When Dengler, a naturalized American of German birth, was shot down on his first flight over Laos in 1966, his first thoughts were of escape. He almost got away soon after his capture, but was found and transported to a prisoner of war camp. He finally escaped for good five months later, the only one of a group of American and Thai 'prisoners to survive the attempt. His story is full of the usual descriptions of jungle survival overlaid by a constant refrain of perseverance. But it might have escaped the predictability of the genre if he had kept it going. Upon his return to the U.S., he says, he married and got a job as an airplane mechanic; then his marriage collapsed and he was laid off his job twice. Dengler, however, adopts a light-hearted perspective on these events, leaving the impression that his Laotian travails did not fundamentally change his life. If that's true, then the only reason for this book is that Dengler was the first prisoner to escape from Southeast Asia. If it isn't, then the more interesting story got away.