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Operation Chaos

The Vietnam Deserters Who Fought the CIA, the Brainwashers, and Themselves

Matthew Sweet

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Picador
13 February 2018
October 1967 during the height of the Vietnam War Craig Anderson, John Barilla, Michael Lindner and Rick Bailey, deserted the US Intrepid; smuggled from Tokyo to Sweden via Moscow with the help of a Japanese anti-war group, a draft-card-burning Buddhist priest from Nebraska, and the staff of the Russian Embassy in Tokyo. Their act of defiance made them headline news around the world as the Intrepid Four, and inspired other disillusioned young conscripted soldiers to follow their escape to Sweden.

Operation Chaos tells the true story of this group of U.S. military deserters who found asylum in Sweden during the Vietnam War and how in falling in league with the American Deserters Committee and its mysterious founder Michael Vale they became a thorn in the side of the US government during the Cold War. Travelling widely to Paris, Stockholm, North Carolina, Washington and New York visiting protected archives and meeting with the original agents and dissidents Matthew Sweet here uncovers their life underground, how the US government waged a determined campaign to discredit deserting soldiers, the story behind the secret scheme code named

Operation Chaos, how the CIA tried to infiltrate this radical political group, an international game of cat and mouse and spiraling series of events winding all the way to the Manchurian Candidate scare of 1973/4, and the hunt for the victims of “the brainwashing institutes of Sweden”. Sweet’s fascinating journey of discovery sheds new light on one of the great untold tales of the Cold War, where the facts are wilder than any work of fiction.
By:  
Imprint:   Picador
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Edition:   Air Iri OME
Dimensions:   Height: 234mm,  Width: 153mm,  Spine: 27mm
Weight:   505g
ISBN:   9781447294764
ISBN 10:   1447294769
Pages:   352
Publication Date:  
Recommended Age:   From 18 years
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Matthew Sweet is a writer and broadcaster with a doctorate in Wilkie Collins. He presents Night Waves and Free Thinking on BBC Radio 3 and The Philosopher's Arms and The Film Programme on BBC Radio 4. He is the author of Inventing the Victorians and Shepperton Babylon: The Lost Worlds of British Cinema - which he adapted as a film for BBC Four. He has also edited and introduced the work of Wilkie Collins, Arthur Conan Doyle, William Thackeray, George Eliot and Edward Bulwer-Lytton. His TV films and series include Silent Britain (BBC Four) Checking into History (Channel Four), British Cinema Forever (BBC2) and A Brief History of Fun (Channel Four).

Reviews for Operation Chaos: The Vietnam Deserters Who Fought the CIA, the Brainwashers, and Themselves

Very well-informed and effortlessly funny. * Independent * Matthew Sweet's curiosity and sense of fun pulls back the heavy baize curtains on what we thought we knew about the war. -- Linda Grant


  • Long-listed for CWA Dagger for Non-Fiction 2018 (UK)

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