National (In-)Security: Fifty Notable American Espionage Novels: 40-42.


Proffitt, Nicholas.  The Embassy House. New York: Bantam, 1986.

For more than a decade, Nicholas Proffitt served as a correspondent and a bureau chief for Newsweek in many locations around the globe, including “hot spots” such as Saigon and Beirut.  He has won awards for his reporting on the Arab-Israeli conflict and on the fall of Saigon to the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese.  The experience he acquired during his three years in Saigon provided the basis for his first two novels: Gardens of Stone, which is a military novel, and The Embassy House, a very accomplished espionage novel.

The Embassy House focuses on the C.I.A.’s Phoenix Program.  Operatives are charged with raiding Vietnamese villages, interrogating suspected Viet Cong and their sympathizers, and summarily executing anyone they have reason to believe may be in the Viet Cong leadership. To head the program, the C.I.A. recruits a Green…

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