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POW: A Definitive History of the American Prisoner-of-War Experience in Vietnam, 1964-1973 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
This is a great book that makes you respect and love American war vets even more. What happened to these men is so horrible. It's so hard to believe that those men came back alive. America is a great country and the greatest men and women in the world come from here.
No person who had any feelings about the Vietnam War, pro or con, can in good conscience not read this book; for to have had feelings meant one was involved in bringing the war to a close--by protest or by winning. For those who opposed the war, this book provides incontrovertible proof that their media-displayed activities influenced North Vietnamese command decisions as to how to use the hundreds of Americans imprisoned in Vietnam. For those who supported the men who fought, and for those who fought, this book reveals in detail exactly what it means to be a member of the armed forces of the United States when captured in battle. The reader of POW will find that the virtue of true courage exists. Courage existed amidst the most debilitating, awesomely frightening, insanity-inducing environment ever devised. Mental and physical pain existed not for hours or days but for months and years; pain was induced by inept and ignorant captors whose brutality was their government's policy, whose methodology combined ancient Oriental torture and modern Pavlovian response, and whose propaganda goals were supported by actions and words of some Americans in the U.S. government, media, and the entertainment field. There are revelations in this book: Circumstances surrounding the early release of selected prisoners; how POW wives banded together to produce better conditions for their husbands; charges of mutiny against two senior officers; and, perhaps most surprising of all, a Secretary of the Army's belief that in prison camps no USAF officer had legal authority over Army enlisted men. There is inspiration in this book: Surviving in an almost unsurvivable environment with a bedrock belief in God, self, comrade, and country; devotion to one's fellowman that transcends prejudice; keeping sane in an Animal Farm bedlam; generating strength from resources not hitherto recognized. And there is humor in this book: Hacks, coughs, spits, and broom-sweepings that pass vital messages; acting that would do credit to a Woody Allen script when their captors would attempt to film propaganda movies; and the incredible story of a young seaman from South Dakota who fell off his ship in the Gulf of Tonkin one night and went on to bamboozle his disbelieving captors for years. So, to the Hanoi Hoppers and the protesters if they dare, the supporters and the fighters if they will, and to you young folks who want to know of authentic American heroes, I recommend this book. By no means will you finish it in one night, but in no way will you be able to think of much else until you do. Reviewed by Mark Berent, author of the five-book historical fiction Vietnam War series, “Wings of War.”