POW/MIA publications: Read This, Watch That
Recommended Books, Videos, and DVD
Abandoned in Place - The Men We Left Behind and the Untold Story of Operation Pocket Change the Joint Special Operations Command Planned Rescue of American POWs in Laos Six Years After the End of the Vietnam War.
By Lynn M. O'Shea (Former National Alliance Director of Research)
Based on previously unseen documents Abandoned in Place chronicles the untold story of Operation Pocket Change, the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) planned rescue of American POWs in Laos six years after the end of the Vietnam War. Interwoven are the stories of the Men We Left Behind.
Commenting on the manuscript, former New Hampshire Senator Bob Smith wrote, "I sincerely mean it, when I say that you have put together the best chronology and in depth analysis of the POW/MIA issue that I have ever read! As I read this, I basically re-lived the 25 years of frustration and heartache that I faced as I worked on this issue. Your 25 years of research and your excellent portrayal of the facts have been skillfully combined to create a document that will withstand historical scrutiny on this issue."
Order your copy at Amazon.com
American Trophies: How American POWs Were Surrendered to North Korea, China, and Russia by Washington's "Cynical Attitude"
By Mark Sauter and John Zimmerlee
The story of American heroes kept by our country's enemies and Washington's failure to recover them reads like a cross between "The Manchurian Candidate" and "Foreign Affairs." It uncovers decades of secrets and incompetence, right up to the Obama Administration, and reveals how Moscow, Beijing, and Pyongyang continue to thwart America today.
Based on years of research around the world by an investigative historian and Special Forces officer teamed with the POW/MIA expert son of a missing Korean War flyer, it is by turns both enthralling and upsetting. This book rips the lid off the one of the most disturbing scandals in modern US history.
As you read the book, join our community to help with investigations the Pentagon and CIA can't -- or won't -- do themselves. Decipher names on declassified documents, track down Chinese and Russian officials and identify POWs in captured enemy film: Amazon Product Description
"Keeping the Promise Alive - A DVD
Written, Produced and Directed by Hope Manna and Kellie Allred
Available on DVD, This documentary tells the story of Capt. Harry Cecil Moore, shot down in June 1951. Told Harry died in the crash, his young wife and daughter left their hometown, relocating in California. There she renewed an acquaintanceship with Harry's brother. The two fell in love, married and raised their daughter and Harry's.
Fifty years later, their world was rocked, when they received a letter from the Air Force. The letter reported the possibility of Harry's survival, and transfer to the former Soviet Union. "Keeping the Promise Alive" is the story of one families struggle to find the truth, all POW/MIA families seek. For more information visit IMDB .
American's Abandoned Sons
By Robert S. Miller
Tens of thousands of America's WWII, Korean Conflict, and Vietnam War military servicemen ended up as hostages secretly hijacked into the USSR. Today this regrettable saga is still one of America's most closely guarded secrets. As WWII ended Stalin captured all of Germany's eastern areas in which tens of thousands of captured American POWs were then being detained by Hitler's armed forces. Stalin secretly held them as hostages and denied any knowledge of them as the Cold War began. Their status unknown, Washington eventually declared them dead when in fact they were still alive in captivity. Thousands more were lost the same way when the Korean War ended: China and the USSR secretly exploited these hostages for intelligence purposes and then also disposed of them. Vietnam saw still more held back by Hanoi after that conflict ended, for the same reasons again. Today these abandoned sons, a few of whom may still be alive in captivity as you read this, are considered one of Washington's most closely guarded secrets. Now is time to expose this secret and end this unfortunate Cold War saga.
"An American in the Basement: The Betrayal of Captain Scott Speicher and the Cover-up of His Death"
by Amy Waters Yarsinske
"The incredible story of denial, deceit, and deception that ultimately cost Navy pilot Captain Michael Scott Speicher his life is exposed in this military tell-all. Asserting that years of information has been intentionally kept from an American public, the book reveals that, contrary to reports, Speicher survived after he ejected from his stricken F/A-18 Hornet on the first night of the Persian Gulf War.
