Phoenix and the Birds of Prey: Counterinsurgency and Counterterrorism in Vietnam

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Overview


This study explodes prevailing myths about the Phoenix Program, the CIA's top-secret effort to destroy the Viet Cong by neutralizing its “civilian” leaders. Drawing on recently declassified documents and interviews with American, South Vietnamese, and North Vietnamese sources, Mark Moyar examines the attempts to eradicate the Viet Cong infrastructure and analyzes their effectiveness. He addresses misconceptions about these efforts and provides an accurate, complete picture of the allies’ decapitation of the Viet Cong shadow government.
 
Combining social and political history with a study of military operations, Moyar offers a fresh interpretation of the crucial role the shadow government played in the Viet Cong's ascent. Detailed accounts of intelligence operations provide an insider’s view of their development and reveal what really happened in the safe havens of the Viet Cong. Filled with new information, Moyar’s study sets the record straight about one of the last secrets of the Vietnam War and offers poignant lessons for dealing with future Third World insurgencies. This Bison Books edition includes a new preface and chapter by the author.
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Editorial Reviews

Wall Street Journal

“A groundbreaking piece of revisionist history on the war.”

—Senator James Webb, Wall Street Journal

Periscope

Phoenix and the Birds of Prey is the definitive work on the Phoenix program to date, and will remain so for a long time.”—Periscope
Asian Thought and Society

“[Moyar] succeeds admirably. His work could be a textbook for the do's and don'ts of counterinsurgency warfare.”

— William Nester—William Nester, Asian Thought and Society

Journal of Political and Military Sociology

“There are as yet only a few nonfiction works dealing with the Vietnam War that are worth the reader’s time. . . . We can happily add Mark Moyar''s Phoenix and the Birds of Prey to this short list of ‘required reading.’”

— John D. Waghelstein, Journal of Political and Military Sociology

John M. Del Vecchio

"At last! An intellectually and academically honest overview of the Phoenix Program. Moyar has balanced both the military and social historical perspectives and dealt fairly with all factions—American and Vietnamese, non-Communist and Communist, northern and southern—to give the reader the first full and sensible accounting of the Phoenix."

—John M. Del Vecchio, author of The 13th Valley

Lt. Gen. Harold G. Moore

"A fascinating, readable, long overdue exposition of the war in the shadows behind the big unit war in Vietnam."

—Lt. Gen. Harold G. Moore, author of We Were Soldiers Once..and Young

Lt. Gen. James Terry Scott

"Mark Moyar's well-researched book will likely become a frequently cited reference. He addresses one of the least understood and least documented aspects of the Vietnam conflict with clarity and objectivity. Unlike the plethora of ''I was there'' narratives and the histories that end with Tet of 1968, Moyar's book follows the conflict from beginning to end pointing out how changes in strategy, operations, and tactics impacted upon the campaign against the Viet Cong infrastructure."

—Lt. Gen. James Terry Scott, Director, National Security Program

Lt. Col. Michael Lee Lanning

"Phoenix and the Birds of Prey elevates Mark Moyar to the ranks of the rare scholars who truly understand the Vietnam War and its warriors."

—Lt. Col. Michael Lee Lanning, author of Inside the LRRPs

Prof. James R. Reckner

"Moyar''s examination and assessments of the struggle against the Communist shadow government in South Vietnam are fresh and, in my view, right on the mark. His book warrants serious consideration by all scholars of the Vietnam War, as well as those who would apply the ''lessons'' of that war to future American involvements."

—Prof. James R. Reckner, Director Study of Vietnam Conference, Texas Tech University

Wall Street Journal - James Webb

“A groundbreaking piece of revisionist history on the war.”—Senator James Webb, Wall Street Journal
Asian Thought and Society - William Nester

“[Moyar] succeeds admirably. His work could be a textbook for the do's and don'ts of counterinsurgency warfare.”—William Nester, Asian Thought and Society
Journal of Political and Military Sociology - John D. Waghelstein

“There are as yet only a few nonfiction works dealing with the Vietnam War that are worth the reader’s time. . . . We can happily add Mark Moyar's Phoenix and the Birds of Prey to this short list of ‘required reading.’”— John D. Waghelstein, Journal of Political and Military Sociology
John M. Del Vecchio

"At last! An intellectually and academically honest overview of the Phoenix Program. Moyar has balanced both the military and social historical perspectives and dealt fairly with all factions—American and Vietnamese, non-Communist and Communist, northern and southern—to give the reader the first full and sensible accounting of the Phoenix."—John M. Del Vecchio, author of The 13th Valley
Lt. Gen. Harold G. Moore

"A fascinating, readable, long overdue exposition of the war in the shadows behind the big unit war in Vietnam."—Lt. Gen. Harold G. Moore, author of We Were Soldiers Once..and Young
Lt. Gen. James Terry Scott

"Mark Moyar's well-researched book will likely become a frequently cited reference. He addresses one of the least understood and least documented aspects of the Vietnam conflict with clarity and objectivity. Unlike the plethora of 'I was there' narratives and the histories that end with Tet of 1968, Moyar's book follows the conflict from beginning to end pointing out how changes in strategy, operations, and tactics impacted upon the campaign against the Viet Cong infrastructure."—Lt. Gen. James Terry Scott, Director, National Security Program
Lt. Col. Michael Lee Lanning

"Phoenix and the Birds of Prey elevates Mark Moyar to the ranks of the rare scholars who truly understand the Vietnam War and its warriors."—Lt. Col. Michael Lee Lanning, author of Inside the LRRPs
Prof. James R. Reckner

"Moyar's examination and assessments of the struggle against the Communist shadow government in South Vietnam are fresh and, in my view, right on the mark. His book warrants serious consideration by all scholars of the Vietnam War, as well as those who would apply the 'lessons' of that war to future American involvements."—Prof. James R. Reckner, Director Study of Vietnam Conference, Texas Tech University
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803216020
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
  • Publication date: 12/10/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 496
  • Sales rank: 782,436
  • Product dimensions: 6.08 (w) x 9.04 (h) x 1.04 (d)

Meet the Author


Mark Moyar is an associate professor at the U.S. Marine Corps University in Quantico, Virginia, and the author of Triumph Forsaken: The Vietnam War, 1954–1965. Harry G. Summers Jr. (1932–99) served in both the Korean War and the Vietnam War and was an instructor and distinguished fellow at the Strategic Studies Institute at the U.S. Army War College.
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