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Cash on Delivery: CIA Special Operations During the Secret War in Laos Paperback


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Cash on Delivery: CIA Special Operations During the Secret War in Laos + Shooting at the Moon: The Story of America's Clandestine War in Laos + Shadow War: The CIA's Secret War in Laos
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 380 pages
  • Publisher: Rosebank Press (October 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0984105921
  • ISBN-13: 978-0984105922
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,088,280 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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See all 9 customer reviews
The book is an unvarnished `lessons learned' account, without reading like a training manual.
George S. Cole
This could have become a boring history book but instead it is entertaining; even though it is loaded with lots of facts and data.
W. H. McDonald Jr.
I put the book down with a smile--great author, great book, highly relevant and very professionally-presented information.
Robert David STEELE Vivas

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By George S. Cole on November 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Without a doubt, the book, Cash on Delivery, presents an important behind-the-scenes perspective of a dedicated CIA officer, one who worked in a hot spot of the Vietnam War. The author unselfishly shares his experiences and thoughts about the work that is done in the gathering of intelligence in a dynamically changing, cross-cultural environment.

The book is an unvarnished `lessons learned' account, without reading like a training manual. Many of our decision makers would do well to assume the role of `student', and review the lessons that are presented in the book.

The author was a high school classmate of mine. When I heard about his book, I immediately ordered a copy. The previously unknown, to me, facets of his career have made for fascinating reading. Maybe we will have something to talk about, other than the weather, at our next class reunion?

He was also a military police officer in Vietnam. I am a Fort Gordon-trained military policeman, who served at Panmunjom, Korea, in 1966-'68, working around soldiers of both Koreas. From my cross-cultural military experience, the author's account rings true.

Since an earlier Amazon review presents many of the important details in the book, I'll provide my perspective of the events noted in the book. The final chapter, "Speaking Truth to Power - Lessons Learned", is properly positioned as a final chapter for the book. It stands as an after-action assessment of the author's considerable experience in the craft of gathering intelligence. Individuals with a low tolerance for situations of uncertainty need not apply for the job. Neither should they serve as overseers of the intelligence gatherers.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By W. H. McDonald Jr. on December 3, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Author Thomas Leo Briiggs shares an account of about the CIA's involvement in the nasty little secret war going on in Laos during the Vietnam War. It is told with the authority of having been there and done that himself. His book, "Cash On Delivery: CIA Special Operations During The Secret War in Laos" is an education in what really happened there. To some degree, it gives some very astute observations and insights on how we could do these same kind of secret operations better in the future. In the last chapter of his book, the author points out the many lessons and things that were learned from that long ago experience that could be of huge and practical benefit to today's anti-terror wars around the world.

The book becomes most interesting for me when he talks about POW Eugene DeBruin, a civilian employee of Air America. He was captured after being shot down over Laos in September 1963 - while dropping rice out of the back of a C-46 for that country's government. Briggs details how they tried to find evidence of him still being alive and being held in captivity years later. He was never returned after the war ended. He became one of those many MIAs that just simply vanished with no accounting even though there is a photo of him as a POW. The story of what they did along with all the background information was very well written by the author. This could have become a boring history book but instead it is entertaining; even though it is loaded with lots of facts and data.

Briggs takes this untold history along with his own personal experiences and weaves them together into well written tale of spies, wars, and intelligence gathering. There isn't another book like this one out there that captures first hand accounts of what was really going on there. This story needed to be told and it needs to be read!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Robert David STEELE Vivas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on November 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I served with the author in the clandestine service, saw the galley of this book in its early form, and was delighted when I received a copy of the finished book in the mail.

This is an absorbing detailed reference work, professional lessons learned document, "oral history" of the hidden war in Laos and Cambodia, and above all a patriotic "after action" report that should be--but has not been--absorbed by both Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Special Operations Forces (SOF) "leaders" and program managers.

Portions of the book are somewhat numbing in *necessary* detail, and other portions of the book gave me goose bumps. The book is something of a counterpoint to Blond Ghost, about Ted Shackley and his war in Laos, the most famous quote being his deputies, "We spent a lot of money and got a lot of people killed," Lair remembered, "and we didn't get much for it."

I take this officer at his word, and have absolute confidence in this book and its details. The two most important points:

+ CIA Special Operations Group (SOG) officers are program managers, and are NOT in competition with SOF "direct action" A, B, and C Teams.

+ Done right, ONE CIA SOG officer with TEN interpreter/assistants can manage THREE HUNDRED indigenous intelligence collection or guerrilla precision attack personnel. The interpreters have to be co-located with teams that can be reached in person or by radio.

The book is gripping from both a "here's what happened" reality depiction of the minutia of CIA SOG at its best, and "dumb-ass bureaucracy strikes again" all too familiar litany of errors of management.
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