M. I. A.: Or Mythmaking in America

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Almost two decades after the Vietnam War, most Americans remain convinced that U.S. prisoners are still being held captive in Southeast Asia, and many even accuse the government of concealing their existence. But as H. Bruce Franklin demonstrates in his startling investigation, there is no plausible basis for the belief in live POWs. Through scrupulous research, he shows for the first time how this illusion was fabricated and then converted into a powerful myth. Franklin reveals that in 1969 the Nixon ...
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1st Edition, Fine/VG+ 1/8" DJ chip top front fore-edge corner, o.w. clean, tight & bright. NO ink names, bookplates etc. Price unclipped. ISBN 1556521189

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Overview

Almost two decades after the Vietnam War, most Americans remain convinced that U.S. prisoners are still being held captive in Southeast Asia, and many even accuse the government of concealing their existence. But as H. Bruce Franklin demonstrates in his startling investigation, there is no plausible basis for the belief in live POWs. Through scrupulous research, he shows for the first time how this illusion was fabricated and then converted into a powerful myth. Franklin reveals that in 1969 the Nixon administration, aided by militant pro-war forces, manufactured the POW/MIA issue to deflect attention from American atrocities in Vietnam, to undermine the burgeoning anti-war movement, and to stymie the Paris peace talks, resulting in the prolongation of the Vietnam War for another four years. Successive administrations, in an effort to mobilize public support for their continued economic and political warfare against Vietnam, asserted the possibility of live POWs at great emotional cost to both family members of the missing and countless Americans distressed about the fate of those supposedly left behind in Indochina. Born of political expediency, the POW/MIA issue was transformed in the 1980s into a potent myth. American culture was transfigured as movies and novels designed to reimage the Vietnam War turned the imagined post-war POWs into crucial symbols of betrayed American manhood and honor. Finally the myth began to turn against its creators when many Americans became convinced that the government itself was conspiring to betray the missing men. As he traces the evolution of the POW/MIA myth, Franklin not only exposes it as an elaborate hoax at the highest levels of government, but also explains why the myth has penetrated to the heart of American life. By confronting the "true tragedy of the missing in Vietnam," Franklin helps us to understand how to heal the terrible psychological and spiritual wounds of the Vietnam War.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Franklin ( From the Movement: Toward Revolution ) discusses the wide-spread conviction that American prisoners of war are still being held in Indochina as ``bargaining chips'' and that the U.S. government is not doing enough to secure their release. Many fervent believers, he demonstrates, are certain the government is engaged in a conspiracy to conceal evidence of the existence of dozens, if not hundreds, of POWs in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Although not a shred of verifiable proof has surfaced, this pervasive myth, we're shown, has been continually reinforced in various ways that include POW-rescue movies such as Uncommon Valor, Missing in Action and the Rambo series, all of which depict idealistic American heroes snatching incarcerated GIs from the clutches of sadistic Oriental Communists. Franklin's argument that the Nixon administration concocted the POW/MIA issue to deflect public attention from the Vietnam war, while plausible, is not backed here by solid enough evidence. First serial to the Atlantic. (Mar.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781556521188
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/1/1992
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Pages: 225

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Preface
1 Prisoners of Myth 1
A National Religion? 3
But Are There Live POWs? 11
Counting the Unaccounted For 11
What Does "POW/MIA" Mean? 16
Full Accounting and Live POWs 19
Prisoners or Deserters? 23
The French Experience 24
"Discrepancies" 27
Government Conspiracy 34
2 Prisoners of the War 37
The Matrix of the POW/MIA Issue 39
The "Go Public" Campaign 49
Enter VIVA and the Bracelets 54
Four More Years of War for the POW/MIAs 57
Peace for the POWs 60
Counting on Discrepancies 64
The POWs in War and Peace 74
3 The Missing of Peace 77
War Remains 79
VIVA and the National League of Families Continue the War 82
The Pentagon's New Math 87
The Case of the Disappearing POWs 93
The Multiplication of the POWs 96
What Did Happen to the Missing Men? 99
Cambodia 105
Laos 108
Vietnam: Or What the Garwood Case Really Shows 113
"Live Sightings" 117
Why? 120
Reparations and POWs 122
4 Mythmaking in America 127
Crucifixion and Resurrection 129
Hollywood Heroes I: Bo Gritz and Ronald Reagan 136
Hollywood Heroes II: Gene Hackman and Chuck Norris 140
Hollywood Heroes III: Rambo 150
The Plots Thicken 156
5 Still Missing 167
Recovery 169
A Story of the Missing and the Missing Story 170
"Pow/Mia" 177
Appendix A: From the Agreement on Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Viet-Nam, Signed in Paris, January 27, 1973 181
Appendix B: The Secret Nixon Letter 182
Glossary 187
Notes 189
Index 217
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