Andrade, Dale. Ashes to Ashes: The Phoenix Program and the Vietnam War. Lexington, MA: Lexington Books, 1990.
According to Surveillant 1.1, Andrade covers both "good and bad aspects of this controversial program." McGehee, alt.politics.org.cia, says that, "better than any other source," this book traces "the mechanisms of this assassination program and describes specific operations.... The author is a military historian specializing on the Vietnam War and generally views the program as an effective counterinsurgency tool."
Blaufarb, Douglas S. The Counterinsurgency Era: U.S. Doctrine and Performance, 1950 to the Present. New York: Free Press, 1977.
"The crime of Phoenix was not the use of harsh methods to apprehend or destroy the enemies of the GVN. Its crime was ineffectiveness, indiscriminateness, and, in some areas at least, the violation of the local norms to the extent that it appeared to the villagers to be a threat to them in the peaceful performance of their daily business. The Americans involved erred in not appreciating the extent to which the pathology of Vietnamese society would distort an apparently sound concept. The GVN was guilty of both misfeasance and malfeasance in executing the program." (p. 276)
Ahern, Rural Pacification, p. 421, says this "is an excellent analysis of US reaction to the post-World War II phenomenon of Communist-led revolution in the agrarian former colonies of Western powers."
Brown, F.C. "The Phoenix Program." Military Journal 2 (Spring 1979): 19-21, 49. [Petersen]
Cable, Larry E. Conflict of Myths: The Development of American Counterinsurgency Doctrine and the Vietnam War. New York: New York University Press, 1986.
Gibson, Library Journal (1986) (via Amazon.com), believes that the author "succeeds in showing that America's failure in Vietnam was the result of faulty military doctrine, not a loss of will." lesson from the past were too often "invalid, leading to an almost total misunderstanding of the struggle in Vietnam." This work is "well researched and well written," and it "strongly challenges the idea that the United States could have won in Vietnam."
Colby, William E., with Peter Forbath. Honorable Men: My Life in the CIA. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1978.
Clark comment: This autobiography covers Colby's career from OSS to DCI. Bill Colby remains controversial both inside and outside the Agency.
Constantinides finds Colby's explanation of his "philosophy about operations and the role of an intelligence service in a democratic society ... the book's most significant features.... CIA veterans agree on the following: the book faithfully reflected Colby's preference and understanding of action operations, which mirrored the man's strong missionary and reformist strain, and the author was candid about his understanding of counterintelligence."
For Powers, NYTBR (21 May 1978) and Intelligence Wars (2004), 275-282, "Colby's book is important, a serious treatment of a serious subject, but at the same time it is flavorless.... More damaging to the book, however, is the impassive, almost muffled quality to Colby's voice -- the fact that he approaches his main points in a guarded manner -- as well as a certain confusion of purpose. His memoirs are addressed to the public, but they are aimed at his one-time friends and colleagues, in particular Richard Helms."
Colby, William E., with James McCarger. Lost Victory: A Firsthand Account of America's Sixteen-Year Involvement in Vietnam. Chicago: Contemporary Books, 1989. 1990. [pb].
Clark comment: The title sends a clear message of Colby's theme. The former DCI was convinced that mistakes, both of omission and of commission, made in the White House and by the military cost the United States a victory in Vietnam.
For Valcourt, IJI&C 3.4, Colby's book "should have been the definitive insider's guide to the intelligence side of the Vietnam conflict. Perhaps not so surprisingly he has fallen short." Colby's explanation of how he developed the Phoenix Program "is inadequate because he fails to delve deeply enough into his own frame of mind.... Despite its shortcomings,... [this is] an informative book, giving numerous personal insights of a sad and controversial period in American history."
Wirtz, I&NS 5.3, comments that readers "interested in the conduct of CIA operations ... will be disappointed by the book, which largely provides Colby's interpretations of major developments during the Vietnam war." The author "fails to address adequately the reasons why Americans so badly miscalculated the gravity of the task they faced in Vietnam.... Colby's work does offer important insights into past and present American efforts at counter-insurgency."
Other reviews include: Robert Manning, "We Could Have Won Vietnam," New York Times Book Review, 12 Nov. 1989, 18-19; and Angelo Codevilla, "The Bureaucrat & the War," Commentary 89, no. 1 (Jan. 1990), 60-62.
Finlayson, Andrew R. [COL/USMC (Ret.)]
1. Marine Advisors with the Vietnamese Provincial Reconnaissance Units, 19661970. Quantico, VA: USMC History Division, 2009.
From publisher: "This narrative is a combination of experience, research, and reflection. While other journalistic or academic accounts have been published, this is a narrative of participants." The PRUs "used a small cadre of Marines providing leadership, training, and combat support for large numbers of indigenous troops, and in so doing, capitalized on the inherent strengths of each."
2. "A Retrospective on Counterinsurgency Operations: The Tay Ninh Provincial Reconnaissance Unit and Its Role in the Phoenix Program, 1969-70." Studies in Intelligence 51, no. 2 (2007): 59-69. [https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/csi-studies/studies/vol51no2/a-retrospective-on-counterinsurgency-operations.html]
The author offers "a snapshot in time and place," which "represents a picture of the way one important and highly effective aspect of Phoenix worked in the years immediately after the 1968 Tet offensive. It is the story of a single operational unit that was part of the larger, country-wide action element of the Phoenix program -- the Provincial Reconnaissance Units (PRUs)."
3. Rice Paddy Recon: A Marine Officer's Second Tour in Vietnam, 1968-1970. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2014.
Camp, Proceedings 141.6 (Jun. 2015), notes that the author's assignments included with the CIA as a PRU advisor in Tay Ninh Province. As an operations officer, "he was responsible for the employment of small teams into the enemy's backyard to collect tactical intelligence.... [H]e tears apart the myth that the [Phoenix] program was nothing more than an assassination effort."
For Charles D., Studies 59.2 (Jun. 2015), "Rice Paddy Recon should appeal to those interested in Vietnam and Marine Corps history. The book has unique value as a history of a CIA paramilitary operation in Vietnam, and it deserves a place on the bookshelves of today's CIA paramilitary officers."
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