On sale May 5th, 2020
History - Military - Vietnam War
About This Book
In vibrant, engaging prose, this memoir from inside the belly of US intelligence operations reveals what fundamentally went wrong for the US and its allies, and why the Vietnam War was never "winnable." A cautionary tale about the perils of politicizing and manipulating honest intelligence.
For political reasons, the Johnson and Nixon administrations wanted to control the narrative about US prospects in Vietnam. In 1965, low level CIA analyst Sam Adams was transferred from the Congo desk to Southeast Asia, where he was charged with assessing enemy morale and counting their ranks. Only the enemy strength estimate he came up with as the CIA's official head counter varied wildly from the official estimates being produced by military intelligence and released by the White House for consumption by Congress, the media, troops in the field and the American electorate. Adams' findings pointed to the conclusion that the war was unwinnable, but when politicians and military leaders failed to release let alone acknowledge his findings, he knew the intelligence was being politicized and embarked on a one man crusade to hold those in power accountable and expose the truth.
Sam Adams was a graduate of Harvard College and spent ten years as an analyst for the CIA. He was completing this memoir when he died of a heart attack in 1988.
INTRODUCTION WRITER COL. DAVID HACKWORTH was the author of About Face and was the youngest full Colonel in the US Army when he resigned in protest over the Vietnam war in 1971. He died in 2005.
FOREWORD WRITER DR. JOHN PRADOS is a senior research fellow on national security affairs, including foreign affairs, intelligence, and military subjects, at the National Security Archive. He also directs the Archive's Iraq Documentation Project, as well as its Vietnam Project. He holds a PhD in International Relations from Columbia University. His books Vietnam: The History of an Unwinnable War, 1945-1975, Keepers of the Keys' and Combined Fleet Decoded were each nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. He has published articles in Vanity Fair, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe.
"More than a rehash of yesteryear's bureaucratic battles, and more even than delicious inside gossip, Adams paints a fascinating and personalized picture of the backroom, political wartime CIA." - Library Journal
"A stunning account by a man of impeccable integrity, of the corruption of U.S. military intelligence in Vietnam." - Mike Wallace
"If someone were to ask me what three books they should read to understand what happened in Vietnam, I would say: Street Without Joy, by Bernard Fall; Honorable Men, by William Colby; and War of Numbers by Sam Adams. . . . There are probaboly 5,000 books on Vietnam. War of Numbers will become a classic." -- Lt. Col. H. Thomas Hayden, The Marine Corps Gazette
"As spellbinding as a mystery story -- which of course it is." -- The Boston Globe
One of "the most important books of the Vietnam War -- Adams has had the last word, in permanent defiance of those who would re-write the war to doublethink specifications." -- The Chicago Tribune