WHEN HELL WAS IN SESSION by

WHEN HELL WAS IN SESSION

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This is the second account of prolonged imprisonment in North Vietnamese POW camps by a high-ranking conservative career officer. Of the two, Robinson Risner's The Passing of the Night (1974) is the more sympathetic and thoughtful. Like Risner, Denton was shot down during a bombing raid in 1965 and thereafter underwent hideous tortures, starvation, and solitary confinement. His physical ordeals just hardened his resolve and his loathing of his captors. Perhaps only a professional military mind could understand his obsession with the military Code of Conduct; as senior officer in the ""Hanoi Hilton,"" ""The Zoo,"" and other camps, he ordered the men to endure beatings, leg irons, and other horrors before giving the Vietnamese the most innocuous crumbs of hokey biographical information. Toughened by the opposition to ""heartless, mindless and Godless"" Communists, Denton hoped the US bombing raids would be stepped up--even though this invariably brought reprisals on the POWs. Released in '73, he was dismayed by the changes in America and certain that ""the war was won"" only to be ignominiously lost at the final moment by ""disunity and weakness in the national character."" No one could accuse Denton of weakness. A warrior who sees things in black and white, he is personally brave but politically blind--but then, to survive under such conditions it may be necessary to see your enemy as the Antichrist.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1976
Publisher: Reader's Digest--dist. by T. Y. Crowell