Surviving Hell: A POW'S Journey

( 18 )

Overview

On April 19, 1967, Leo Thorsness was on a mission over North Vietnam when his wingman was shot down by an enemy MiG that then lined up for a gunnery pass on the two American pilots who had bailed out. Although his F-105 was not designed for aerial combat, Thorsness immediately engaged the enemy aircraft and destroyed it. When Thorsness spotted four more MiGs, he fought his way through a barrage of North Vietnamese SAMs to engage them too, shooting down one more and driving the ...

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Overview

On April 19, 1967, Leo Thorsness was on a mission over North Vietnam when his wingman was shot down by an enemy MiG that then lined up for a gunnery pass on the two American pilots who had bailed out. Although his F-105 was not designed for aerial combat, Thorsness immediately engaged the enemy aircraft and destroyed it. When Thorsness spotted four more MiGs, he fought his way through a barrage of North Vietnamese SAMs to engage them too, shooting down one more and driving the others off.

For this action, Leo Thorsness was awarded the Medal of Honor. But he didn't learn about it until years later-and then only by a "tap code" coming through prison walls-because on April 30 Thorsness himself was shot down, captured, and transported to the Hanoi Hilton.

Surviving Hell is Thorsness's account of a six-year captivity marked by hours of brutal torture and days of agonizing boredom. He tells how he and the other pilots kept their humanity through sheer resilience and resourcefulness. Figuring that he was 10,000 miles from his wife and daughter, for instance, Thorsness decided to spend his days "walking home" from Hanoi by pacing several miles a day in his tiny cell. When he was thrown into solitary confinement for refusing to bow down to his captors, Thorsness disciplined his mind by memorizing long passages of poetry other prisoners sent him by tap code.

Filled with hope and humor, Surviving Hell is an eloquent chronicle of resistance and survival. No other book about American POWs has described so well the strategies these remarkable men used in their daily effort to maintain their humanity. By refusing to be stripped of their basic dignity, POWs continued to wage war against the enemy even during the darkest moments of their long captivity.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594032363
  • Publisher: Encounter Books
  • Publication date: 2/16/2009
  • Pages: 250
  • Sales rank: 778,579
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author


LEO THORSNESS received his Medal of Honor after he was released from his North Vietnamese prison in 1973. From 1988 to 1992, he served as a senator from Washington State. Mr. Thorness now lives in Huntsville, Alabama.
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Table of Contents


1 Medal of Honor Mission
2 Shot Down
3 What I Brought With Me
4 Down the Mountain
5 Tap Code
6 A Day in the Life of
7 Dinnertime
8 Bad Medicine
9 Walking Home
10 The Medal of Honor
11 Solo
12 The Question of Freedom
13 Boredom
14 Prison Science
15 The Lord’s Prayer
16 Hanoi Hilton Extension Courses
17 The Home Front
18 Prison Talk
19 Mike’s Flag
20 Christmas 1972
21 Leaving Hell
22 Home
Index
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 18 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 18 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2013

    most stories about CMOH winners are worth the read.

    My son is becoming an Air Force pilot, i thought he should read about what can happen. Inspiraton, motivation, dedication.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2012

    Skyleaf and Cinderleap

    "Hi Eldakit!" They both say, and watch Amberstar with their 2 pairs of eyes, one pair light blue, the other stunning green with turquoise. Skyleaf and Cinderleap

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2012

    Furystreak

    Thank you goldenstripe

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2012

    Unknown

    Runs in and grabs eldakit and runs out before anyone caugt them and takes elda kit to hidden in shadows result 1

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2012

    Lilackit

    Im here.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2012

    Eldakit

    Hi skybranch and cinderhop

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2012

    Cats

    He gave the kit a mouse. Eat. He said
    Burningflame

    He sat down.
    Citrusstar

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2012

    B

    "Hey, are we going to start this gathering or not?"
    ~Amberstar

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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