Risk Taker, Spy Maker

Tales of a CIA Case Officer

Barry Michael Broman

The vivid and engaging memoir of a CIA case officer.
Date Published :
July 2020
Publisher :
Illustration :
50 color and black-and-white photographs
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781612008967
Pages : 312
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : In stock
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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.

About The Author

Barry Broman was a teenage photographer for the Associated Press in Southeast Asia, then a Marine Corps infantry officer in combat in Vietnam before spending a quarter century as a “head-hunter” with dozens of recruits for the Clandestine Service in operations around the world. Mr. Broman received a BA in Political Science in 1967 followed by an MA in Southeast Asian Studies a year later. A lifelong photographer and traveler he has published many articles and books.


I. Early Years
II. Photographer
III. Marine
IV. Spy
V. Latter Years


"At times, the memoir reads like a travel book with tales of visits to little-known and rarely seen places..."

- Intelligencer

"...refreshingly gives the reader the all too rare, studied insight and subtle nuances of the myriad events and historical occurrences in which Broman was either a key player or on-site witness."

- Col John C. McKay, USMC (Ret)

"...offers stories of serious encounters accompanied by memorable ring of history. [The Author's] recollections introduce the reader to a cast of bigger than life characters: movie stars, royalty, presidents, international drug traffickers and correspondents, sufficient in number to satisfy the most ardent adventure seeker. "

- Hal Buell, former VP of the Associated Press

“Broman proves that he is not just an accomplished photographer, but a thoroughly engaging writer. Over the course of his colorful career, he has managed to rub shoulders with some of the most interesting people that have passed through his posts-—all of them unsuspecting as to the true nature of his employment. He has also engaged in The Great Game under some of the most trying circumstances in Southeast Asia, making for a fascinating read from start to finish.”

- Ken Conboy, author of The Cambodian Wars: Clashing Armies and CIA Covert Operations

“As a veteran of a quarter of a century of traveling the world for the CIA in hot wars and during the height of the Cold War, Broman’s true tales of putting his life on the line recruiting and running spies in a dozen countries are the stuff of action movies and popular espionage fiction … Broman’s detailed account of his months as a platoon commander in the 5th Marines in Vietnam is gripping to read, a worthy addition to the already extensive history of the war written by the American soldiers who fought it.”

- Peter Arnett, Pulitzer Prize Winner

"Broman's remarkable life story will have broad appeal for readers who relish circumspect spy chronicles and vivid tales of passionate exploration and interaction."

- Booklist

“A fascinating read.”

- SirReadaLot.org

"A simply riveting read from beginning to end, Risk Taker, Spy Maker: Tales of a CIA Case Officer is the stuff from which blockbuster movies are made..."

- Midwest Book Review

"[The book] takes the reader into an extraordinary twenty-five-year CIA venture that includes recruiting spies, conducting operations against drug traffickers, and staying one-step ahead of extreme danger. This is a must read."

- Ronald Drez, Retired USMC Captain and award-winning author of "Twenty-Five Yards of War: The Extraordinary Courage of Ordinary Men in World War II"

"The stories are filled with poignant details of his family life, encounters with foreign diplomats, generals, and princelings who had no clue of his true affiliation, and thrilling details of gunfights and drug deals in the jungles of Vietnam and Burma that are enough to make a great movie. At the same time, [Broman] gives the reader a flavor of the times and a sense of what went wrong and what went right during those difficult years in Southeast Asia. Most interestingly, through hints, innuendo, and cagey description, Broman tells us how an Agency case officer must split his normal with his clandestine life."

- James Stejskal, former US Army Special Forces and CIA officer, author of 'Special Forces Berlin: Clandestine Cold War Operations of the US Army’s Elite, 1956–1990'

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