Vietnam War Bibliography:

POW and MIA

Tom Abraham, The Cage. London: Bantam, 2002. 310 pp. Abraham, an Englishman who immigrated to the United States and joined the Army in 1966, did serve as an officer in the 1st Cavalry Division (apparently in the 5/7 Cavalry, though I have seen an account stating it was the 1/7 Cavalry) in Vietnam in 1967 and 1968. But the central piece of his book, a story of his having been captured by the enemy during the Tet Offensive and later escaped, has been denounced convincingly as false, and there are other inaccuracies. See Jonathan Sale, Tania Branigan, and Andrew Clennell, "US Claims Briton's Vietnam Tale a Fraud," The Guardian, November 20, 2002; also an item on Joe Schlatter's MIA Facts web site, Tom Abraham: His Claims vs. The Facts.

Michael Joe Allen, "'The War's Not Over Until the Last Man Comes Home': Body Recovery and the Vietnam War." Ph.D. dissertation, History, Northwestern University, 2003. xv, 521 pp. AAT 3118505. The text is available online if you are browsing the Internet through an institution that has paid for a subscription to ProQuest Dissertations and Theses.

Michael J. Allen, Until The Last Man Comes Home: POWs, MIAs, and the Unending Vietnam War. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009. 433 pp.

Frank Anton, Why Didn't You Get Me Out? Summit, TX: Summit, 1997. Anton was captured when a helicopter went down, and was held in the camp where Robert Garwood was. He believes the US knew where the camp was but did not attempt a rescue mission, and that POWs continued to be held after 1973.

Lawrence R. Bailey, Jr., with Ron Martz, Solitary Survivor: The First American POW in Southeast Asia. Washington: Brassey's, 1995.  xxi, 214 pp.  Foreword by Newt Gingrich.  Bailey, an Army major and military attache in Laos, was captured when a C-47, doing a photo-reconnaissance and ELINT flight over the Plain of Jars, was shot down March 23, 1961.  He was released in August 1962.

Jim Belshaw, "Looking for Old Friends." VVA Veteran, 19:2/3 (February/March 1999), pp. 20-23. The search for the men MIA from the battles at Ngok Tavak and Kham Duc, May 1968.

Scott Blakey, Prisoner at War: The Survival of Commander Richard A. Stratton. New York: Doubleday, 1978.

Ernest C. Brace, A Code to Keep: The True Story of America's Longest-held Civilian Prisoner of War in Vietnam. New York: St. Martin's, 1988.  A pilot for Bird & Son, captured in Laos in 1965, Brace was a prisoner in Laos and North Vietnam until 1973.

B. G. Burkett and Glenna Whitley, Stolen Valor: How the Vietnam Generation Was Robbed of its Heroes and its History. Dallas: Verity Press, 1998. xxvii, 692 pp. Contains some useful information about men who have falsely claimed to have been prisoners of war in Vietnam.

Central Intelligence Agency CIA-750161-200A, 37, "The Responsitilities of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam Intelligence and Security Services in the Exploitation of American Prisoners of War." 1975. 45 pp.

Robert G. Certain, Unchained Eagle: From Prisoner of War to Prisoner of Christ. Palm Springs, CA: ETC Publications, 2003. ix, 320 pp. Certain was on a B-52 shot down in December 1972, presumably in Linebacker II.

Douglas L. Clarke, The Missing Man: Politics and the MIA. Washington, D.C.: National Defense University Press, 1979. xii, 121 pp. The author is or was a US Navy Captain.

Gerald Coffee, Beyond Survival: Building on the Hard Times--A POW's Inspiring Story. New York: Putnam's, 1990. 287 pp. Also: Aiea, Hawaii: Coffee Enterprises, 1990. 287 pp. Paperback: Beyond Survival: A POW's Inspiring Lesson in Living. New York: Berkley, 1990. 305 pp. Coffee, a Navy lieutenant flying a Vigilante photo reconnaissance plane off the Kitty Hawk, was shot down not far from Vinh on February 3, 1966.

