The hill tribes made him a demi-god.

The CIA wanted to kill him.

The remarkable true story of Australian war hero Barry Petersen.


Praise for The Tiger Man of Vietnam

“One of those great untold stories….Walker tells it with verve and excitement and with meticulous attention to detail”

The Sydney Morning Herald


“Cracking tale…an extraordinary yarn….Walker’s finely researched book goes beyond the biographical account of an Australian war hero”

The Sun-Herald 


“It’s been suggested Petersen was the model for the character of Colonel Kurtz in the film Apocalypse Now. But this remarkable true story is much richer and more compelling than anything Hollywood could conjure”

The West Australian


About the Book

‘As he flew over South East Asia towards Vietnam, Captain Barry Petersen struggled to keep an aura of calm. Inwardly he was incredibly excited. Aged 28, highly trained, with experience in anti-communist guerilla warfare, he was about to embark on the biggest and most important mission of his life…..’  

In 1963, Australian Army Captain Barry Petersen was sent to Vietnam. It was one of the most tightly held secrets of the Vietnam War; long before combat  troops set foot there and under the command of the CIA, Petersen was ordered to train and lead guerilla squads of Montagnard tribesmen against the Viet Cong in the remote Central Highlands.

Petersen successfully formed a fearsome militia named ‘Tiger Men’. A canny leader, he was courageous in battle and his bravery saw him awarded the coveted Military Cross and worshipped by the hill tribes.

But his success created enemies, not just with the Viet Cong. Like Marlon Brando’s character in Apocalypse Now, some in the CIA saw Petersen as having gone native. His refusal, when asked, to turn his Tiger Men into assassins as part of the notorious CIA Phoenix Program only strengthened that belief. The CIA strongly resented anyone who stood in their way. Some in US intelligence were determined Petersen had to go. He was lucky to make it out of the mountains alive.


Interviews with Frank Walker about Tiger Man of Vietnam

ABC Radio Perth:

You Tube video of ABC Radio National interview:

Crikey interview and talk about writing:

Writesmart blog:


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