Two major histories of American prisoners of war (POWs) captured during the Vietnam War are contained in this unique ebook sourcebook, providing an unprecedented reference on this vital subject.
The Long Road Home, U.S. Prisoner of War (POW) Policy and Planning In Southeast Asia - This history of Washington's role in shaping prisoner of war policy during the Vietnam War reveals the difficult, often emotional, and vexing nature of a problem that engaged the attention of the highest officials of the U.S. government, including the president. It examines frictions and disagreements between the State and Defense Departments and within Defense itself as a sometimes conflicted organization struggled to cope with an imposing array of policy issues: efforts to ameliorate the brutal conditions to which the American captives were subjected; relations with families of prisoners in captivity; the proper mix of quiet diplomacy and aggressive publicity; and planning for the prisoners' return. At a pivotal juncture the Department of Defense exerted a major influence on overall policy through its insistence in 1969 that the government "Go Public" with information about the plight of prisoners held by the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong. There is evidence that this powerful campaign contributed to the gradual improvement in the treatment of the prisoners and to their safe return in 1973. The detailed account of negotiations with the North Vietnamese for the withdrawal of American forces from South Vietnam makes clear how important in all U.S. calculations was securing the release of the prisoners.
The Long Road Home is a companion work to Honor Bound, The History of American Prisoners of War in Southeast Asia, 1961-1973. Many years in the making, this study of what happened to American prisoners of war during captivity in Southeast Asia (Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia) between 1961 and 1973 is the product of painstaking research in the official records and relevant literature and extensive interviews with many former prisoners. Its thorough and meticulous documentation give it the stamp of scholarly authority. The research even extended to one of the authors, Frederick Kiley, undergoing some of the tortures suffered by the prisoners, including the rope treatment, "just to get the feel."
Vietnam and its aftermath have remained an unhappy memory for much of the American public for the past 25 years and more. Those concerned with the fate of the unaccounted for American prisoners and the missing in action have inspired a sympathetic Congress and sympathetic administrations to direct the large-scale determined effort by the Department of Defense to seek a conclusive accounting for the fate of each and every PW and MIA. This extremely demanding and complex undertaking may never be able to resolve the most difficult cases. Honor Bound is the result of a fruitful collaboration between Stuart I. Rochester and Frederick Kiley. In examining the lives of the prisoners in captivity, it presents a vivid, sensitive, sometimes excruciating, account of how men sought to cope with the physical and psychological torment of imprisonment under wretched and shameful conditions. It includes insightful analyses of the circumstances and conditions of captivity and its varying effects on the prisoners, the strategies and tactics of captors and captives, the differences between captivity in North and South Vietnam and between Laos and Vietnam, and analysis of the quality of the source materials for this and other works on the subject.
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