Covert Ops

James E Parker


The war In Vietnam was in full swing. In an attempt to halt the spread of Communism the military moved into Laos. This story follows James E Parker's account as he retells his story of when he was stationed in Laos as a CIA operative.

Authors Purpose

I believe the author wrote this book to entertain. He doesn't really go through facts, and gives many accounts of his personal life, how he remembered it. He focuses heavily on the people that he met, and their little quirks. The quote, "Like Hog and Bag, he had come from the hills of Montana and was, for the most part, a silent frontiersman. He could get drunk on three beers. We marveled at this,"(p.121) really exemplifies this. The author continues with this trend for just about every character, introducing them, giving an interesting aspect about them, and then talking about his interactions with them.

Three Principles

A - Hang

B - The Government Hides Things

C - Help Those In Need

Greatest Impression

The chapter that had the biggest impact on me would have to be "When a Raven Falls". The chapter goes over the events of a pilot crashing over enemy airspace. It was interesting to see how fast things went down. One minute everyone is joking around over the radio having a gay old time, as much of one that's possible to have during war at least, and the next they are scrambling around trying to save their friend at any cost.

Rating of Book

I would rate this book a 3.5. It is a very interesting story, and it has a good pace, but for whatever reason I have very little drive to keep reading it. There really isn't a clear goal that the author is working for, and that makes it seem aimless. The story is very "in the moment" without an overarching big picture. If someone asks me for a good non-fiction war book I would definitely recommend this, I guess it just wasn't for me

Two Passages

Pages 62 - 63

This passage shows how serious that the military was about not letting anything fall into the enemies hands. It also shows how willing they are to just keep spending money to have it all blown away.

Page 121

This passage is interesting because it shows how the people who got involved in the war were from every walk of life. Each one unique in their own way, bound by a common goal. This also is a good example of how the author writes his characters.

Surprising Fact

I was surprised that little kids would be recruited to fight along side the Laotians and Thai mercenaries. The author even comments on how he thought that it would be illegal because of child labor laws. Other soldiers then tell him that most of the children's parents were likely dead, and they felt compelled to help out the cause. That, and they wouldn't deny any troops that they could get their hands on. Obviously morality was not the top priority for many of these men.