22/07/2016 19:20 GMT+7 Email Print Like 0

Professor Larry Berman & “X6 - Perfect Spy”

“The life of Pham Xuan An is more than that of an intelligent agent, a spy or a journalist. He is a reconciler who healed the relationship between Vietnam and the United States, and who always wished for a better future”. These sincere remarks were made by historian, Professor Larry Berman, from both Georgia State University and the University of California, Davis, author of the book “X6 - Perfect Spy” who wrote about the Vietnamese legendary intelligent agent Pham Xuan An..
Since his book, “Perfect Spy: The Incredible Double Life of Pham Xuan An, Time Magazine Reporter and Vietnamese Communist Agent” was published in 2007, and with the first edition in Vietnamese language being published in 2008, Prof. Larry Berman travelled to Vietnam many times to collect documents for the recent second edition in Vietnamese as well as to interact with the Vietnamese audience and continue discussions with Pham Xuan An’s H-53 network. In his latest meeting with Vietnamese readers on Nguyen Van Binh Book Avenue in District 1 of Ho Chi Minh (HCM) City in January 2016, Prof. Larry Berman said: “I am very happy to be the first American author having talks with Vietnamese audience at this Book Avenue in HCM City. Also I am very happy to be the first American writer chosen by Pham Xuan An to write about his life”.

After his first meeting with general Pham Xuan An in 2001, in the following two years, Prof. Larry Berman asked An many times to allow him to write a book of the latter’s life. However, only when the general had to be hospitalised due to his seriously-injured lungs and when he was predicted not to live for long did the general agreed with Larry Berman’s suggestion. An then shared with the professor details of his life with intelligent activities.



Prof. Larry Berman becomes famous among Vietnamese readers after his book "X6-Perfect Spy"
about the legendary Vietnamese intelligence general Pham Xuan An (1927-2006) is published. Photo: Thanh Dat



Prof. Larry Berman and intelligence general Pham Xuan An - the latter who is acknowledged
a "perfect spy"  due to his outstanding feats of arms. Photo: File



Prof. Larry Berman said he believed that if one day a movie is made about general Pham Xuan An's intelligence activities,
it could be a nominee for the Oscar Award in the "Best Foreign Movie" category. Photo: Thong Hai



Life of the legendary intelligence agent Pham Xuan An is described vividly and truthfully
in the book "X6-Perfect Spy" by Professor Larry Berman. Photo: Thong Hai


Prof. Larry Berman and Nguyen Van Phuoc, Director of Tri Viet First News,
which holds the print copyright of the "X6-Perfect Spy". Photo: File



Prof. Larry Berman signs in the book "X6-Perfect Spy" for historian Duong Trung Quoc. Photo: File


Prof. Larry Berman in the "Talk Vietnam" show by Vietnam Television. Photo: File.

Prof. Larry Berman and readers in a meeting on the Book Avenue in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Thanh Dat

Prof. Larry Berman answers questions from readers about "X6-Perfect Spy". Photo: Thong Hai


In a meeting with readers on the Book Avenue in Ho Chi Minh City, January 2016. Photo: Thong Hai

“The “X6-Perfect Spy” by Larry Berman is about the incredible double life of Pham Xuan An, a reporter for Reuters, Time Magazine and New York Herald Tribune, and a general in intelligence strategy of the Vietnamese revolution. Overall, Pham Xuan An sent out 498 reports and documents to the revolutionary base, which were so accurate that General Vo Nguyen Giap joked, “We are now in the US war room”.
The “X6-Perfect Spy” by Larry Berman is about the incredible double life of Pham Xuan An, a reporter for Reuters, Time Magazine and New York Herald Tribune, and a general in intelligence strategy of the Vietnamese revolution. Overall, Pham Xuan An sent out 498 reports and documents to the revolutionary base, which were so accurate that General Vo Nguyen Giap joked, “We are now in the US war room”.

In almost five years, Prof. Larry Berman travelled to Vietnam for 18 times to interview Pham Xuan An and collect documents for his book. When “Perfect Spy” was published in the United States in 2007, the book greatly impressed the public audience. It was because, before that point of time few people knew and understood about the Vietnamese intelligence general Pham Xuan An although he was a legendary man during the Vietnam war. An’s life still conceals many mysteries of an intelligence agent’s life, his activities, talent and spirit which are outstanding, yet very modest and ordinary.

During his talks in Ho Chi Minh City in January 2016, Prof. Larry Berman said that General An shared with him only a part of his life. “I wish in my next life I could be a Vietnamese historian to write the most perfect book of Pham Xuan An,” said the professor.

Besides his talks with the local audience, Prof. Larry Berman has coordinated with Tri Viet First News Company and Cattiensa Media Group  in approving the script for a 30-episode TV series titled “X6-Perfect Spy”. The TV series is expected to start shooting soon.

According to Larry Berman, An’s life is so great that it can be recalled in the form of a movie with the background shot in Vietnam and participation of Hollywood.

“The movie will be about war, peace, friendship and love that Pham Xuan An wants to spend for both nations of Vietnam and the United States,” said the professor.



 "The most difficult thing when I compose this book is how to portray Pham Xuan An, a man who can live a double life, both are good, and who is beloved by many friends. For 15 years (1960-1975) engaging in intelligence activities, An lived closely to American friends and correspondents, however he was never doubted or uncovered by any of them. After war, when the stories about him were uncovered, many of his friends still shared with him their admiration and nice words, and they continued to befriend with him," said Prof. Larry Berman.

Prof. Larry Berman is author of the book, “No Peace, No Honor: Nixon, Kissinger and Betrayal in Vietnam”, which is of historical value about the final stage of the Vietnam war.  It is also a book that Pham Xuan An read and thought highly of.


Story: Nguyen Vu Thanh Dat - Photos: Thong Hai & Files