Review by Choice Review

Although fewer than 700 American POWs were held by the North Vietnamese between 1964 and 1971, the issue has generated a vast, ideology-tinged literature. What Craig Howes calls the "official" history is epitomized by John G. Hubbel's P.O.W.: A Definitive History of the American Prisoner-of-War Experience in Vietnam, 1964-1973 (1976). Its story of heroic resistance, "fall-back," and recovery against torture was formulated by militant officer POWs even before they left Hanoi. They ignored enlisted men kept in jungle camps and others who did not fit the heroic-officer concept or were regarded as downright traitors. Howes stresses the home-front agitations of Sybil Stockdale, wife of the most literate POW, James Bond (Jim) Stockdale. Howes closes with Jim Stockdale's postwar quest for the meaning of the entire experience. This account of the lives and exegesis of the statements of American POWs in Vietnam offers a more trustworthy analysis than any other work of modest length on this tendentious subject. All libraries.

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