Widely regarded as a classic on the Vietnam War, Decent Interval provides a scathing critique of the CIA's role in and final departure from that conflict. Still the most detailed and respected account of America's final days in Vietnam, the book was written at great risk and ultimately at great sacrifice by an author who believed in the CIA's cause but was disillusioned by the agency's treacherous withdrawal, leaving thousands of Vietnamese allies to the mercy of an angry enemy. A quarter-century later, it remains a riveting and powerful testament to one of the darkest episodes in American history.
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When this book was originally published in the late 1970s, it caused a firestorm of controversy due to its savage critique of the conduct of both the CIA and military advisory units within Vietnam. Written by a career CIA officer who resigned in disgust over the ways in which American policy both undermined and betrayed the very purposes we were supposed to be in Vietnam to promote, the book quickly became an international best-seller. Frank Snepp was the chief strategy analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency in Saigon, and from his unique vantage point was able to discern most of policy discussions regarding the American approach to the ongoing conduct of the war assistance being provided to the South Vietnamese. What he discovered alarmed and surprised him, for the authorities were making plans to allow the fall of the Saigon regime even while reassuring their Vietnamese clients they would support them to the very end. As the title of the book indicates, the most salient...
As the CIA's chief strategy analyst in South Vietnam, Snepp is in a unique position to speak to the issues involved, and to chronical the final fall of the Republic of Vietnam. That the fault for that fall lies with us really goes without saying, even though without question he shows in great detail the ineptitude and corruption of many in the Saigon regime along with similar in our own ranks.
Snepp shows all too clearly how the CIA (and the US generally) failed to honor its commitments in a thousand different ways, and undermined the RVN time and time again. In this, of course, Kissinger would agree; and yet Snepp painfully shows that it was Kissinger's own failures at the table in Paris that lead to much of what transpired in 1973-75.
The account of the final days is riveting, just as it is tragic.
You do not have a complete picture of what happened in Vietnam without this vital conclusion.
Frank Snepps book has had a lasting impression upon me. The US Ambassador Greene caused misery for a vast number of US employeed South Vietnamese by refusing to allow plans to be made for the US withdrawal from South Vietnam. Frank Snepp's book explains some of the unofficial activities of some good and some bad government officials during the winding down of the war. Some of the activities included dirty tricks such as creating fictitious spy lists and planting them into CIA field office safes just prior to their being overrun and the lists discovered. Others showed the weakness/cowardess of Vietnam's "best" army divisions and the heroic activities of their "worst" division. The book talks about the testing of a 10,000 pound cluster bomb that had to be pushed out the back of a C130 in its original crate because it was so big and of the devastating results from the explosion. Frank Snepp has written a gripping story about the end of the Vietnam...
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