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

by Mark Moyar

Book cover for Phoenix and the Birds of Prey: Counterinsurgency and Counterterrorism in Vietnam

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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