Robert Coram, American Patriot: The Life and Wars of Colonel Bud Day. Boston: Little, Brown, 2007. 402 pp. Major George "Bud" Day was shot down in the DRV Panhandle 26 August 1967, escaped, managed to get south of the DMZ before being recaptured and taken north. Severely tortured. Won the Medal of Honor. After the war, took a hard line on prisoners who had cooperated. Also hostile to McCain and Kerry.

James A. Daly and Lee Bergman, A Hero's Welcome.  Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1975.  Re-issued as Black Prisoner of War: A Conscientious Objector's Vietnam Memoir.  Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2000.  312 pp.  Daly, an Army private, was black and a conscientious objector who had never used a weapon in combat.  He was captured in South Vietnam in January 1968.  After his release in 1973, he was charged with having collaborated with the enemy while a prisoner.

Defense Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Office, "Preliminary Analysis of the 735 Document Received from the Russians on September 2, 1993." September 10, 1993. 4 pp. The text of this analysis, and The text of the actual "735 Document" in an English translation probably done by the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Office, have been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University.

Jeremiah A. Denton, with Ed Brandt, When Hell was in Session. New York: Reader's Digest Press (distributed by Crowell), 1976. x, 246 pp. Los Angeles, CA: WND Books, 2009. 288 pp. Denton, a Navy pilot shot down in 1965 and held prisoner until 1973, later became a U.S. Senator.

Kevin Dockery, Operation Thunderhead: The True Story of Vietnam's Final POW Rescue Mission--and the Last Navy SEAL Killed in Country. New York: Berkley Caliber, 2008. viii, 294 pp. Mostly deals with the persistent efforts of John Dramesi (see below) to escape captivity in North Vietnam. In June 1972, Lt. Melvin Dry was killed during an effort to position Navy SEALs to assist in one of Dramesi's escape plans.

Robert C. Doyle, Voices from Captivity: Interpreting the American POW Narrative. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1994. xiii, 370 pp. Not just Vietnam.

John A. Dramesi, Code of Honor. New York: Norton, 1975. 271 pp. Dramesi was a USAF pilot shot down in 1967, who twice escaped and was recaptured.

Thomas E. Erstfeld, "Recovering and Accounting for Prisoners of War and Missing Personnel." Joint Force Quarterly, no. 30 (Spring 2002), pp. 82-88.

Richard A. Falk, "International Law Aspects of Repatriation of Prisoners of War During Hostilities." The American Journal of International Law 67:3 (July 1973), pp. 465-478. If you browse the Internet through an institution that has subscribed to JSTOR, you can access the text directly, and also A Reply by Howard S. Levie, in 67:4 (October 1973), pp. 693-710, or go through the JSTOR American Journal of International Law browse page.

H. Bruce Franklin, M.I.A. or Mythmaking in America. Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books, 1992. pb New Brunswick NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1993, xvii, 252 pp. A bit strident in his antiwar sentiments, and sometimes careless with facts on peripheral issues, Franklin is still convincing on his central argument: that the idea of Americans still being held prisoner in Indochina after 1973 is myth.

John Gargus, The Son Tay Raid: American POWs in Vietnam Were Not Forgotten. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2007. xv, 332 pp. Gargus was involved in the planning for the mission, and then flew as lead navigator.

Robert Garwood, deposition by the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs, 1992. Private Garwood was captured in September 1965; after his return to the US in 1979 he was accused of having collaborated with the enemy. Portions of his deposition have been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University, in multiple parts, with many pages missing and some scanned repeatedly: scattered pages (most pages missing) between p. 87 and p. 169; pp. 178-197, . . . pp. 186-236 (with a few pages missing), . . . pp. 315-363, . . .