Protected by a Bedouin tribal group, he evaded Saddam's capture for nearly four years. In that time he was repeatedly promised by an American intelligence asset that a deal for his repatriation would be worked out but it never was. Speicher was left behind. After Saddam Hussein captured him, Speicher spent the next eight years in a secret Baghdad prison and being moved around in secret to avoid an American task force looking for him, and before he was killed after the United States invaded Iraq in March 2003. Author Amy Waters Yarsinske, a former naval intelligence officer and a veteran investigator and author, presents her fascinating case after years of research." - Amazon.com Product Description
"Black April - The Fall of South Vietnam 1973 - 1975"
by George J. Veith
"The defeat of South Vietnam was arguably America's worst foreign policy disaster of the 20th Century. Yet a complete understanding of the endgame-from the 27 January 1973 signing of the Paris Peace Accords to South Vietnam's surrender on 30 April 1975-has eluded us.
Black April addresses that deficit. A culmination of exhaustive research in three distinct areas: primary source documents from American archives, North Vietnamese publications containing primary and secondary source material, and dozens of articles and numerous interviews with key South Vietnamese participants, this book represents one of the largest Vietnamese translation projects ever accomplished, including almost one hundred rarely or never seen before North Vietnamese unit histories, battle studies, and memoirs. Most important, to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of South Vietnam's conquest, the leaders in Hanoi released several compendiums of formerly highly classified cables and memorandum between the Politburo and its military commanders in the south. This treasure trove of primary source materials provides the most complete insight into North Vietnamese decision-making ever complied. While South Vietnamese deliberations remain less clear, enough material exists to provide a decent overview.
Ultimately, whatever errors occurred on the American and South Vietnamese side, the simple fact remains that the country was conquered by a North Vietnamese military invasion despite written pledges by Hanoi's leadership against such action. Hanoi's momentous choice to destroy the Paris Peace Accords and militarily end the war sent a generation of South Vietnamese into exile, and exacerbated a societal trauma in America over our long Vietnam involvement that reverberates to this day. How that transpired deserves deeper scrutiny. " Amazon.com Product Description
"Left Alive to Die - The Story of Blue Angels Leader Harley Hall"
by Susan Keen
"Profiles Harley, last American pilot shot down before the cease fire; chronicles jarring evidence indicating that Hall remained alive for years after his capture; and outlines our government's humiliating response to his wife's and others' pleas to garner attention for this compelling case. No American can read Keen's shocking book without being moved to impassioned prayer for those such as Mary Lou who have no closure and whose lives forever are devastated by a war that many would like to believe never happened." Amazon.com Product Description
"Beyond the Killing Fields"
by Sydney H. Schanberg
"Now in his 70s, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Schanberg looks back on a long career as a war correspondent for the New York Times and offers an anthology of war coverage and commentary, from Vietnam and Cambodia to the war in Iraq, aimed at showing the brutality and senselessness of war. From his reporter's notebook entries, he describes watching small children die and thinking of his own children back in the U.S., the hasty evacuation of the U.S. embassy in Cambodia in 1975, the surreal calm before the Khmer Rouge moved into Phnom Penh. He includes his tribute to Dith Pran, the Cambodian so instrumental in the Times' coverage that he was named a correspondent. Schanberg recalls their relationship as colleagues and friends and his profound sadness that while Pran saved his life, he was unable to save Pran's in return. The final pieces are critiques of the U.S. failure to push Hanoi to return POWs and the cover-up of that failure, including Senator John McCain's participation, despite his time as a POW. Schanberg's collection is grim reminder of the brutality of war." Vanessa Bush of Booklist
"Eating with the Enemy: How I Waged Peace with North Korea from my BBQ Shack in Hackensack,"
by Bobby Egan and Kurt Pitzer
"Bobby Egan is an extraordinary man who turned his openness and naivete into strengths. He is also one of the most unlikely persons anyone could imagine trying to bring warring nations to a detente table. This very special book is the life story of a patriot. And though some of his methods and capers may sound outlandish, even hilarious, they're just like Bobby."
