A Great Place to Have a War

America in Laos and the Birth of a Military CIA
Narrated by: Tim Campbell
Length: 9 hrs and 10 mins
Categories: History, Military
4.5 out of 5 stars (109 ratings)

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

In 1960 President Eisenhower was focused on Laos, a tiny Southeast Asian nation few Americans had ever heard of. Washington feared the country would fall to Communism, triggering a domino effect in the rest of Southeast Asia. So in January 1961, Eisenhower approved the CIA's Operation Momentum, a plan to create a proxy army of ethnic Hmong to fight Communist forces in Laos. While remaining largely hidden from the American public and most of Congress, Momentum became the largest CIA paramilitary operation in the history of the United States. The brutal war, which continued under Presidents Kennedy and Nixon, lasted nearly two decades, killed one-tenth of Laos' total population, left thousands of unexploded bombs in the ground, and changed the nature of the CIA forever.

Joshua Kurlantzick gives us the definitive account of the Laos war and its central characters, including the four key people who led the operation - the CIA operative who came up with the idea, the Hmong general who led the proxy army in the field, the paramilitary specialist who trained the Hmong, and the State Department careerist who took control over the war as it grew.

©2016 Joshua Kurlantzick (P)2017 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Superb!... A Great Place to Have a War is rich and jarring in its historical insight, fast in its pacing, and gripping in its read. You won't want to put it down." (Douglas Waller, author of Disciples: The World War II Missions of the CIA Directors Who Fought for Wild Bill Donovan)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    64
  • 4 Stars
    34
  • 3 Stars
    8
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    57
  • 4 Stars
    25
  • 3 Stars
    8
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    1

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    58
  • 4 Stars
    27
  • 3 Stars
    9
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    2

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

great history with a great narrative

This is a great CIA history of a little known war. The narrator does a good job.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Another Southeast Asia disaster, courtesy of USA bureaucrats aka CIA

This book gave me some background on a conflict I was unaware of, and it gave me insight into some of the seemjnglg stupid or incompetent operations reportedly carried out by CIA or by others using their intelligence product in the following years. This book has a powerul story to tell, and like in life, there are soom good guys trying to do what is right, while under terrible supervisors and restrictive orders for combat. No wonder we are still in Iraq and Afghanistan, while bureaucrats want us to stay in Syria, and as of yesterday some are calling for us to go into Venezuela.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Very interesting read

Definitely a worth-while read if you're into SE Asia or the evolution of the CIA. There's no one thing about this book that stands out but it's a good source of information to fold in with other works.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

well-written but some reviews on Amazon dispute it

well-written but some reviews on Amazon dispute its version...other accounts should be on audible.com too

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

illuminating read of Laos' relationship with USA

Excellent history lesson that anyone with interest in Laos should check out. Engaging from beginning to end.