Winner of the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation's
2019 Colonel Joseph Alexander Award
for distinguished biographical literature
"Mirza Munir Baig had been rehearsing his entire life to step on to a stage like Khe Sanh and influence the course of history." --The Gunpowder Prince
In early 1968, world attention was focused on the isolated Khe Sanh Combat Base, and the plight of outnumbered American forces being besieged by nearly 30,000 North Vietnamese Army soldiers. Yet, what few know is that the fate of those 6,000 Americans hinged upon the talent of a small band of resourceful officers at Khe Sanh, whose high-stakes responsibility was to devise imaginative schemes, dependent on the ebb-and-flow of the battle swirling around them, to save the base.
Chief among them was thirty-six-year-old, Marine Corps Captain Mirza Munir "Harry" Baig, a scholarly, Cambridge University-educated, Pakistani immigrant, born in India, and heir to a celebrated family military tradition dating back centuries to the Mongol conquest of the Western Himalayas. His classical education, an uncanny grasp of his adversary's historical tendencies, and some murky, counterintelligence work with the CIA developing spy networks deep into North Vietnam, permitted the enigmatic Baig, like some chess grand master, to "get into the heads" of North Vietnamese military strategists--anticipating their every move.
Award-winning author Michael Archer worked alongside this brilliant eccentric throughout that bitter ten-week siege. Supported by declassified American and Vietnamese military records and memoirs, Archer's book leaves little doubt that Baig's presence at Khe Sanh was critical in saving thousands of his fellow defenders from death or captivity--and averting one of the gravest military defeats in American history.