Cash on Delivery: CIA Special Operations During the Secret War in Laos

Title: Cash on Delivery: CIA Special Operations During the Secret War in Laos
Author: Thomas Leo Briggs
Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir
Reviewer: Bill McDonald

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0984105948

Cash on Delivery: CIA Special Operations During the Secret War in Laos is a detailed accounting of a CIA program directed by a CIA operations officer that sent small teams of irregulars behind enemy lines in Laos to find, fix and destroy North Vietnamese Army units, capture NVA soldiers or encourage them to defect, intercept NVA radio communications, and recruit NVA soldiers to spy and report on their comrades.

It is a unique contribution to the history of the Vietnam War describing valuable experiences using surrogates to conduct intelligence and combat operations that have little or no adverse impact on the United States government's relations with the peoples and governments of other nations. An important lesson in the post 9/11 world of countering terrorism all over the globe where we do not have enough American troops to get the job done without political consequences.

The book also describes the daring and dangerous rescue of Raven 42, a U.S. Air Force forward air controller shot down while supporting Lao irregular surrogate forces fighting NVA main force units in Laos, attempts to infiltrate Cambodia to collect intelligence on the North Vietnamese in early 1970, the effort to uncover information about a missing Air America crewman captured in 1963, the tragic fatal crash of an aircraft carrying four of the author's best Thai operational assistants, and the uncovering of a mole hidden in a Royal Lao government military headquarters.

Here are intimate details that have never before appeared in print, recounting the planning and execution of a variety of special operations, conceived and carried out behind enemy lines by the CIA using only Lao irregular surrogates.

The CIA employed surrogates in southern Laos to force the North Vietnamese Army to keep combat units there to defend their logistical supply line rather than send them to fight U.S. and allied forces in South Vietnam. For the duration of U.S. participation in the Vietnam War the CIA succeeded in that goal.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Briggs, Thomas Leo

Margaret Mahler: A biography of the psychoanalyst

Title: Margaret Mahler: A biography of the psychoanalyst
Author: Alma Bond
Genre: Non-Fiction, Biography
Reviewer: Buddy Cox

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0786433558

Margaret Mahler was from a young age intrigued by the theories of Sigmund Freud and Hungarian psychoanalysts such as Sandor Ferenzci, with whom she became acquainted while a student in Budapest. Forced to flee Europe and rising anti-Semitism, Margaret and her husband, Paul, came to the United States in 1938. It was after this move that Mahler performed her most significant research and developed concepts such as the ground-breaking theory of separation-individuation, an idea which was given credence by Mahler's own relationship with her father.

This volume details the life and work of Margaret Mahler focusing on her life's ambition--her psychoanalytical work. Her experiences with the Philadelphia Institute and her definitive research through the Masters Children's Clinic are also discussed.

USA Book News Best Books Award Finalist and Foreword Magazine Book of the Year Award Finalist

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Bond, Alma

When Whippoorwills Call

Title: When Whippoorwills Call
Author: John Bandy
Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir
Reviewer: Joyce Faulkner

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0595212727

A 16 year old, high school dropout leaves home to avoid incarceration in the juvenile detention center. Using a fraudulent birth certificate, he enlists in the army, where he finds an extremely hostile environment. Seeking refuge in the army he discovers that he cannot run away from himself and the family "curse."

As a member of the United States Constabulary in occupied Germany at the end of WW2 where he faces the greatest challenges of his life amid the war torn ruins of a conquered nation.

The book describes in lurid detail the misadventures of the men in the lower ranks of the military establishment and the effects of their relationships with the German population. As a fraudulent enlistee, he lives in constant fear of being discovered. He is further plagued by premonition of doom by the family "curse," the result of a terrible sin committed by his maternal grandfather.

Born in an impoverished, dysfunctional family in the midst of the Great Depression, he struggles to overcome the indoctrination of inferiority and social ostracism, the result of his mother's alcoholism,

The story traces the family history from his ancestors' 19th century Mississippi plantation to the early 1950's in segregated Birmingham, Alabama.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Bandy, John

Recommended Reading List

MWSA Recommended Reading List

Winter – 2011/2012

As most of you know, the Military Writers Society of America (MWSA) is an organization of over one thousand writers, poets, and artists drawn together by a common bond of military service or admiration for those who've served/are serving.  One purpose of our Society is to review the written works of our members. From our recent book reviews, we’ve selected the following as our 2011/2012 Winter Recommended Reading List:

Sunchon Tunnel Massacre Survivors

Title: Sunchon Tunnel Massacre Survivors
Authors: Pat McGrath Avery and Joyce Faulkner
Genre: Non-Fiction, History
Reviewer: Andy Lubin

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0978515811

In the early days of the Korean War, 450+ American prisoners were marched from Taejon, South Korea, to Seoul, then on to Pyongyang, North Korea. There they boarded a train. On October 19, the train pulled into a tunnel. The North Korean guards unloaded the prisoners, a few at a time, and executed them. Eight of the known survivors tell their story.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
McGrath-Avery, Pat
Faulkner, Joyce