Voices of the Vietnam POWs: Witnesses to their Fight / Edition 1

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Overview


Unsure whether they would be greeted as traitors or heroes, POWs returning from Vietnam responded by holding tight to their chosen motto, "Return with Honor." "We're giving the American people what they want and badly need--heroes," said a Vietnam jungle POW. "I feel it's our responsibility, our duty to help them where possible shed the idea this war was a waste, useless, as unpopular as it may have been." In the first book to explore the entire range of memoirs, biographies, and group histories published since America's Vietnam POWs returned home, Craig Howes explores the development of a collective history. He describes how these captives drew upon their national heritage to compose a unified, common story while still in prison, and how individual POWs have responded to this Official Story. Examining what racial, cultural, and political assumptions support this shared Official Story, Howes places the POWs' experiences squarely in the center of American history, and within those larger clashes of opinion and belief which characterized the nation's response to the Vietnam War. The result is an engrossing study of what these captivity narratives can tell us about the POWs, their captors, and America's Vietnam legacy.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"In fact or fiction, the argument--from many of the senior POWs and from some cultural commentators--that the prisoners were the war's only true 'heroes' is one of real cultural and historical importance, for it will help determine in part what the overall 'text' of the Vietnam War is, how the overall event is connected and harmonized within older, larger American mythic narratives."--Thomas Myers, author of Walking Point

"[A] fascinating account....A penetrating account of the creation of memory and the uses of collective history."--Canadian Military History

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195086805
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 6/28/1998
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.19 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: America's Vietnam POWs 3
I The Code, the Rules, and the Body
1 The Fighting Man's Code 17
2 Camp Authority and the Rules of the Game 41
3 Torture and War's Body 53
II The Official Story and the Big Picture
4 The Official Story 75
5 The Big Picture 115
III One Man's View
6 A Prophet Returns to His People 165
7 The Story's Other Sides 193
8 Keeping the Faith--James Bond Stockdale 233
Notes 257
Bibliography 277
Index 285
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