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
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.
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.
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.
Very well written and read. An incredible story. I enjoyed this book very much and recommend it highly.
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The story was difficult to focus on, considering the spotty narration performed by Todd McLaren. I hated the affected accent he took hold of when quoting characters and so, after 20 minutes of gritting my teeth out of sheer boredom, I stopped the file from playing.
Fascinating account of US Navy aviator Dieter Dengler and his experiences as a POW and how is was able to escape, several times, from his captors.
The book lays the ground work for Dieter's amazing ability to survive and endure by relaying his childhood in WWII Germany and how he was able to immigrate to the US and eventually join the US Navy and learn to fly.
The, sometimes graphic, account of his escape through Laos and Vietnam is gruesome to imagine, making his feat all the more impressive
My only knock would be the lengthy back-story from his childhood in Germany, though important to set the stage I think it could have been shortened a bit without taking away from the story.
I thank Bruce Henderson and Dieter Dengler for their service to our country. I admire Dieter's heroism. But I really didn't enjoy this book, sorry to say. A listener with a military background may enjoy it more than I did, since it is THICK with military detail. I found my attention wandering when listening to the book. The last couple of hours were pretty engaging - but it took a lot of listening to get to that point.
Possibly, I was a little more critical because I had just finished Unbroken by Lauren Hillenbrand - which was the perfect combination of story, hero, writer, narrator.
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