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Hero Found: The Greatest POW Escape of the…

Hero Found: The Greatest POW Escape of the Vietnam War

by Bruce Henderson

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At first, the exposition seems overwhelmingly lengthy (Who expects a Vietnam War story to begin in Germany during World War II?), but the more I read the more I understood how important it is to the story and to understanding Dieter's character and motivations. Well told, and well read. A gripping piece of non-fiction. ( )
  SandSing7 | Mar 4, 2013 |
Dieter's story of survival in the jungles of Laos was a gripping tale to say the least. As a former Army Vietnam veteran myself, I was intrigued by all the goings-on of an aircraft carrier and have to admit that while reading Bruce Henderson's story of Dieter Dengler, I found the book to be an enjoyable learning experience for me. I was especially taken back when there was mention about a fellow pilot of Dieter's, Donald Woloczak, from Alpena, Michigan and how he became MIA during the war. You see, I have been wearing a bronze POW bracelet of Donald Woloczak for the last thirty years, and the information shared by the author was new and seemed to fill in the gaps.

I, too, was born in Germany, but six years after the end of WWII. However, I've seen the destruction of war and have heard similar war survival stories from my family in the old country - the experience matures you quickly.

As for the living conditions and treatment of Dieter and others during their captivity is beyond anything human. But one must do whatever is necessary in order to survive. The chase left me on the edge of my seat, wondering what would happen next. The scene of Dieter and his fellow POW running into the villager took my breath away. It was great that his escape from Laos was successful, but it appears that he could not escape from the tormenting in his head. Great job Bruce, and thank you for the education! Five Stars for Hero Found.

John Podlaski, author
Cherries - A Vietnam War Novel ( )
  JPodlaski | Nov 21, 2012 |
This is an extraordinary story, with tons of vignettes that many servicemen can relate to. The writing is tight, and direct making the story very interesting and easy to follow.

The author, Bruce Henderson, has done a remarkable job providing us insight into this hero's life. And I'm very grateful to learn about this man's life, and his background leading up to the main part of the book. ( )
  mjmbradley | Aug 12, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061571369, Hardcover)

In February 1966, Dieter Dengler was shot down over “neutral” Laos in territory controlled by Pathet Lao guerrillas and North Vietnamese regulars. After his capture, the German-born Dengler proved to be no ordinary prisoner. Already a legend in the navy for his unique escape skills, which he had demonstrated during survival training in the California desert, he found himself caught in a desperate situation, imprisoned by the enemy and by the jungle itself. Dengler's heroic impulse was to free not only himself but also other POWs—American, Thai, and Chinese—some of whom had been held for years. In a surreal scene of brotherhood and celebration, Dengler, nearly six months after being shot down, returned to his ship in the Gulf of Tonkin—emaciated and ravaged with tropical maladies, but alive and free.

Bruce Henderson served with Dengler aboard USS Ranger. In this gripping book, he tells the complete story for the first time, drawing on personal interviews with the intrepid pilot, his squadron mates, and his friends and family, as well as military archival materials—some never before made public—and letters and journals. Henderson's riveting account demonstrates why Dengler's story of unending optimism, innate courage, loyalty, and survival against overwhelming odds remains for his fellow flyers and shipmates the best and brightest memory of their generation's war.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:47 -0400)

Tells the true story of Navy pilot Dieter Dengler who led and organized an escape from a P.O.W. camp in the Laotian jungle and returned to his aircraft carrier, emaciated and ill, six months after being shot down.

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