HMONG ABC

Hog's Exit: Jerry Daniels, the Hmong, and the CIA (Modern Southeast Asia Series

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Paperback, 512 pages, 9x6, English
by Gayle Morrison
ISBN-10: 0896727920
ISBN-13: 978-0896727922


It just didn’t sit right. Not with his friends, not with his coworkers, not with his hunting and fishing buddies, and certainly not with his family. The American Embassy in Bangkok had reported the accidental death of Jerry “Hog” Daniels by carbon monoxide poisoning. Three decades later, his family and most of his friends remain unconvinced that the U.S. government told them the truth about his death.
            As a former CIA case officer to legendary Hmong leader General Vang Pao during the “secret war” in Laos, Jerry Daniels was experienced, smart, and careful. Those who knew him well said he wasn’t the type to die as reported. Raising even more doubts, his casket was “Permanently Sealed” by the U.S. State Department before being shipped home to Missoula, Montana, where he was honored with a three-day funeral ceremony organized by his former comrades-in-arms, the Hmong hilltribe warriors from Laos.
            This book examines the unique personality and reported death of a man who was a pivotal agent in U.S./Hmong history. Friends and family share their memories of Daniels growing up in Montana, cheating death in Laos, and carousing in the bars and brothels of Thailand. First-person accounts from Americans and Hmong, ranchers and refugees, State Department officials and smokejumpers capture both human and historical stories about the life of this dedicated and irreverent individual and offer speculation on the unsettling circumstances of his death. Equally important, Hog’s Exit is the first complete account in English to document the drama and beauty of the Hmong funeral process.
            Hog’s Exit provides a fascinating view of a man and the two very different cultures in which he lived.


Review

Hog's Exit instantly vaults into the top five books on the CIA’s covert war in Laos and its long, long aftermath. It’s a wonderful work of storytelling and scholarship, and it opens up the spiritual world of the Hmong tribe as few have done before. –Roger Warner, author of Shooting at the Moon: The Story of America’s Clandestine War in Laos



In Hog’s Exit, the poetry of the hills of Montana and of Laos speaks to us through the memories of those who knew him, leaving all the questions and explanations and memories to follow in a stream. Jerry Daniels the CIA officer becomes Jerry Daniels the human being, someone we can understand. –Rebecca Weldon, anthropologist 



This is not just a good, interesting read, but a must read on the life, amazing career, and untimely death of one of the greatest CIA field operatives of all time.--Alan Dawson, Bangkok Post


No other American is more recognized and beloved to the Hmong than Mr. Jerry Daniels.  In the battlefield, he ate and lived the way they did.  He took care of them and in return they treated him like a brother.  He was one of them.  Gayle Morrison has done an excellent job of weaving together the stories of those who knew him best and exposing us to his humanitarian work as well as the mysterious circumstances surrounding his untimely death.  This book is a great tribute to Jerry Daniels and those who served with him during the Secret War of Laos. --Lee Pao Xiong, Director of the Center for Hmong Studies


Expertly told through the voices of those who knew “Hog” best--fellow Montanans, smokejumpers, CIA personnel, US Embassy officials, and the people of Southeast Asia Jerry worked so hard to protect. Raw and unapologetic, Daniels’s life tells us much about the human cost of covert operations.  --Timothy N. Castle, former CIA Staff Officer and author of At War in the Shadow of Vietnam and One Day Too Long: Top Secret Site 85 and the Bombing of North Vietnam

About the Author

Gayle L. Morrison has worked with the Hmong community since 1977 in education, refugee services, private enterprise, and as an oral historian, researcher and writer. Her first book was Sky Is Falling: An Oral History of the CIA’s Evacuation of the Hmong from Laos (1999). Based on the quality of her oral history research, she received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in 2003-2004. She lives in Santa Ana, California, and Missoula, Montana.