Mysterious Mike and the Hmong: Secrets of the Secret War in Laos by M H Burton

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Author's Synopsis

In June of 1960 Mike Bauer is a naïve idealistic 22-year-old Minnesota farm boy with a freshly-minted Agronomy Degree who wants to do good in the world and have some adventures while doing it.  “Those faraway places with the strange sounding names” are calling him.  He signs on for two years at $75 a month as an agricultural advisor with a missionary society supported by his church and hits the jackpot.  Laos is almost exactly half way around the world from New Germania, Minnesota, can’t get farther away than that.  Xiengkhouang and Naxaithong and Lhat Houang sound exotic enough for you?  Those are just some of the places.  How about the people?  Is Prince-General Phongphasansak Inxixiengmai enough of a mouthful?  Mike gets what he signed up for, and a lot more. Finds himself posted to a mission at Lhat Houang which is in middle of a war his superiors hadn’t told him about-possibly because they didn’t know about it themselves. That’s just beginning of the craziness, danger and adventure.  He soon begins to call Laos “Alice in Wonderland”.  Things just keep getting “curiouser and curiouser”…for sixteen years.

But long before those sixteen years are up in 1976 and Mike returns to his native Minnesota he has become “Mysterious Mike”.  A CIA master spy?  An international drug Lord?  The “Lawrence of Laos”?  A bloody-handed war criminal?  An unsung hero?  Or is he just what he says he is, an agricultural advisor to the Hmong mountain people. The brave men and women (and children) who fought so long and hard and skillfully against the Communist takeover of Laos.  They needed much more than advice on how to improve their crops.  They needed help surviving…and in the end they needed help escaping the Communists and finding a new home…in Minnesota.  Mike Bauer did what he could to help them.  With all of that! 

Genre Historical Fiction, Subcategory Vietnam War or Southeast Asia