Book

Translated, full version of book on VN spy released

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The Vietnamese version of the revised book titled “Perfect spy X6 – the incredible double life of Pham Xuan An, Reuters, Time, New York Herald Tribune reporter & Vietnamese strategic intelligence general” by American historian Larry Berman, is set to be released on September 4 to mark An’s 86th birthday.

The Vietnamese version, translated by Do Hung and released by First News Co., is being published even before the revised English one is released in the US and several European countries.

An himself recounted his eventful, thrilling spy life to Prof. Berman, who recorded it and first wrote and published the book in 2007.

Six years later, Berman made several significant additions to his publication, including several astoundingly intriguing facts and details on An’s life, which he recorded but didn’t include in his first edition.

The revised book also features several prized documentary photos, interviews by fellow journalists with An, and what his contemporary intelligence agents think about him.

The book also reveals a letter written by Thu Nhan, Major-general An’s widow, to Berman.

“Due to my poor eyesight, I had to read your book three times in three days, during which I was overwhelmed with love, mourning and admiration for my deceased husband,” Nhan wrote in the letter.

According to Nguyen Van Phuoc, director of First News Co., when asked why he devoted another six years to revising his book, Berman revealed that he owed a promise to An’s spirit. He had promised An that he would make known everything An had confided in him at different periods following his death, not all at once.

Berman shared that he also hopes his publication will spiritually benefit Vietnam and tighten diplomatic ties between Vietnam and the US.

The launch of the new translated version is set for in Ho Chi Minh City on Sept 4. Dr. Berman is also expected to be present at the launch, where he will hand over the book’s copyright to First News. He also set to make a television series and a 120-minute movie titled “Diep vien hoan hao X6” (The perfect spy X6).

Dr. Berman, who is the founding dean of the Georgia State Honors College and has received the Bernath Lecture Prize, has written several books on the Vietnam War including “Planning a Tragedy: The Americanization of the War in Vietnam” (1982); “Lyndon Johnson’s War: The Road To Stalemate in Vietnam” and “No Peace, No Honor: Nixon, Kissinger and Betrayal in Vietnam”.

Pham Xuan An (1927 – 2006) was a Vietnamese general with several nicknames: ‘X6’, ‘Hai Trung’ or ‘Tran Van Trung’. He worked in South Vietnam as a reporter for Reuters, TIME magazine and the New York Herald Tribune during the Vietnam War, while at the same time spying for North Vietnam. An earned a North Vietnamese war medal after the Ap Bac battle, and he contributed considerably to the ultimate defeat of the US and Saigon.

During the Vietnam War, An befriended many personalities in Saigon, including American journalists such as David Halberstam, the CIA’s William Colby, and the legendary Colonel Edward Lansdale. None of them was aware that An was also providing strategic intelligence to Hanoi with pin-point accuracy. An lived this dangerous double life for more than twenty years. After the war, he was conferred with the title ‘Hero of the People’s Army’ and promoted to general – one of the country’s only two intelligence officers to achieve that rank.

His eventful spy life has inspired several locally and foreign produced books and documentaries including Jean-Claude Pomonti’s “Un Vietnamien bien tranquille” (A tranquil Vietnamese) and Thomas A. Bass’s “Pham Xuan An’s Dangerous Game”.

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