In February 1966, U.S. Navy pilot Dieter Dengler was shot down over "neutral Laos". He crashed deep in territory controlled by North Vietnamese army regulars and the communist Pathet Lao, who would eventually capture him and hold him prisoner in a fortified jungle prisoner-of-war camp.
But German-born Dengler was no ordinary prisoner. Already a legend in the Navy for his escape and evasion skills - amply demonstrated during training in the California desert - he would initiate, plan, and lead an organized escape from the POW camp, becoming the longest-held American to escape captivity during the Vietnam War.
Caught in a most desperate situation, imprisoned not only by the enemy but by the jungle itself, Dengler's heroic impulse was to not only get himself out but to free all the other POWs - Americans, Thai, and Chinese - some of whom had been held for years. In a surreal scene of brotherhood and celebration, Dengler returned to his aircraft carrier, the USS Ranger, six months after being shot down - emaciated and ravaged with strange tropical illnesses, but very much alive and joyous to be so - only two weeks before the ship was due to leave the Gulf of Tonkin and return home.
Bruce Henderson served with Dengler aboard Ranger off the coast of Vietnam and here tells Dengler's complete story for the first time, drawing on extensive interviews with the intrepid pilot, his squadron mates, friends, and family, as well as declassified military archival materials, some now available for the first time, and personal letters and journals.
Henderson's riveting account amply demonstrates why Dengler's story of unending optimism, innate courage, loyalty, and survival against overwhelming odds remains for his fellow flyers and shipmates the best and brightest memory of their generation's war.
©2010 Bruce Henderson (P)2010 Tantor
I love books!
If you like stories about American servicemen being captured, tortured, surviving aginst all odds, and the strength of the human spirit, then you'll like this story. Much like "Unbroker" that's popular now, this is about VietNam. It was a good story.
Avid audiobook addict!
The author's a good writer, and the hero is a fascinating guy. Draws you right into what it must have felt like to be escaping through the jungle in Vietnam.
this was a great story. a lot of build in the first several chapters and a long cool down but such a great story. I thoroughly enjoyed it. highly recommended to anyone who enjoys a good war story.
It's always interesting to hear stories about war heroes. I am a soldier and currently stationed in Germany and the story was that much more relevant to me. I particularly enjoyed reading the parts where was escaping in SEAR school. This was a good book and I recommend it.
Do you read the book before you dislike my reviews?
After reading one of the greatest war survival books of all time, Unbroken, it is very hard to not to compare both books and try not to be bias because they were two different wars, different era in our history and two way different endings. Hero Found is well written, but not superb. It is not a must read like Unbroken, but it is also not a waste of time or credit. The book has a high points and its lows, but overall, it is well put together. If you are reading this book and haven't read Unbroken yet, you must read Unbroken. If you already read Unbroken and thinking about reading Hero Found, this is not a must read nor a bad listen. I am being bias because I'm comparing the two books. Hero Found is a good story, but I wished he had more of his boyhood. Hero Found is like Band of Brothers with many central characters and tend to loose focus of its center.
Superbly written and narrated, this audio book held my attention from start to finish and was excellent company on a long road trip. It's non-fiction that reads like a novel. The events are epic, the characters well drawn and memorable. There isn't a wasted word in the entire book. It's a war story and some awful thing happen, but that is not the focus of the story. The main character is far from perfect, but truly inspirational in his resourcefulness and determination.
While in general the story is quite engaging and the narration is good, I found two flaws with this book. On the first hand, locational he details were provided which were not necessary to the story or pulled us into side stories of lesser interest. Secondly, the main character himself provides a sad story. Without a doubt he lived a very difficult life, but the author sometimes seems to justify his theft, using and manipulating other people, infidelity, divorce, and suicide in a cavalier manner. At the end of the story, I found myself wondering what his second chance at life could've been.
Everything is good - story, narration, length, etc. But those without knowledge of military terms may have difficulties - esp. if they are from non-US people because they'll have difficulty finding terms from dictionaries
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