Joining the CIA after fighting in Vietnam as a Marine, Broman’s first posting was war-torn Cambodia. He was present at the fall of Phnom Penh in 1975, escaping just before the Khmer Rouge took power. During his career, he was twice chief of station, once a deputy chief of station, and supervised an international paramilitary project in support of the Cambodian resistance to Vietnamese invaders. He was actively involved in several assignments in counternarcotics operations in Southeast Asia including a major “bust” that yielded 551 kilograms of high-grade heroin from a major drug trafficker. His “favorite agent” against a variety of “hard targets” was a fellow whose only demand was that his assignments be “life threatening.” He survived them all.
As amazing as the characters Broman has met are the places he has been, with visits to little-known and rarely seen places like the Naga Hills on the India–Burma border, the world-famous but off-limits jade and ruby mines of Burma, and the isolated Banda Islands of Indonesia, the home of nutmeg.
Broman’s engaging tone is perfectly complemented by photographs taken throughout his career, many of them his own, made using the skills he learned as a teenager when working for the Associated Press in Southeast Asia. They include Marines in action in Vietnam, the ravages of war in Cambodia, and opium buyers forcing growers to sell in Burma.