Defiant The POWs Who Endured Vietnam's Most Infamous Prison, the Women Who Fought for Them, and the One Who Never Returned

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2014-02-04
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
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Winner of the Georgia Author of the Year Award in History

During the Vietnam War, hundreds of American prisoners-of-war faced years of brutal conditions and horrific torture at the hands of North Vietnamese guards and interrogators who ruthlessly plied them for military intelligence and propaganda. Determined to maintain their Code of Conduct, the POWs developed a powerful underground resistance. To quash it, their captors singled out its eleven leaders, Vietnam's own "dirty dozen," and banished them to an isolated jail that would become known as Alcatraz. None would leave its solitary cells and interrogation rooms unscathed; one would never return.

As these eleven men suffered in Hanoi, their wives at home launched an extraordinary campaign that would ultimately spark the nationwide POW/MIA movement. The members of these military families banded together and showed the courage not only to endure years of doubt about the fate of their husbands and fathers, but to bravely fight for their safe return. When the survivors of Alcatraz finally came home, one veteran would go on to receive the Medal of Honor, another would become a U.S. Senator, and a third still serves in the U.S. Congress.

A powerful story of survival and triumph, Alvin Townley's Defiant will inspire anyone wondering how courage, faith, and brotherhood can endure even in the darkest of situations.

Author Biography

ALVIN TOWNLEY is the author of Legacy of Honor, Spirit of Adventure, and Fly Navy.  He lives in his hometown of Atlanta, Georgia.  

Table of Contents


ix Epigraph

x Map of Hanoi Hilton

xi Map of Alcatraz

1 Prologue: A Dark Place

6 1. Black Sea and American Firepower

13 2. Welcome to the Hanoi Hilton

32 3. Dead or Alive?

47 4. I Submit

62 5. T-O- R-T- U-R- E

79 6. My Dearest Syb

84 7. Lord, I Just Need Your Help

98 8. I Love a Parade

110 9. Superman!

128 10. Your Adoring Husband

142 11. BACK US

160 12. A Snake You Can’t Kill

179 13. A Helluva Story

187 14. The Bad Camp

209 15. To Tell the World

226 16. We Will Break You Now

245 17. Blackmail

258 18. The Captain of My Soul

272 19. GBU

287 20. Mayday!

303 21. O Say Can You See?

322 22. Peace Is at Hand

332 23. God Bless America

352 Epilogue

363 Ac know ledg ments

367 Notes

393 Selected Bibliography

403 Photo Credits

405 Index

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