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Perfect Spy: The Incredible Double Life of Pham Xuan An, Time Magazine Reporter and Vietnamese Communist Agent

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  204 ratings  ·  33 reviews
During the Vietnam War, Time reporter Pham Xuan An befriended everyone who was anyone in Saigon, including American journalists such as David Halberstam and Neil Sheehan, the CIA's William Colby, and the legendary Colonel Edward Lansdale--not to mention the most influential members of the South Vietnamese government and army. None of them ever guessed that he was also prov ...more
Hardcover, 328 pages
Published April 24th 2007 by Collins Publishers
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Michael Connolly
When Vichy France surrendered to the Nazis during World War II, this had implications for French colonies. Japan took over Vietnam from the French. After America defeated Japan in 1945, Japan lost Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh moved into Hanoi. There followed several years of the Communist Viet Minh and the French fighting for control of Vietnam, culminating in partition in 1956. The Viet Minh presented themselves as nationalists, not as Communists, in 1954 when they were fighting the French. Forces in t ...more
A compelling biography and an excellent introduction to the diverse issues and questions presented by War in Vietnam and its aftermath. The author succesfully offers a sense of personal experience and broader context from a Vietnamese perspective.
Lucas Nguyen
Tôi mua cuốn sách này để tặng cho ba tôi ngay vừa dịp sách tái bản lại với thông tin đầy đủ hơn (theo lời tác giả). Tôi không định đọc những sách thuộc thể loại chiến tranh nhưng khi đọc xong cuốn này, tôi biết suy nghĩ trước đó của mình là sai lầm. Một người Việt Nam, đặc biệt là thế hệ sinh ra trong hòa bình, cần phải tìm hiểu về lịch sử của dân tộc, đặc biệt là về cuộc chiến tranh gần nhất mà thế hệ trước đã trải qua.

Cuốn sách thực sự đã giúp tôi hiểu rõ hơn về công việc của một điệp viên và
Christopher Rex
This book was a great find. Though, once again, I imagine it falls in the "not for everyone" category. I knew nothing about Pham Xuan An at all and came across this book in Ho Chi Minh City. Somebody once said "sometimes the books find you." That certainly turned out to be true in this case. What an interesting character and an amazing "little told" story of the Vietnam War.

Pham worked for "Time" magazine (after attending school in the US) during the Vietnam War and all-the-while he was an under
I was happy to get to read this book because it was for research for a chapter about famous spies I got to ghostwrite for a book my uncle is working on. I would never have read it otherwise and, due to my general ignorance about history in general, probably would have died never having even known who Pham Xuan An was.

I don't think An is really all that "famous" in actuality, but this is only because, as far as spies go, he was pretty discreet. He was spying for the communists/North Vietnam durin
Pham Xuan An was a Communist spy during the Vietnam war, going undetected and undiscovered until after the Americans had pulled out, and he was awarded several medals for deeds. The events, and Pham himself, were fascinating - examining how a man became a U.S. news reporter with access to secret documents whose information he filtered directly to Hanoi. He was close friends with many American reporters, and astonishingly remained closed friends with them after his status as a spy was revealed.

