The Phoenix Program
America's Use of Terror in Vietnam
A shocking exposé of the covert CIA program of widespread torture, rape, and murder of civilians during America’s war in Vietnam, with a new introduction by the author
In the darkest days of the Vietnam War, America’s Central Intelligence Agency secretly initiated a sweeping program of kidnap, torture, and assassination devised to destabilize the infrastructure of the National Liberation Front (NLF) of South Vietnam, commonly known as the “Viet Cong.” The victims of the Phoenix Program were Vietnamese civilians, male and female, suspected of harboring information about the enemy—though many on the blacklist were targeted by corrupt South Vietnamese security personnel looking to extort money or remove a rival. Between 1965 and 1972, more than eighty thousand noncombatants were “neutralized,” as men and women alike were subjected to extended imprisonment without trial, horrific torture, brutal rape, and in many cases execution, all under the watchful eyes of US government agencies.
Based on extensive research and in-depth interviews with former participants and observers, Douglas Valentine’s startling exposé blows the lid off of what was possibly the bloodiest and most inhumane covert operation in the CIA’s history.
The ebook edition includes “The Phoenix Has Landed,” a new introduction that addresses the “Phoenix-style network” that constitutes America’s internal security apparatus today. Residents on American soil are routinely targeted under the guise of protecting us from terrorism—which is why, more than ever, people need to understand what Phoenix is all about.
- Pub Date
- Open Road Integrated Media
“A bright light into the darkest corner of the Vietnam War, and one of the darkest in American history.” —Nicholas Proffitt, author of Gardens of Stone
“This is very volatile material. . . . In some ways it’s remarkable the book ever saw print.” —Bergen Record
“This shocking expose of the CIA operation aimed at destroying the Viet Cong infrastructure thoroughly conveys the hideousness of the Vietnam War.” —Publishers Weekly
“Valentine catalogues the horrors without ever losing sight of the need to explain how such a tragedy could happen.” —The Veteran
“This definitive account of the Phoenix program, the US attempt to destroy the Viet Cong through torture and summary execution, remains sobering reading for all those trying to understand the Vietnam War and the moral ambiguities of America’s Cold War victory. Though carefully documented, the book is written in an accessible style that makes it ideal for readers at all levels, from undergraduates to professional historians.” —Alfred W. McCoy, author of The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade
About the author
Douglas Valentine is the author of four books of historical nonfiction: The Hotel Tacloban, The Phoenix Program, The Strength of the Wolf: The Secret History of America's War on Drugs, and The Strength of the Pack: The Personalities, Politics and Espionage Intrigues that Shaped the DEA. He is the author of the novel TDY, and a book of poems, A Crow's Dream. He is also the editor of the poetry anthology With Our Eyes Wide Open: Poems of the New American Century (West End Press, 2014). He lives with his wife, Alice, in Massachusetts.