- Sydney H. Schanberg, Pulitzer Prize--winning author of The Death and Life of Dith Pran (basis for the film The Killing Fields) who has written extensively on POWs
"AN ENORMOUS CRIME; The Definitive Account of American POWs Abandoned in Southeast Asia"
by Former Congressman Bill Hendon and Beth Stewart
From the Inside Flap
The dramatic history of living American soldiers left in Vietnam, and the first full account of the circumstances that left them there
An Enormous Crime is nothing less than shocking. Based on thousands of pages of public and previously classified documents, it makes an utterly convincing case that when the American government withdrew its forces from Vietnam, it knowingly abandoned hundreds of POWs to their fate. The product of twenty-five years of research by former Congressman Bill Hendon and attorney Elizabeth A. Stewart, An Enormous Crime brilliantly exposes the reasons why these American soldiers and airmen were held back by the North Vietnamese at Operation Homecoming in 1973 and what these men have endured since.
Despite hundreds of postwar sightings and intelligence reports telling of Americans being held captive throughout Vietnam and Laos, Washington did nothing. And despite numerous secret military signals and codes sent from the desperate POWs themselves, the Pentagon did not act. Even in 1988, a U.S. spy satellite passing over Sam Neua Province, Laos, spotted the twelve-foot-tall letters "USA" and immediately beneath them a huge, highly classified Vietnam War-era USAF/USN Escape & Evasion code in a rice paddy in a narrow mountain valley. The letters "USA" appeared to have been dug out of the ground, while the code appeared to have been fashioned from rice straw (see jacket photograph).
Tragically, the brave men who constructed these codes have not yet come home. Nor have any of the other American POWs who the postwar intelligence shows have laid down similar codes, secret messages, and secret authenticators in rice paddies and fields and garden plots and along trails in both Laos and Vietnam.
An Enormous Crime is based on open-source documents and reports, and thousands of declassified intelligence reports and satellite imagery, as well as author interviews and personal experience. It is a singular work, telling a story unlike any other in our modern history: ugly, harrowing, and true.
From the Bay of Pigs, where John and Robert Kennedy struck a deal with Fidel Castro that led to freedom for the Bay of Pigs prisoners, to the Paris Peace Accords, in which the authors argue Kissinger and Nixon sold American soldiers down the river for political gain, to a continued reluctance to revisit the possibility of reclaiming any men who might still survive, we have a story untold for decades. And with An Enormous Crime we have for the first time a comprehensive history of America's leaders in their worst hour; of life-and-death decision making based on politics, not intelligence; and of men lost to their families and the country they serve, betrayed by their own leaders.
Missing... Presumed Dead
A Film by Bill Dumas
"This is a true story of Roger Dumas, a Korean War POW abandoned in North Korea by the U.S. Government. His brother, BOB, has spent his life searching 24/7 for Roger and uncovered a political conspiracy that abandoned over 386 POWs. His unprecedented lawsuit exposed the tragedy and forced the U.S. Army to re-classify Roger a POW....
"....Bob discovered his brother was in fact a POW interned at the infamous Camp #5 and when the war ended, Roger, along with 387 other POWs were abandoned in order to end the war...."
"This is a story of one simple man's behemoth endeavor to uncover a most tragic U.S. policy that abandoned POWs in Korea...
We recommend the DVD, as it contains additional material not in the final cut.
Tears In The Darkness
The Story of the Bataan Death March and Its Aftermath.
By Michael Norman and Elizabeth M. Norman
From Richard Pyle Associated Press
"Tears in the Darkness: The Story of the Bataan Death March and Its Aftermath" (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 480 pages, $30), by Michael Norman and Elizabeth Norman: A new account of the Bataan Death March, in which more than 70,000 American and Filipino prisoners of war were victims of appalling barbarism a particularly grim episode of World War II following Japan's invasion of the Philippines. Driven from Manila into the hills of the Bataan peninsula, the combined Allied forces fought without hope of reinforcement or escape until they had no choice but to capitulate. The largest surrender in U.S. military annals was fol-lowed by a forced 60-mile march along Luzon's main highway during which more than 10,000 of the POWs were summarily murdered or died from torture, wounds and disease. For Americans the Death March was a first encounter with the brutality that would define Japan's military behavior, and the fact that the story has been told many times before does not dissuade Michael and Elizabeth Norman, both professors at New York University, from another effort. The result is an extremely detailed and thoroughly chilling treatment that, given the passage of time and thinning of ranks, could serve as popular history's final say on the subject.
