Prisoners and Missing From The
Anyone who researches the question of books written about prisoners and missing from Vietnam finds a number of volumes. I commend to you the books written by returned prisoners. My favorite is In Love and War by Admiral Jim Stockdale and Sybil Stockdale. There are lots of others.
Then, there are a number of books claiming that the U.S. government abandoned men in SEAsia, that there is a huge conspriacy going on to hide the fact, and you know the rest of the story. If you have read this far, you know my views on that nonsense. So, I will not waste my server space by listing those here.
The following four books are my recommendations for books regarding the MIA issue.
Few bookstores carry these books; you will probably have to special order them.
I have included on each page a link to Amazon.com that will allow you to read what
others have said about the books and, if you wish, to order the book online.
The best book about the experience of US POWs in Southeast Asia is Honor
Bound: American Prisoners of War in Southeast Asia, 1961 - 1973,
by Stuart I. Rochester and Frederick Kiley. I strongly recommend this book. It
is not easy to read -- it's 596 pages long, is detailed, and contains graphic descriptions
of the tortures and deprivations inflicted on US POWs in SEAsia. It is also a
soaring tribute to human courage and compassion. By clicking on the link, you will
go to Amazon.com where you can read a review and order the book if you wish.
There is another book that should be read by anyone who wants more background on how the Vietnam MIA issue took on the political stature it now has. The Missing Man: Politics and the MIA, by CAPT Douglas C. Clarke, U. S. Navy. Clarke points out, among other things, how the process of declaring a man missing, then presumed dead, is weighted in favor of a determination of missing. As a squadron commander in combat, Clarke was subject to the natural, human pressures to continue a man in missing status when, according to all evidence, the man died in his loss incident. Why? To keep the paycheck going to his wife and children, who often are personal friends of the men in the squadron.
For the longest time, this important book was out of print. I found a copy for sale on eBay. Now, the book is available for downloading FREE OF CHARGE. Thanks to an old associate, Bob DeStatte for calling this to my attention.
The Missing Man: Politics and the MIA, by CAPT Douglas C. Clarke, The National War College, 1979, 127 pp. Download free at http://oai.dtic.mil/oai/oai?verb=getRecord&metadataPrefix=html&identifier=ADA072495
Abstract : The thesis of this study is that the development of the MIA issue has been, and continues to be, inimical to the best interests of the United States, the missing men, and their families. It is clear that the Government has a responsibility to both the men and their families. Combat personnel should be assured that their families will not be placed in a limbo status for years should their death be undocumented. In the Vietnam war, the U.S. Government prolonged the grief of the MIA family, while substantially increasing the benefits paid to the MIA wife compared to the widow. These inequities do not cancel each other out, nor is either one justified. The matter of the missing men is an issue over which this government has little control, and as such, reduces American flexibility in dealing with Vietnam. Also, by creating expectations and demands that could never be met, the United States has caused a bitterness toward the government by a small but significant number of American citizens. Finally, in the course of attempting to resolve this issue, a U.S. President promised an economic commitment that he knew could not be met. This action unnecessarily complicated future American-Vietnamese relationships, while reducing the stature of the Presidency and the credibility of American promises.
Click on the icon to go to Amazon.com.