Reading and learning are two of my passions and it is my pleasure to share these books with you.I have read them all and have found them to be both insightful and engaging. I encourage your feedback and I hope that you enjoy them as much as I did.
Maj Chris Buckham
Risner has written a book outlining his experiences as a prisoner during the
Vietnam war from 1965 until 1972. He commences with an outline of his
experiences leading up to his air operations in Vietnam. He commenced
operational flying in WW2 and became an ace during the Korean conflict. In the
process, he marries and has a family of five children.While his writing is rather cursory over this
period, it does set the tone of his personality and approach prior to his
vast majority of this book is focused upon his time as a prisoner of the
Vietnamese and it is in this area that the book serves as an excellent
educational tool for those who find themselves on the wrong side of the lines.
Aircrew have the dubious distinction of projecting force far behind enemy lines
and are therefore at a higher risk of capture. It is therefore, critical that
they be exposed to the potential challenges that they may face at the hands of
a determined enemy intelligence service.
writing is very direct and matter of fact. He presents his captors and their
actions in a rather formal manner that is surprisingly effective in conveying
the horror that they inflicted upon their prisoners. The methods that the
Vietnamese used, including sleep deprivation, physical torture, psychological
trauma, isolation, denial of rations and control of access to mail, are classic
methods used to break prisoners and make them amenable to exploitation for
propaganda and intelligence purposes. Risner’s book provides an outstanding
guide to those going into harm’s way of why they need to be prepared through
realistic training on what might lie ahead.
also goes into great detail on how he and the other prisoners handled the
stresses of captivity. Maintenance of the command structure within the prison,
communication via morse code and other means, mutual support and creation of a
means to advised new prisoners on what to expect were critical to morale.
Additionally, he speaks to the issue of knowing when and how to ‘give in’ to
the captors demands. For a military prisoner, it is anathema to provide
assistance and information to the enemy and psychologically traumatizing to
‘break’. Risner, acknowledges this and the fact that everyone has their limits;
he writes how he came to grips with this himself and how he, and the other
prisoners, helped those who faced this challenge to understand that it was not
wrong. He also provided direction on when it was acceptable to cooperate and in
what capacity. All of this is both critical and relevant to soldiers
liked this book; it is honest and engaging. The writing is clear and direct.
The books purpose is really focused on his internment and how he dealt with it.
He doesn’t speak extensively on his return and efforts at reintegration into US
society and the impact that this had on his family in any real detail. As
previously stated, the strength of the book is shedding light on the strength
of the human spirit and how one can overcome adversity under conditions that