 1945 after a stint running OSS Indochina operations from Kunming. He "had access to the OSS files in writing this heavily footnoted book...." He carries the story of U.S. involvement in that area until the mid-1950s. "Patti's friendship with, and admiration for, Ho Chi Minh" made the book controversial.
Phillips, Rufus. Why Vietnam Matters: An Eyewitness Account of Lessons Not Learned. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2009.
Goulden, Intelligencer 17.1 (Winter-Spring 2009), notes that the author was "a ground-level CIA officer in South Vietnam in the early 1950s." This book is a "sobering read from a man who knows what he is talking about." For Wiest, Proceedings 135.10 (Oct. 2009), this is "a riveting memoir that focuses on the tumultuous formative years of the short life of South Vietnam." It is "a critical primary source to the field of Vietnam War studies.... Why Vietnam Matters is both an enjoyable read and important history." Laurie, Studies 55.2 (Jun. 2011), suggests that "all intelligence officers should read and consider" this "very readable account."
Plaster, John L.
1. SOG: The Secret Wars of America's Commandos in Vietnam. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1997. New York: Onyx, 1998. [pb]
Bernstein, NYT, 21 Jan. 1997, calls this book by a three-tour veteran of the Studies and Observations Group (SOG) "comprehensive, informative and often exciting." Although the reviewer would like to have seen "some meditation on the worth of the overall program," he accepts that Plaster's "seems to be a reliable account of an important part" of the overall war in Vietnam.
To Crerar, AIJ 17.1/2, Plaster's account of Special Forces reconnaissance teams is a "[h]ighly readable anecdotal history." Krott, at http://www.thehistorynet.com/reviews, is highly laudatory of SOG, terming it a "true insider's account" that reveals "much about this top-secret commando unit and its covert missions in North Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia." For Green, Booklist, 1 & 15 Jan. 1997, Plaster's work is "[a]n indispensable addition for Vietnam and special-warfare collections."
2. Secret Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines with the Elite Warriors of SOG. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004.
Seamon, Proceedings 130.7 (Jul. 2004), briefly notes that the author "describes his experiences with this special operations force from 1969 to 1971."
Pocock, Chris, with Clarence Fu. The Black Bats: CIA Spy Flights over China from Taiwan, 1951-1969. London: Schiffer, 2010.
According to Peake, Studies 54.4 (Dec. 2010), and Intelligencer 18.2 (Winter-Spring 2011), when the CIA ended its "its flights penetrating PRC airspace ... the missions continued with planes piloted by a US-trained unit of Chinese flyers on Taiwan named the Black Bats." The unit "flew photoreconnaissance and SIGINT missions" for another 20 years. "During the Vietnam War, the Bats flew missions over North Vietnam. That program ended in 1973 with the conclusion of the Vietnamese peace talks."
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