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 Hong Kong, 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 Back Street Bar and Wang Dang Doodle in Phnom Penh, and at Villa Vedici 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.

Howl

The crew at Howl, in Siem Reap, which brings writers and audiences together. Sales of the Punji Trap will be donated to the Angkor Hospital for Children and its appeal to combat malnutrition.

Reviewed in Magical Cambodia

Long before arriving in Cambodia, I was reading whatever I could find from the journalist Luke Hunt, the Southeast Asian Correspondent and author who has covered so many of the challenging issues and events in the area. Hailing from Australia, Hunt has been frequently living in Cambodia since 2000. He began his Khmer encounters in the early 1990s as a reporter in Saigon following the Khmer Rouge’s kidnapping and murder of three Western backpackers.

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Khmer Sight Foundation

Thierry De Roland Peel sold many a copy of my book the Punji Trap to raise money for the Khmer Sight Foundation and that’s me handing the money over to Lois Joy Evans recently at The Exchange in Phnom Penh during an exhibition, which we do every third Thursday of the month. Next to her is chief ophthalmologist Dr Mukesh Taneja and Oso Kuma, among others. B&W by Steve Porte and color byJeff Perigois, who had some fantastic shots exhibited.

RTHK Podcast with Luke Hunt

On Hong Kong Heritage this weekend… As a student, longtime Hongkonger and Australian veteran journalist Luke Hunt first learned about Pham Xuan An, a South Vietnamese who spied for the Communist north during the Vietnam War. An worked as a journalist for Time and Reuters and through propaganda this spy for north Vietnam helped convince the Americans that it was time for their troops to go home. After the Vietnam War ended in 1975, Pham Xuan An became disenchanted with the Communist government but continued to live in Vietnam until his death in 2006. He told Luke that he could write a book about his life, once he was dead. On Hong Kong Heritage this weekend, Luke tells me about his book Punji Trap, Pham Xuan An: The Spy Who Didn’t Love Us. Listen here.

First Class

Reader Howard Hughes flies first class with the Punji Trap. He writes: “I thought to take Luke Hunt’s book out for a spin. On page 30 so far, excellent read.”

 

Latest Review

From Angkor John: “I’ve read this magnificent book (got it at Monument think its available elsewhere in PP as well) , the Punji Trap by the Australian journalist Luke Hunt.

“A great read backed with a solid historical narrative as to how the Vietnam war came to be alongside a great true story. I can highly recommend for those interested in the genre.”

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