PUNJI TRAP: The Spy Who Didn’t Love Us

Pham Xuan An was a Communist agent whose espionage adventures – under the cover story of a celebrated war correspondent in the Western media — were as brilliant for Hanoi as they were shattering for Washington during the tumultuous days of the Vietnam War. He has been dubbed “the perfect spy” and affectionately referred to by some as “the spy who loved us”. Not quite. Journalist and Southeast Asian specialist Luke Hunt prises this story open. He knew and interviewed An for many years, along with the many friends and colleagues in journalism who knew him best in war, on the journalistic beat and amid the collapse of South Vietnam.The Punji Trap has been distributed across Asia and in the United Kingdom by Talisman Publishing Pte Ltd. It will shortly be available in Australia and can be purchased in paperback and  on Kindle  through Amazon, Select Books in Singapore, Asia Books in Thailand, Bokus in Scandinavia and at Kinokuniya Books in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Cambodia. First editions are also available through Pay Pal and in specialty book shops, including the Foreign Correspondents’ Club in Thailand and the Writer’s Club in Chiang Mai. In Cambodia, it can be found at Monument Books across the country, and at The Lost Room and Wang Dang Doodle in Phnom Penh, and at Bookish Bazaar and Keppler’s Books in Kampot.


“Hunt divulges in his book the very person who was instrumental in setting the stage for the greatest hijacking of a victory ever seen. Hunt makes it clear as to how the American people and leadership were taken for a ride that cost many more lives and the loss of South Vietnam,” Ronnie Monroe, Vietnam Veterans News.


Recent Comments From Readers

“It was Terrific! The best read on the Vietnam war. It held my interest from the first chapter! I found the journalistic perspective to be a refreshing perspective on a long and complicated war. It should be required reading for anyone whose taking a study of that period.”

Diane Holbrook, Raleigh North Carolina

“It is a great book. The scope and detail is amazing. It opened my eyes to the complexity of the whole Indo China history, from the colonisation of the French, through the struggles for independence after the First World War and then again after the Second World War. The self determination of the Vietnamese was the last thing on the mind of the major combatants of the World Wars.

“Your work is must read for all young journalists on what it means to be a foreign correspondent. Your explanation of how the wire system worked, and the press agencies, and the proprietary newspapers and magazines all differ in what and how they write stuff was enlightening.” Bob Hayes, Melbourne Australia.

Paddington, N.S.W.

Lawrence Deushane, retired American living in Sydney. Lawrence is a former US paratrooper, black ops specialist and merchant mariner from the Vietnam war era who spent the later part of his working life as a journalist and photographer in Australia.


SPY vs SPY — Pardoned in Cambodia of espionage Australian film maker James Ricketson with a copy of the Punji Trap in Sydney.

“A ripping good yarn (about real spy 😊) told by top notch journalist Luke Hunt. Contact Luke to buy a copy. Strongly recommended.”



Pub intellectuals and a chat in Melbourne. From left to Right; Rod McKinnon,  Bernie Esser, John Dooley and Rodney Riley with copies of the Punji Trap.

Second Print

A second print run of the Punji Trap was released on August 16 following strong demand . It includes  include updated blurbs on the back cover, several clarifications and the removal of the odd typo.

Bangkok Book Launch


Author  Luke Hunt with VoA regional chief Colin Lovett

The Punji Trap was launched in Bangkok on Anzac Day, April 25, 2018 at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand with more than a hundred people attending. Veteran Jim Pringle spoke eloquently about his days covering the Vietnam War.

Hong Kong

Indonesian author Rini Rica on the bus in Hong Kong. The Punji Trap is now on sale in many countries, including Thailand at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club where the author and veteran war correspondent Jim Pringle were guest speakers on April 25, 2018.