The Ideal Man: The Tragedy of Jim Thompson and the American Way of War [NOOK Book]

Overview

In the 1950s, U.S. foreign policy makers and intelligence agencies faced a momentous choice: Should America, as former OSS officer Jim Thompson believed, fight the Cold War by helping other nations build democratic, capitalistic futures while preserving and strengthening their traditional cultures? Or would it be more practical, as Thompson's old OSS buddy Bill Bird argued, to help local strongmen seize power and prop them up with financial and military aid in return for their staunch anticommunism and the ...
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The Ideal Man: The Tragedy of Jim Thompson and the American Way of War

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Overview

In the 1950s, U.S. foreign policy makers and intelligence agencies faced a momentous choice: Should America, as former OSS officer Jim Thompson believed, fight the Cold War by helping other nations build democratic, capitalistic futures while preserving and strengthening their traditional cultures? Or would it be more practical, as Thompson's old OSS buddy Bill Bird argued, to help local strongmen seize power and prop them up with financial and military aid in return for their staunch anticommunism and the establishment of American military bases on their soil? History makes two things perfectly clear—America chose the latter course, and anyone who disagreed with that choice, including Jim Thompson, was in serious danger.

In The Ideal Man, journalist and Southeast Asia expert Joshua Kurlantzick tells the compelling and tragic story of an OSS officer posted to Thailand in 1945 who fell in love with that then-remote nation and made it his home. Through this powerful lens, Kurlantzick offers insight into a pivotal moment in Cold War history that set a course for American foreign policy that is still being followed today.

Kurlantzick reveals that, as a civilian, Thompson epitomized all that was best about postwar America. This former society dilettante quickly discovered the disappearing Thai cottage industry of silk farming and weaving and rebuilt it into a vast new source of wealth for the nation and thousands of its workers. But Jim Thompson was leading a double life.

Thanks to his growing business, his passion for his new home, and his innate curiosity, Thompson had access to people and places that no other American could equal. He quickly became the go-to man for agents of the newly formed CIA. But he made no secret of his support for nationalist fighters in Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam, or his opposition to America's increasing military presence and support of Thai generals. Soon, he and Bill Bird found themselves on opposite sides in coups, congressional investigations, and what was, at the time, America's largest-ever covert operation.

Thompson's very public opposition to what had become established American policy earned him plenty of enemies, especially among Thai generals. His disappearance in 1967 became an international mystery that has fostered decades of speculation.

Bristling with thorny insider tales of OSS and CIA exploits, political gamesmanship, and international intrigue, The Ideal Man is ideal reading for anyone who loves history, spy stories, and behind-the-scenes accounts of how diplomatic policy decisions are made—for better or worse.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781118098110
  • Publisher: Turner Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 10/13/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 907,760
  • File size: 363 KB

Meet the Author

JOSHUA KURLANTZICK writes regularly about Asia for Newsweek and the New Republic. He also contributes to Mother Jones, the London Review of Books, the New York Times, Foreign Policy, the Atlantic, and Time. In 2007, Yale University Press published his book on China's soft power, Charm Offensive.
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Table of Contents

Preface v

Chapter 1 1

Chapter 2 11

Chapter 3 21

Chapter 4 29

Chapter 5 43

Chapter 6 55

Chapter 7 67

Chapter 8 83

Chapter 9 99

Chapter 10 117

Chapter 11 131

Chapter 12 149

Chapter 13 161

Chapter 14 171

Chapter 15 181

Chapter 16 195

Epilogue 209

Acknowledgments 221

Notes 225

Index 255

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2012

    Psy is a scam

    I read a review of this book. Very interesting if true

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