In the early days of World War II, a young Marine named Charles Fenn was recruited by the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) for undercover operations in the China-Burma-India theater. Fenn had been a foreign correspondent in Asia, and Wild Bill Donovan's new outfit wanted a man there who already knew the lay of the land. Fenn turned out to be a good choice and a remarkable spy. He knew exactly what it took to get the job done, blowing up a bridge carrying Japanese troops across the Yalu, manning secret radio stations in Chinese convents, demoralizing Japanese morale, rescuing airmen from Japanese prisons, and getting to know an up-and-coming Vietnamese leader named Ho Chi Minh.
Fenn's wartime exploits are the stuff of legends, but not even his OSS compatriots knew the full extent of espionage activities. Fortunately, Fenn's skill as a spy is matched by his talent as a storyteller, and this witty, elegantly written account of his OSS days not only adds to the historical record but makes for an entertaining read. Added benefits are his descriptions of Chinese culture and lifestyle and his understanding of the motivations of Ho and the Vietminh. A wide variety of readers will be drawn to this extraordinary work.
Charles Fenn covered the Far East for Life magazine before the war. After the war he moved to London and became a playwright and nonfiction writer.