Subtitled ""The Organization and Technique of the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam,"" this would be an important...

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VIET CONG

Subtitled ""The Organization and Technique of the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam,"" this would be an important book almost no matter what it said or how well it said it, by virtue of the fact that--with the single exception of Wilfred G. Burchett's Vietnam; Inside Story of the Guerrilla War (International Publishers, 1965)--there is simply nothing else available in English even pretending to be authoritative on the origin, structure, and methods of the NLF. Burchett, an Australian Communist, could not be called a detached observer; unfortunately Pike's disclaimers of ""mandate or proscription"" would sound more convincing if he hadn't been a USIA Foreign Service Officer in Saigon for the past six years, or if he did not frequently interject such pious comments as this one from his conclusion: ""Here, one felt, was tomorrow's society, the beginning of 1984...."" Burchett, after all, did have first-hand experience to work from, while Pike was forced to rely on some 200 captured documents and interviews with 150 VC defectors. Nevertheless, all question of biases aside, there is considerable valuable information here for the fact-starved public, and a good many of Pike's general theses--as for instance, of the roots of the NLF in the Vietnamese tradition of secret organizations and regional loyalties--will probably prove to be true. Pike's is as detailed a glimpse of ""the enemy"" as seems likely to be available for some time.

Pub Date: Nov. 23, 1966

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: M.I.T. Press

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1966