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M. I. A.:  Mythmaking in America.  How and why the belief in live POWs has possessed a nation.  By H. Bruce Franklin.

This is well-researched, logically presented book, and tells the truth.  However,  it has had considerable abuse heaped on it for two reasons.  The first is the author's undiluted anti-war posture.  Franklin does not hide his political views and that draws a lot of fire down on his position.  Second, is the fact that the author was involved in several "leftist" causes and groups, a fact that leads the MIA cult to brand him a "Communist."  None of this attack by the primitives dilutes the book.  His last chapter, which details events between 1991 and 1993, is worth the price of admission.

Franklin  hits several nails squarely on the head.  Let me quote from his preface:

"The prevailing conviction in the United States that American prisoners of war are still being held as captives in Indochina may be one of the strangest and most revealing beliefs in the world today. . . .

When I began investigating this belief in live POWs, I intended the results to be only a chapter in a book about how American culture shaped and was reshaped by the Vietnam War.  I had little sense of the breadth and depth of the faith, perhaps because it seemed so obviously irrational and related to an issue of such apparently minor significance compared to other effects of the war on both America and the nations of Indochina.

. . .

As I plunged into the literature of true belief, however, I received another shock:  it was thoroughly convincing -- to anyone unfamiliar with the actual history of the issue and unacquainted with minimal standards of research and documentation.  The belief in live POWs was based not just on political rhetoric, rumors, and the POW rescue movies, but also on a sizable body of books, pamphlets, and articles that had promulgated a coherent and superficially plausible pseudohistory compounded of self-deception, amateur research, anecdotes, half-truths, phony evidence, slick political and media manipulation, downright lies, and near-religious fervor. . . .

. . . Almost everything previously published on this subject, except for certain congressional and other official documents, has been aimed at proselytizing the POW/MIA creed.  Some of these works use documentation to enhance their credibility, but their notes usually turn out to refer almost entirely to secondary sources committed to their own views, hearsay, and other evidence not subject to independent corroboration. . . ."

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