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Back Fire: The CIA's Secret War in Laos and Its Link to the War in Vietnam.

Vietnam War Literature] Warner, Roger.

77 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0684802929 / ISBN 13: 9780684802923
Published by Simon & Schuster, New York, 1995
From Gregor Rare Books (Langley, WA, U.S.A.)

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A Fine tight copy in a Fine unclipped dust jacket. For a couple of years in the early 1960s, the CIA ran a perfect war in Laos--low-key, inexpensive, employing indiginous tribesmen. Then the big war next door in Vietnam began and policy was now dictated by Washington, D.C. and the was in Laos turned disastrous. Roger Warner tells the story of secrecy, an over confident war policy, the hard-fighting warriors and the cruel sacrifice of Lao tribesmen who had previously foiled communist incursion. Bookseller Inventory # 23371

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Back Fire: The CIA's Secret War in Laos and ...

Publisher: Simon & Schuster, New York

Publication Date: 1995

Edition: First Printing of the First Edition

About this title


This is the story of a hidden war between the US and the communist powers in the neutral country of Laos, which led to the Vietnamese War. This book offers a full account of this conflict, based on access to previously closed files and interviews with intelligence players, military officers and government officials. The narrative describes the key Americans who trained the Laotians peasants and tribal people and led them into battle. Hill tribesmen were taught how to fly planes and guerilla raids were planned by CIA officers from thatched huts in a war overseen by the US ambassador. The book also tells of the warring Laotian princes, the general who may have dabbled in the opium trade, and the CIA operative who raised an army of 30,000 hill tribesmen and beat back the communists until the US government bureaucracy took control of his war and tore the kingdom apart. This book aims to make the puzzle of the US war in Vietnam whole and reveals how an obscure people was set on the path of achieving national identity, only to be abandoned in the wake of America's escalating conflict in Vietnam.

From Library Journal:

Warner, coauthor with Haing Ngor of Haing Ngor: A Cambodian Odyssey (LJ 2/1/88) and a writer for Life, Smithsonian, and other magazines, has written an extraordinary account of the war in Laos from 1960 to 1973. He introduces a colorful cast of characters, including the CIA operative from Texas who married a Thai and became an officer in the Thai police and the Hmong officer who led his people in a long and costly struggle against the Communists only to find himself resettled in Montana after the war. Warner writes of a nation that became a pawn of the great powers, a piece that could be sacrificed to draw Communist pressure off South Vietnam and act as a shield for Thailand. Early American involvement in Laos, directed toward nation-building and military advice, was replaced by an effort to Americanize the war in a way unsuited to the circumstances and doomed to failure. Given that literature on Laos is so scant, and with Warner's excellent perspective, this work is highly recommended for academic and public libraries.
Robert Andrews, Duluth P.L., Minn.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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