Perfect Spy: The Double Life of Pham Xuan An, TIME Magazine Reporter and Vietnamese Communist Agent

Perfect Spy - Book Cover

The Double Life of Pham Xuan An,
TIME Magazine Reporter and
Vietnamese Communist Agent

Prof. Larry Berman
University of California Davis

Wednesday, November 4, 2009
12 Noon-1:00 PM Brown-bag
John Burns Room 3012

Hosted by
East West Center Seminars

During the Vietnam War, distinguished Time reporter Pham Xuan An befriended everyone who was anyone in Saigon. Leading American journalists such as David Halberstam and Neil Sheehan regarded him as a trusted source and friend. But none of An’s friends knew that he was a spy providing strategic intelligence to North Vietnam, smuggling invisible ink messages out to the jungle in egg rolls and living a dangerous double life. After the war, An, now a general in the Vietnamese army, was named a “Hero of the People’s Army” but his close friendships with Americans made him suspect in the eyes of Vietnam’s Communist leaders, and he was never allowed to return to the United States. In Perfect Spy, Larry Berman, who made more than a dozen trips to Vietnam to interview An, and whom An considered his American biographer chronicles the extraordinary life of one of the most fascinating spies of the twentieth century.

Berman is a Professor of Political Science at the University of California Davis and Director of the UC Davis Washington Program. The author of numerous books on the Vietnam War, two of which have been translated in to Vietnamese, Professor Berman also actively participated in advancing US-Vietnam relations.

Berman has been featured on C-Span’s Book TV, the History Channel’s Secrets of War, Bill Moyers The Public Mind; David McCullough’s American Experience, and Vietnam: A Television History. He received the Bernath Lecture Prize, given annually by the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations to a scholar whose work has most contributed to our understanding of foreign relations.