Books

A Great Place to Have a War: America in Laos and the Birth of a Military CIA

A Great Place to Have a War America in Laos and the Birth of a Military CIA The untold story of how America s secret war in Laos in the s transformed the CIA from a loose collection of spies into a military operation and a key player in American foreign policy In Pr

  • Title: A Great Place to Have a War: America in Laos and the Birth of a Military CIA
  • Author: Joshua Kurlantzick
  • ISBN: 9781451667868
  • Page: 464
  • Format: Hardcover
  • The untold story of how America s secret war in Laos in the 1960s transformed the CIA from a loose collection of spies into a military operation and a key player in American foreign policy.In 1960, President Eisenhower was focused on Laos, a tiny Southeast Asian nation few Americans had ever heard of Washington feared the country would fall to communism, triggering a domiThe untold story of how America s secret war in Laos in the 1960s transformed the CIA from a loose collection of spies into a military operation and a key player in American foreign policy.In 1960, President Eisenhower was focused on Laos, a tiny Southeast Asian nation few Americans had ever heard of Washington feared the country would fall to communism, triggering a domino effect in the rest of Southeast Asia So in January 1961, Eisenhower approved the CIA s Operation Momentum, a plan to create a proxy army of ethnic Hmong to fight communist forces in Laos While remaining largely hidden from the American public and most of Congress, Momentum became the largest CIA paramilitary operation in the history of the United States The brutal war, which continued under Presidents Kennedy and Nixon, lasted nearly two decades, killed one tenth of Laos s total population, left thousands of unexploded bombs in the ground, and changed the nature of the CIA forever.Joshua Kurlantzick gives us the definitive account of the Laos war and its central characters, including the four key people who led the operation the CIA operative who came up with the idea, the Hmong general who led the proxy army in the field, the paramilitary specialist who trained the Hmong, and the State Department careerist who took control over the war as it grew.The Laos war created a CIA that fights with real soldiers and weapons as much as it gathers secrets Laos became a template for CIA proxy wars all over the world, from Central America in the 1980s to today s war on terrorism, where the CIA has taken control with little oversight Based on extensive interviews and CIA records only recently declassified, A Great Place to Have a War is a riveting, thought provoking look at how Operation Momentum changed American foreign policy forever.

    • Unlimited [Crime Book] ✓ A Great Place to Have a War: America in Laos and the Birth of a Military CIA - by Joshua Kurlantzick Å
      464 Joshua Kurlantzick
    • thumbnail Title: Unlimited [Crime Book] ✓ A Great Place to Have a War: America in Laos and the Birth of a Military CIA - by Joshua Kurlantzick Å
      Posted by:Joshua Kurlantzick
      Published :2019-08-26T23:38:24+00:00

    About "Joshua Kurlantzick"

    1. Joshua Kurlantzick

      Joshua Kurlantzick Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the A Great Place to Have a War: America in Laos and the Birth of a Military CIA book, this is one of the most wanted Joshua Kurlantzick author readers around the world.

    871 Comments

    1. The majority of Americans of my generation are aware of the Vietnam War that resulted in the death of 58,315 soldiers and a 153,303 wounded, with the loss of between 1.1 to 3.2 million Vietnamese. Further, they are aware of American bombing of Cambodia and various military incursions that helped bring about Pol Pot and the “Killing Fields,” that resulted in the genocide of over 3 million Cambodians. However, that same generation was probably not aware of the civil war that raged in Laos and [...]


    2. Way back when—in the early 1980s I think—I recall an influx of Hmong refugees arriving in Appleton, Wisconsin. They were extremely poor, mostly illiterate and confused by American culture. I understood at the time that they had fought on behalf of Americans; and we owed them refuge now that the Communists had taken over their country. Little did I know how great a price the Hmong paid on our behalf during the Vietnam War.Laos is slightly smaller than Michigan. Between 1963 and 1974, the Unit [...]


    3. Loved it! This is a fascinating look at the shadow war in Laos, staged by the CIA, during the Vietnam War. It's an extremely interesting history of the how that war came to be, some of the main people involved in that war, and the rise of the CIA as an organization conducting paramilitary operations, not just spy missions. It also relates the political intrigues of the time, and the fate of Hmong who fought for Laos, and with and for America. Many thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for [...]


    4. Who would have imagined that the country that the United States bombed most in the 20th century was Laos? Not Vietnam, Cambodia, Germany or Japan, neither Afghanistan nor Iraq, but Laos? Detailed study of the covert operations undertaken by the CIA from 1961 to 1975 against the Pathet Lao and North Vietnamese. While comparatively few Americans were 'on the ground' in this period, military intelligence organized air strikes and collaborated with local militias - the Hmong, led by Vang Pao, chief [...]


    5. Very impressive book, though very depressing. Details the rise of the CIA as a war machine during the Vietnam War, which was actually fought to a great extent in Laos. It looks at some of people involved in building the war to epic proportions, and then withdrawing, leaving the country to collapse into yet more suffering.


