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Publisher's Summary

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Stevon
  • Tempe, AZ, United States
  • 04-05-11

the will to live

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • jean
  • catawba, nc, United States
  • 02-07-11

Hero Found

A great story, Deter has a zest for life and no one is stopping that. Narrator does a great job.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Matthew
  • Ottawa, ON, Canada
  • 08-28-10

Extremely interesting and well-written!

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.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Gripping story that spans two wars

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • KS
  • 09-03-15

is Great but military terms is a hurdle

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

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

So glad I picked this one...

Loved it. When he made his escape and was found was very exciting. Narrator does an excellent job.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

WOW

It is unbelievable- what he went through is u fathomable

Talk about the will to live and survive!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

highly recommended

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Very interesting read

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Dieter Dengler a true American Hero ❤

Some people just put a brand in our heart and in our soul.
Nothing can explain the entire life of a man who was forced into a life of struggle and refused any defeat brought on by man .