SURVIVORS by Zalin Grant


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Grant weaves together interviews with nine Americans who were POWs in Vietnam, selecting his subjects from a group captured and held for three years in the South. The final third of the book deals with their transport to Hanoi and the treatment they received there. Accounts of pre-capture experiences give a fine picture of the senseless daily conduct of the war, its horror and futility. A three-year stay in jungle prison becomes a struggle for survival against disease, depression and malnutrition. Due to their devastating honesty, fascinating character studies emerge of men under constant and severe stress. The North Vietnamese used a classic carrot-and-stick approach to obtain signatures on antiwar material and cooperation in propaganda broadcasts. Warrant Officer Frank Anton says, ""The vast majority of POWs were guilty of violating the Code of Conduct. The ones who refused to give the North Vietnamese anything but name, rank and serial number didn't come home."" While most POWs came to oppose the war, few collaborated enthusiastically in exchange for favors. One of those who did, John Young, reveals much about himself in his contradictory and self-serving statements--as does Young's nemesis, Col. Ted Guy, who emerges as an archetypal military marionette, but also a brave man determined to organize the prisoners. An important addition to the literature of the Vietnam war.

Pub Date: Oct. 27th, 1975
ISBN: 0393335933
Publisher: Norton