    6. An interesting read detailing a chapter of the US's involvment in SE Asia that I was not all that familiar withe CIA's secret war in Laos to threaten the North Vietnamese supply lines and thwart their attempts to overthrow the Laotian govt. Kurlantzick documents how it was the CIA's effort in Laos that transformed the CIA from a mostly analytical/intel gathering agency in the mid 1950s to a paramilitary organization by 1970. Working very closely with Hmong people and their militarty leader Vang [...]


    7. Well worth the read to broaden knowledge on U.S. activity in Indo-China. Laos rarely got extensive coverage because of the media concentration on Vietnam but it was a testing ground for CIA paramilitary operations that would wane and surface in the ensuing decades. While Cambodia and Vietnam grabbed the headlines, Laos was pulverized by relentless bombing missions that exceeded the American sorties in Japan in WW II. Beginning under Eisenhower and continuing through Nixon, Laos was considered on [...]


    8. Fascinating and well told history of US involvement in Laos. It focuses on the lives of a small group of men who had enormous impact on the country and US policy there. The whole thing started small, but led to the largest bombing campaign since WW2 (we dropped more bombs on Laos than we did on Vietnam and managed to kill 10% of the population.) The Hmong people sided with the US and lost pretty much everything when it was all over. The US turned their backs on them once their usefulness was at [...]


    9. True to form, Joshua Kurlantzick has once again expertly assembled cutting-edge research on Southeast Asian affairs. Known for his trenchant and perspicacious observation of contemporary Southeast Asia, this time he has plunged into historical archives and recently de-classified documents to surgically dissect the not-so-good, bad, and very ugly circumstances of American -- specifically CIA -- intervention in Indo-China, particularly in Laos. A Great Place to Have a War is undoubtedly a must-rea [...]


    10. Thanks to Simon & Schuster and Netgalley for an uncorrected electronic advance review copy, which contains a misrepresentation of fact, described below.The following quotation about Ambassador William Sullivan, who plays an important role in the narrative, occurs at Kindle location 706: Before coming to Laos[,] Sullivan had also briefly been put in charge of the American mission in Saigon. “He was the kind of person who seemed like he came carved in stone,” said an aide [footnote 55]. [...]


    11. Joshua Kurlantzick’s A Great Place to Have a War: America in Laos and the Birth of a Military CIA provides a history of the United States’ secret war in Laos. The war had its roots with President Dwight Eisenhower, who believed that Laos, a sparsely populated country, on the periphery of Vietnam was under threat and could precipitate the spread of communism throughout Southeast Asia if it fell. The United States involvement increased after President Kennedy took office. The CIA had been arou [...]


    12. A Great Place to Have a War by Joshua Kurlantzick is a book about the history of Laos. The synopsis caught by eye since I lived and worked in Laos for a year as an English teacher. The book is about the conflict which occurred in Laos roughly during the same period of the Vietnam War. This is an interesting and impressive book, yet depressing. Details the rise of the CIA as a war machine during the Vietnam War, which was fought to a great extent in Laos. It looks at some of people involved in bu [...]


    13. We all know of the cataclysmic and consequential war in Vietnam, but how many people are really aware of the other Southeast Asian war that America fought at the same time in Laos? This book not only describes the major events and players in a struggle that involved at least four different American administrations, but also connects the tactics America used to the way that America fights the War on Terror today.


    14. Review originally posted at Book of Bogan.Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.A Great Place to Have a War is a history of the lesser-known south-east Asian conflict which took place in Laos, during roughly the same period that the Vietnam War was going on (give or take). While post-world war 2 history really isn’t my greatest area of knowledge, I was actually quite surprised at how little I really knew about this war which went on in the backg [...]


    15. Kurlantzick's fresh overview of the Laos War is in many ways completely unprecedented. It was a fascinating historical analysis with a narrative non-fiction voice that gripped the reader from start to finish. Told through the story of four individuals, this is a skillful and novel approach to a complicated chapter of U.S. and Southeast Asian history.


    16. I found this book extremely enlightening. I guess the secret war in Laos was still pretty much a secret to me until I read the book. And, as Mr. Kurlandzick points out, the CIA continues paramilitary operations in multiple locations essentially without oversight.


    17. I often find nonfiction books dry and textbooky but this read like a narrative, an extremely sad narrative. It felt well researched and was incredibly informative.


    18. This is an important work. Read in concert with works on the Vietnam War, we get a sense of the lack of transparency and outright dishonesty by the Executive branch of the US government in both cases. This should come as no surprise. Many years ago (when I was a lot younger), we had access to "The Pentagon Papers," books such as "The Best and the Brightest," and so on. The US, in my mind, disgraced itself by withholding the American role in such venues.This book explores the American--especially [...]


