In 1967, U.S. Air Force fighter pilot James Shively was shot down over North Vietnam. After ejecting from his F-105 Thunderchief aircraft, he landed in a rice paddy and was captured by the North Vietnamese Army. For the next six years, Shively endured brutal treatment at the hands of the enemy in Hanoi prison camps. Back home his girlfriend moved on and married another man. Bound in iron stocks at the Hanoi Hilton, unable to get home to his loved ones, Shively contemplated suicide. Yet somehow he found hope and the will to survive--and he became determined to help his fellow POWs.
In a newspaper interview several years after his release, Shively said, "I had the opportunity to be captured, the opportunity to be interrogated, the opportunity to be tortured and the experience of answering questions under torture. It was an extremely humiliating experience. I felt sorry for myself. But I learned the hard way life isn't fair. Life is only what you make of it."
Written by Shively's stepdaughter Amy Hawk--whose mother Nancy ultimately reunited with and married Shively in a triumphant love story--and based on extensive audio recordings and Shively's own journals, Six Years in the Hanoi Hilton is a haunting, riveting portrayal of life as an American prisoner of war trapped on the other side of the world.
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About the Author
Amy Shively Hawk is the stepdaughter of James Shively, who married her mother after his release from a Hanoi prison when Amy was five years old. Amy’s background is in journalism, speaking, and advertising/marketing. She has a BA in Communication Studies from Eastern Washington University, and a minor in Broadcast Journalism. Amy is married to Steve, has a teenage daughter and son, and lives in Hood River, Oregon.
Table of Contents
Author's Note xi
Special Note to POWs xv
1 Baseball and BB Guns 5
2 "What Did I Get Myself Into?" 15
3 What Happens in Vegas… 23
4 One Hundred Missions 29
5 One More Roll 35
6 Shot Down 51
7 Heartbreak Hotel 63
8 Don't Let the Bed Bugs Bite 73
9 Mind Games, Exploitation, and Propaganda 83
10 "A Little Spark of Hope" 95
11 Hanoi Hannah, Gyro Gearloose, and Ladies' Underwear 101
12 Escape and Repercussions: New Levels of Hell 117
13 Camp Faith 123
14 Welcome to the Jungle 137
15 Operation Homecoming 143
16 Return to Freedom 153
17 Life in the Spotlight 163
18 Don't Sweat the Small Stuff 169
19 Because You Cannot Hate and Live 179
20 The Last Battle 187