The Punji Trap – Pham Xuan An: 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 is now available on Kindle and can be found at Monument Books across Cambodia, at The Lost Room in Phnom Penh and at Bookish Bazaar and Keppler’s Books in Kampot. Distribution in Asia and the United Kingdom is being handled by Talisman Publishing Pte Ltd and will be available through Amazon. The website is being updated accordingly and we soon hope to have the Punji Trap available through Pay Pal.

The Punji Trap; Official Launch

The Punji Trap was officially launched on January 24, 2018, at Meta House in Phnom Penh with more than 100 people attending. Journalist and videographer Craig Skehan hosted the event and former Saigon Reuters bureau chief Jim Pringle gave a telling talk about the Tet Offensive, which erupted at the end of January, 1968, and turned the tide of public opinion against the Vietnam War.


Author’s note: Blurbs and praise for the Punji Trap were written on behalf of the reviewer and not the publication they work for. It is common practice, and a courtesy, in publishing for a reviewer and the author to list who they work for. To do so should not be interpreted as an official endorsement from their publisher as that would require the incorporation of an official logo from the company making such an endorsement. The initial reaction from readers of the Punji Trap has been terrific, as such a second print run is anticipated soon with updated reviews for the cover.

Straight From The Printers

Jim Pringle, legendary correspondent and Reuters bureau chief in Saigon during the 1968 Tet Offensive, with the author (and a celebratory drink) on the day the Punji Trap is delivered from the printers. Photo by Milly Pringle.