    19. A sobering account of America’s engagement in Laos and Southeast Asia from the end of World War II forward. Our CIA secret wars started in Laos, and they continue today with the agency’s drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen. It’s a well researched and thorough account. Starting with Eisenhower, the author does a good job explaining the political decisions that were made to try and stop the advancement of communism in Southeast Asia. For military history buffs, a good read.


    20. This review, and others, can be found at BW Book Reviews.This isn't a book I typically would read or listen to, to be honest. Yes, I love history, but not American. It's just not my thing. I've never enjoyed American history unless it's told from an outside perspective.But, this? I listened it because I work with people from Laos. That was my main motivator. I know that they came from there and they did because they were fleeing, otherwise they wouldn't have left. A few of my coworkers swam acro [...]


    21. A dense and well-written if breezy history of the CIA’s war in Laos, with a focus on its support of the Hmong in the north.Kurlantzick’s narrative is focused on Lair, Sullivan, Vang Pao, and Poshepny,and he does a great job weaving their experiences into a cohesive story. He describes the impact of the war on Laos, and how eventually the US decided to commit huge numbers of air strikes to the war there, in part due to Vang Pao’s constant demands. The author’s coverage of the battles, suc [...]


    22. Think about this: a bomb was dropped every 8 seconds for more than 10 years in Laos. The majority of people nowadays do not even know Laos is a country. However, it was atop of Eisenhower's political move in the 60's. Having visited Laos and seeing the cruel results from a decade of bombings, this book came alive by the tales of humble people living in huts who were hurt by the "Domino Theory". The majority, if not all, had no idea about politics, even less knowing the differences between commun [...]


    23. I was very excited when I seen the reviews for this book. I have always been interested in the MACV-SOG guys operating in Laos, Cambodia, North Vietnam and have read several books about the subject. I have read several books on JSOC or CIA programs and I have started recognizing a trend. When the author is a journalist, sometimes the neutrality is lacking and the author's views bleed over into the work. This book was no exception. The author is certainly anti CIA. I felt the book was unorganized [...]


    24. 3.5 Stars!“The United States would unleash a bombing campaign on Laos unlike any other in modern history, bigger even than the bombings of Japan and Germany in the Second World War. This campaign would become central to the Laos operation, thought the American bombing sorties, supposedly designed to weaken the North Vietnamese and cut their supply lines through Laos and into South Vietnam, would kill more Laotians than anyone else. Over the course of the war, US bombing of Laos would become so [...]


    25. I am grateful that I received A Great Place to Have a War as a giveaway. I don’t know if I would have ever read it on my own, but the subject matter is too important to be ignored. This was a difficult book for me to finish. Like your parents forcing you to eat your vegetables when you were a kid, it was unpleasant but ultimately good for you. Reading about the death and destruction in Laos, caused by my own government was disappointing, saddening, and frustrating. The CIA is a bureaucracy, a [...]


    26. I was an active participant in the Vietnam war and I've maintained an interest in Vietnam for decades, three times teaching political science/ history courses about America's involvement in Vietnam. But I've neverought much about the war in Laos, despite the long common border Laos shares with Vietnam and despite my having flown a number of missions over the Ho Chi Minh trail in northeastern Laos. For me, as for most Americans, Laos was an afterthought. The real story was in Vietnam.This book br [...]


    27. Great book. From it I learned:The CIA fought their own war in Laos and decided they won. Almost 10% of the Laotians died.They abandoned their proxy fighters, the Hmong, at the end of theic war.Thanks to 10 years of secret bombing, Laos is still dangerous to walk in and American bombs still kill Laotians today.The same geniuses that fought the secret war in Laos went on to screw up Iran (Ambassador Bill Sullivan), and Iran and Nicaragua (Richard Secord).As a practice, both the CIA and a string of [...]


    28. A fascinating interesting book about really a country no one cared about or made the news as much as some of the others in the same vicinity but had far deeper and potentially world-changing implications for the futureThe story of the struggle and American presence in Laos is a tale of political convenience, God complex followed up with the inevitable backtracking, betrayal and political coverup. Its really a tale of how the battle is never between good vs evil but more between bad vs bad and to [...]


    29. Based on newly declassified American records, records from the Thai military and oral histories now available from Hmong survivors in the United States, this is an introduction to the war in Laos. Rather than a full history, Kurlantzick structures his story around the evolution of the CIA from intelligence service to full, clandestine war runners, and Laos as the blueprint from interventions in the 1970s and 80s, down to the abandonment of the local people who bore the brunt of the fighting. The [...]


    30. Its amazing how such a large war, with at one point daily bombing runs for over a year, could be kept quiet from the American media, but that was the situation in Laos, where the US embassy was operating a war and the media was clueless (willfully or not) to the extent of it. It's an interesting, often overlooked part of the history of the Vietnam War and the author does a great job telling that story here.


    Leave a Comment