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.
I served at Udorn RTAFB and spent time in Laos during the "Secret War". Glad to see the long-classified stories of our service men finally told - for they are remarkable.
The only acknowledged battlefield was Vietnam, so if it didn't happen in Vietnam (or the story changed to support that fiction, as the Navy did in the story here), then it just didn't happen. Consequently, very few medals were awarded for action in the Secret War.
I'm in a love-hate relationship with Amazon Prime.
This was among the top of my list of captivating books that I have listened too. I found myself sitting in my car longer than necessary just to find out what happened next.
Dieter Dengle, whom the book is about was my favorite. He was the kind of guy that people wish they were.
Todd was an excellent narrator that was able to have distinctive accents for the various characters and pronounce the Laotian and Vietnamese cities correctly.
It did make me a little misty eyed at the end.
This was a well written and well narrated book. It described Dieter Dengle's history very well and told about what happened to the other people involved at the end. This book left me wanting to read about other POWs during the Vietnam war.
A detailed account of a young man of his youth to his struggle to live and escape his captors while in, what was neutral Laos, that the American's at home never new about. Very interesting and never dull.
While the entire story was extremely interesting I found Dieter's escape to be quite riveting keeping me on the edge of my seat.
The entire book was so amazing to me and it is the best book I have ever read. I know now who died in the plane that crashed east of Fresno when I was a child. I lived in the town where it crashed.
Very well written and read. An incredible story. I enjoyed this book very much and recommend it highly.
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