From a political cult to the heart of the Washington establishment – the bizarre and untold story of how the CIA tried to infiltrate a radical group of US military deserters during the Cold War.
Stockholm, 1968. A thousand American deserters and draft-resisters are arriving to escape the war in Vietnam. They’re young, they’re radical, and they want to start a revolution. The Swedes treat them like pop stars – but the CIA is determined to stop all that.
It’s a job for the deep-cover men of Operation Chaos and their allies – agents who know how to infiltrate organizations and destroy them from inside. Within months, the GIs have turned their fire on one another, and the group dissolves into interrogations and recriminations.
When Matthew Sweet began investigating this story, he thought the madness was over. He was wrong. Instead, he became the confidant of an eccentric and traumatized group of survivors – each with his own intricate theory about the traitors in their midst.
All Sweet has to do is discover the truth . . . and stay sane.
Reminiscent of Jon Ronson’s The Men who Stare at Goats and as compelling as Ben McIntyre’s Agent Zigzag, in Operation Chaos Matthew 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.
Very well-informed and effortlessly funny.
Matthew Sweet's curiosity and sense of fun pulls back the heavy baize curtains on what we thought we knew about the war.
Operation Chaos is a wild ride—a deeply reported and gracefully written account of a fascinating piece of contemporary Cold War history.
Susan Orlean, author of The Orchid Thief, Saturday Night, and Rin Tin Tin