Larry Mccartney
Do you want to know why the United States lost Viet Nam—the country, not the war? Then read Perfect Spy: The Incredible Double Life of Pham Xuan An, Time Magazine Reporter and Vietnamese Communist Agent by Larry S. Berman, Ph.D. That the ill-conceived, poorly executed U. S. foreign policy in Viet Nam has long been a highly controversial subject, particularly for those Americans who bore the brunt of enforcing it, is a given. Now thanks to Dr. Berman the truth is finally documented and the blame ...more
Aug 01, 2007 Tory rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Lara and Danny
Amazing book. This guy was a spy for North Vietnam during the war and was a writer for the NY Times. None of the other journalists or his friends had ANY idea, yet most of them understood his motivations and forgave him. It's an amazing story and you learn a lot about the Vietnam war in the process of reading it. (We went to a booksigning and met the author).
I know very little about the Vietnam War so at times this book was a little confusing with the names and battles. Nonetheless, it was a really interesting story of a Time reporter who turned out to be a spy for the North Vietnamese. What he did, how he did it, and the fact that he is still very respected are amazing.
Viet Hung Nguyen
Apr 22, 2012 Viet Hung Nguyen rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Vietnamese
This is a great story about General Pham who is a great soldier. Above all, he is a human-being. Being stuck in the war, brutal, he was still able to live up to the core of humanity. I'm proud of him for that. At the end, while there were winners in the war, there were many lives lost on both sides.
Brian Sway
This is a fabulous real life tale that is unimaginable. Larry Berman turns a complex tale into a fascinating page turner.
I learned that not everything we were told (or believed) about the war was true. Interesting story.
This was so interesting! Learned so much! I especially loved reading it while in Vietnam.
Kim Fay
The story of Pham Xuan An, a Time magazine reporter living in Saigon (South Vietnam) who served as a spy for North Vietnam throughout the Vietnam War, this amazing book shows the human side of the country's nationalist movement. People like An were not blindly following ideology. They loved their country and did not believe the Americans wanted what was best for the Vietnamese people. There are lots of interesting spy facts, like the way An uses rice and water to create a disappearing ink, but t ...more
This book is well worth reading, though apparently Berman's treatment is not as exciting as 'The Spy who loved me' - book on same subject. Berman's academic background perhaps explains a more sober approach. The book provides sufficient historic background for those readers who didn't grow up during the Vietnamese war or who for whatever reason are unfamiliar with the conflict.
This book,above all else, shows An to be first and foremost a Vietnamese nationalist. Like so many others,he believed th
Tuan Nguyen
I read the electronic book not less than 3 times before so definitely, so accidently and so luckily figured out a hard-copy one in hard cover while there were many times not noticing about it. Perhaps people often would like to forget their dark past, they never have right to forget the history.
Quân Khuê
Điệp viên hoàn hảo của Larry Berman viết về cuộc đời của nhà tình báo chiến lược Phạm Xuân Ẩn, bản dịch tiếng Việt của Nguyễn Đại Phượng. Ấn tượng của tôi về ông Ẩn, theo những gì đã đọc ở đây, là một người hết lòng vì bạn bè. Như cách ông tìm cách cứu một người ạn phóng viên Mỹ rơi vào tay Việt Cộng, mặc dù điều đó có thể gây ảnh hưởng đến vỏ bọc của ông. Hay như cách ông lo cho Trần Kim Tuyến lên trực thăng di tản. Có lẽ do hết lòng với bạn bè, mà hầu hết nhửng người bạn Mỹ và bạn Việt phía bê ...more
Loc Huynh duy
I had reread this biography of Pham Xuan An many times to have a summary view of the history of Vietnam from French colonialism to the period we usually called "the Vietnam War". Pham Xuan An had disclosed many details of his spy work to his biographer, but his life still had mysteries and when the time has come to declassify documents, we will know his true identity: Was he a North Vietnamese spy and an American spy at the same time? When a Vietnamese colonel saw him surrounded by many high-ran ...more
Pham Xuan An's double-life as foreign correspondent and North Vietnamese spy is certainly a worthy topic for a book. The research and presentation of the material here, however, come off like more of a fanboy's paean--perhaps an apologia?--than actual scholarly work. A severely disappointing treatment of a fascinating character.
Phùng Dũng
Greatest book I have ever read in my life
A quick read that helps to emphasize and clarify the contradictions and incredible arrogance and ignorance that personified the Vietnam war seen through the life of one man / a spy, Vietnamese patriot and American admirer.
Phuc Pham
I love An for all of thoughts about friends, love, work he did. I know him very late, even after his death. I never see him in real life but this interesting book is about the man and his times. He was the best Vietnamese in many ways.
I also admire his wishes about building Vietnam - America mutual relationship after the war's end which is happening, luckily, several years before his death.
A good account and explanation of An's life, which is a perfect balance between multiple obligations in times of turmoil. Yet, it would be much better if Larry Berman was able to explore more on the the moral dilemma that An faced in specific moments during the war. It seems that the master journalist-spy chose to ans was able to keep best scoops for himself.
fascinating story of a man groomed to be a spy for the Communist during the Vietnam crisis, by educating him in America and immersing him into journalism for Time magazine.
it's about someone I have been told about, someone I feel close to. reading the book open a lot of doors to me, into the darkness of the unknown history of Vietnam
history refreshed from both sides of a American-loving patriot of a unified Vietnam; written admiringly with straight-forward, clear style.
pretty dry, but interesting to start reading about Pham Xuan An. Read "The Spy Who Loves Us" to have a more complete account
A great story about a great Vietnamese patriot. Look at the Vietnam war from a very different point of view.
Quang Khuê
May mà ông tác giả không đặt một cái tiêu đề dựt gân hơn nữa.
The book tells the story life about a spy in Vietnam (my country).
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