The Normans spent a decade in research and writing, interviewing more than 100 surviving American veterans and relatives of scores of others, and traveling to Japan to track down the most elusive and difficult sources some 20 former soldiers who were involved in the march and a guard from one of the miserable camps where more captives died from sickness, torture or starvation. The authors also find an ideal protagonist in Ben Steele, a former Montana cowboy who in 1940, at 22, joined the Army Air Corps and was sent to the Philippines. Steele survived the Death March and prison camp, and his personal story is the thread by which the authors spin their harrowing narrative, also using Steele's sketches to illustrate it. They find some sympathy for Gen. Masaharu Homma, the Japanese commander in the Philippines. His 1946 trial and execution as a war criminal showed how the Imperial Army was driven to excesses by right-wing racist fanatics who intimidated its senior officers, Homma among them. But as with other latter-day critics, they have little admiration for Gen. Douglas MacArthur, the U.S. commander in the Philippines who was being glorified at home in 1942 as the greatest American military hero since Ulysses S. Grant. On Jan. 15, the authors report, MacArthur sent his beleaguered troops on Bataan a would-be morale booster, promising them that reinforcements in the form of troops and planes were on the way from the United States. "It was a lie, a Judas kiss," they write. "The Philippines was cut off. Washington knew it and so did MacArthur." --Associated Press, June 15, 2009
The First Marine Captured in Vietnam
A Biography of Donald G. Cook
By Donald L. Price
Colonel Donald Gilbert Cook was the first U.S. Marine captured in Vietnam; the first and only Marine in history to earn the Medal of Honor while in captivity; and the first Marine POW to have a U.S. Navy ship named in his honor, the USS Donald Cook (DDG-75). On December 31, 1964, while serving as an observer with a South Vietnamese Marine Corps battalion on a combat operation against Viet Cong forces, he was captured near the village of Binh Gia in South Vietnam. Until his death in captivity in December 1967, Cook led ten POWs in a series of primitive jungle camps. His leadership and adherence to the U.S. Military Code of Conduct earned him the nation's highest military award, but Cook never received historical attention commensurate with his enormous accomplishments.
This is the first book-length biography of Colonel Donald G. Cook. With background information on Cook's life and prewar career, the book concentrates especially on his three years in captivity, and is the first book exclusively about a Marine POW held in South Vietnam. It covers the ten other POWs under his command, including Sgt. Harold George Bennett (the first American POW executed in Vietnam) and Sgt. Isaac Camacho (the first American POW to escape in Vietnam). The author outlines the circumstances surrounding Cook's Medal of Honor citation and death. Throughout, Cook's adherence to the Corps' traditional leadership principles and knowledge of the Code of Conduct are highlighted, and his biography is a unique case study of exemplary leadership under extremely difficult conditions. Nearly 70 photographs are included.
About the Author
Retired Marine Colonel Donald L. Price earned the Silver Star, three Bronze Stars and the Purple Heart for service in Vietnam. He lives in Sierra Vista, Arizona.
by David Combs
"Thick Luck provides an insiders view of U.S. Government and military efforts to recover POWs and MIAs from the war in Southeast Asia. It is a compelling story laced with adventure. It also describes the incredible sacrifices that members of Joint Task Force Full Accounting (now the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command) and the Central Identification Laboratory Hawaii endure to find our missing heroes. I led my Investigation Team on fourteen expeditions to the remote and dangerous jungles of Laos and Cambodia. This was the location of the secret war of Vietnam. The shadow filled jungles where Green Berets led Prairie Fire Teams, and Navy, Air Force, and Marine pilots fought behind the scenes. Over 600 of the these heroes never came home. My Investigation Team of military experts searched these forgotten battlefields for our missing comrades - we found them - and we brought them home." David Combs.
A word from Ann Holland, wife of T/Sgt. Melvin Holland POW/MIA Lima Site 85 -- "Dave Combs, the team leader who went to Phou Pha Thi, has written a book about his time in JTFFA, searching for our POW/MIA's. It has been a long time since anything has affected me but him talking about his time on the mountain has. I would recommend it to be mentioned Bits and Pieces. I think that other family members might like to read it."
To Order visit Amazon.com
"Is Anybody Listening"
by Barbara Birchim, wife of POW/MIA Jim Birchim with Sue Clark
From AuthorHouse.com - " Thirty-five long years and I was still seeking answers. If I could make someone in the government listen to the facts, I knew they'd want to act on them. After all, who wouldn't want to find one of our POW/MIAs from the Vietnam War?"
"IS ANYBODY LISTENING? tells of dignitaries, presidents and those involved with the POW/MIA issue as I've known it since November 1968 when my husband, a Special Forces officer, became missing-in-action."
"The pages reveal my feelings and torment during my many trips to Southeast Asia in search of answers, and my frustrations while wandering the halls of Washington D.C. for help."
"The book was written to show the issue's insidious cover-up and my commitment to the truth
The Flag: My Story : Kidnapped by Red China
by Steven E. Kiba
THE FLAG is the true story about Steve Kiba, Radio Operator on an unarmed B-29 during the Korean War. He graphically details the horrors that began with his being shot down over North Korea and being captured and ended almost 32 months later with his release from a political prison in Peking, Red China.
Steve vividly takes us from prison to prison on a "virtual reality" journey through the Red Chinese gulag system. He shares his feelings of fear, anxiety, frustration, despair, abandonment, and hopelessness. His story allows us to endure vicariously the POW/MIA experience: unending hours of solitary, excruciating pain of seemingly endless interrogation and re-education sessions, the constant pain of hunger and unquenched thirst, and the devastating effects of prolonged sleep deprivation.
Coupled with the pain of deprivation, we share his physical, emotional, and mental distress of living in utter filth, being denied even the most basic sanitary and hygienic needs, being daily threatened never to be released, and suffering the continuous barrage of false accusations: violating Red Chinese airspace, working for the CIA, and engaging in germ warfare.
In a showcase kangaroo trial on October 10, 1954, Steve and the other crew members of B-29 Stardust Four Zero were judged guilty of war crimes; on November 23rd., they were sentenced to prison terms ranging from four years for the enlisted airmen to ten years for Colonel Arnold. The other officers' terms ranged from five to eight years.
by Michael Sledge
From Columbia University Press -- "Skillfully incorporating excerpts from interviews, personal correspondence and diaries, military records, and journalistic accounts -- as well as never-before published photographs and his own reflections -- Michael Sledge presents a clear concise, and compassionate story about what the dead mean to the living.
Though out Soldier Dead, the voices of the fallen are heard, as are those of the family members and military personnel responsible for the dead before final disposition. At times disturbing and at other times encouraging, they are always powerful as they speak of danger, duty, courage, commitment and care."
Rescue 007: The Untold Story of KAL 007 and Its Survivors
by Bert Schlossberg
One of the greatest and most poignant mysteries surrounding the downing of KAL 007 is summed up in the question, "Where are the bodies?"
This question haunted friends and family members from the very first day. We believe, of course, that there were no bodies because the passengers were taken before the plane was destroyed. There is no other answer. The following excerpt from Rescue 007: The Untold Story of KAL 007 and Its Survivors compares this air disaster with others that followed it through the years, including the space shuttle Challenger and TWA Flight 800. In all cases bodies, luggage and wreckage were recovered in great quantities. With both the Challenger and TWA 800, all bodies were recovered. To the list included in this excerpt, we may now add the recent tragic destruction of the space shuttle Columbia at the great altitude of over 200,000 feet. From this accident, debris scattered over hundreds of square miles, including body parts and a video tape recorded minutes before the tragedy, have been recovered.
Why nothing from KAL 007?
Soldiers of Misfortune
By Mark Sauter, James Sanders, and R. Cort Kirkwood
"A fascinating and illuminating tome. This is a gold mine of information on past Soviet behavior, or better, misbehavior."
Malcolm Toon, former Chairman of the U.S. Russian Joint Commission on POW/MIAs and former Ambassador to the Soviet Union
"This book should be read not only by the American people but by every government official. Much of the information on World War II and Korea has never been published.... it is voluminous and astounding"
John Miller, former Congressmen and Member of the U.S./Russian Joint Commission on POW/MIAs
"Soldiers of Misfortune is the outrageous and compelling story of thousands of American POW's held captive by the Soviet Union and of the U.S. government officials, who lied on the most disgraceful cover-up in American history." Note: On Feb. 11, 2005 the American investigative arm of the U.S./Russian Joint Commission on POW/MIAs issued their 5th Edition of the Gulag Study and concluded; "Americans, including American servicemen, were imprisoned in the former Soviet Union . . . "
To view the Gulag Study 5th Edition click here
To order Soldiers of Misfortune visit Amazon.com
By Dr. Joseph Douglass Jr., PhD,
"Over 30,000 American POW/MIAs were left behind following WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and the Cold War. American officials abandoned the men rather than confront the Communists who held them captive. This was done as a matter of policy. As one White House staff officer testified, "We couldn't put pressure on the Soviet Union -- they had our prisoners and we couldn't put pressure on them-- Our policy forbid us from doing it."
"Many of the men, the lucky ones, ended up in slave labor camps. The rest were tortured to death or used as human guinea pigs in ghastly medical experiments involving radiation and chemical and biological warfare agents. When there was nothing left of their bodies or minds worth testing, they were killed and their remains, cremated so that no one would ever learn what happened."
"Betrayed is the story of these war crimes and atrocities as told by a top Communist official who monitored much of the operation. Betrayed presents an inside view of the plans behind their capture and use as guinea pigs. Betrayed also examines what our leaders knew, the people who made the decision to abandoned the American captives, and the extensive efforts that were later taken to hide what had been done."
"For over eighty years there has been a conspiracy of silence to hide the crimes of the Communists. Betrayed is a unique effort to begin penetrating the Communist secrets that were never supposed to see the light of day."
To Order visit Amazon.com
Leave No Man Behind
By Garnett "Bill" Bell and George J. Veith
"The Vietnam War's POW/MIA issue has haunted America since the early stages of the war. Shrouded in controversy, a subject of great emotion amid charges of governmental conspiracy and Communist deceit, the possibility of American servicemen being held in secret captivity after the war's end has influenced U.S. policy toward Southeast Asia for three decades. Now, the first chief of the U.S. POW/MIA office in postwar Vietnam provides an insider's account of that effort. In an illuminating and deeply personal memoir, the government's top POW/MIA field investigator discusses the history of the search for missing Americans, reveals how the Communist Vietnamese stonewalled U.S. efforts to discover the truth, and how the standards for MIA case investigations were gradually lowered while pressure for expanded commercial and economic ties with communist Vietnam increased. Leave No Man Behind is the compelling story of one man's quest, at great individual cost, to find the truth about America's missing in action from the Vietnam War."
One Day too Long
By Dr. Timothy Castle
"One legacy to the Vietnam War is a painful lesson in how not to wage war. The incident at the heart of One Day Too Long reveals in microcosm what went wrong in Vietnam, from the highest policy-making levels down the chain of command to what actually transpired on the field."
"On March 10, 1968, at the height of the war, eleven U.S. servicemen disappeared from a top-secret radar base in Laos, their loss never fully explained by the American government. What happened that fateful night, and why were American airmen stationed at "Lima Site 85"? Now, thirty years later, One Day Too Long recounts the harrowing story -- of government cover-ups, military miscalculations, and crucial policy errors -- and offers some measure of closure on this decades old mystery." "Because of the covert nature of the mission at Lima Site 85 - providing bombing instructions to U.S. Air Force tactical aircraft from the "safe harbor" of a nation that was supposedly neutral - the wives of the eleven servicemen were warned in no uncertain terms never to discuss the truth about their husbands' assignment. But one, Ann Holland, refused to remains silent. Timothy Castle draws on her personal records and recollections and upon a wealth of interviews with surviving servicemen and recently declassified information to tell the full story."
by John M.G. Brown
"Moscow Bound is the most thoroughly documented and comprehensive book ever written on the subject of American and Allied prisoners of war who disappeared in Soviet captivity from he time of the 1918 Allied intervention in Russia to the Vietnam War."
"It is the result of a ten-year investigation that extended from CIA, White House, State Department, and Pentagon offices, to military and intelligence files in the National Archives, and the hearing rooms o the U.S. Congress...."
"Moscow Bound documents how, following World war I and World War II, the secret withholding of U.S. prisoner of war by Lenin and Stalin was not revealed to the American people, to avoid prolonged warfare that would have resulted in may more casualties. The classified information about the missing American and Allied prisoners of two world wars constituted a hidden history of U.S. - Soviet relations..."