Zalin Grant, Survivors. New York: Norton, 1975. 345 pp. New York: Berkley, 1985. 324 pp. Reissued with a new introduction by the author: New York: Da Capo, 1994. xi, 345 pp. Nine Americans caputured by enemy forces January to March 1968, eight in I Corps and one in Laos, held until 1973.

Winston Groom & Duncan Spencer, Conversations with the Enemy: The Story of PFC Robert Garwood. New York: Putnam, 1983. 411 pp. Garwood was captured in September 1965; after his return to the US in 1979 he was accused of having collaborated with the enemy.

Evelyn Grubb and Carol Jose, You Are Not Forgotten: A Family's Quest for Truth and the Founding of the National League of Families. Vandamere, 2008. 360 pp. Evelyn Grubb, wife of a pilot shot down in North Vietnam in 1966, was a founding member of the National League of Families of American Prisoners in Southeast Asia in 1969, and later a leader of the organization.

Elliott Gruner, Prisoners of Culture: Representing the Vietnam P.O.W. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1993. x, 245 pp. Gruner is a Special Forces officer on the faculty of USMA West Point. He writes about images and myths of POWs.

Larry Guarino, A POW's Story: 2801 Days in Hanoi. New York: Ivy Books, 1990. 3341 pp. A USAF pilot who was shot down in June 1965.

Thomas M. Hawley, "Practices of Materialization: Bodies, Politics, and the Search for American Soldiers Missing in Action in Vietnam." Ph.D. dissertation, Political Science, University of Hawaii, 2001. 338 pp. AAT 3017399.

Thomas M. Hawley, The Remains of War: Bodies, Politics, and the Search for American Soldiers Unaccounted For in Southeast Asia. Durham: Duke University Press, 2005. xii, 282 pp.

James and Marti Hefley, No Time for Tombstones: Life and Death in the Vietnamese Jungle. Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House, 1974. vii, 125 pp. About two missionaries and a USAID worker who were captured in the Central Highlands early 1968. Only the USAID worker survived.

Bill Hendon, "Cold Case." VVA Veteran, 29:1 (January/February 2009). (See also letters in issue 29:2 [March/April 2009], p. 6, criticizing Hendon's piece.)

Bill Hendon and Elizabeth A. Stewart, An Enormous Crime: The Definitive Account of American POWs Abandoned in Southeast Asia. New York: Thomas Dunne Books (St. Martin's), 2008. xvii, 587 pp. The thesis seems unlikely.

James S. Hirsch, Two Souls Indivisible: The Friendship that Saved Two POWs in Vietnam. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2004. 228 pp. The story of Air Force Major Fred Cherry (a black pilot) and Navy Lt. (j.g.) Porter Halyburton, POWs from 1965 to 1973.

Craig Howes, Voices of the Vietnam POWs: Witnesses to their Fight. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993. vi, 295 pp.

John G. Hubbell, P.O.W.: A Definitive History of the American Prisoner-of-War Experience in Vietnam, 1964-1973. New York: Reader's Digest Press, 1976. xiii, 633 pp.

David C. Isby, Leave No Man Behind: Liberation and Capture Missions. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2004. 416 pp. pb London: Cassell, 2005. 414 pp. One chapter is on the Son Tay rescue mission of 1970, and another is on the Mayaguez rescue mission of 1975.

Jay R. Jensen, Six Years in Hell. Bountiful, Utah: Horizon, 1989.

Monika Jensen-Stevenson & William H. Stevenson, Kiss the Boys Goodbye: How the United States Betrayed its own POWs in Vietnam. New York: Dutton, 1990. x, 493 pp. The thesis seems implausible.

Susan K. Keating, Prisoners of Hope: Exploiting the POW/MIA Myth in America. New York: Random House, 1994. xxii, 276 pp.

Lt. Col. Joseph B. Kelly, USA, Ret., "PWs as War Criminals." Military Review, January 1972 (vol. LII, no. 1), pp. 91-96. Historical perspective on the DRV's labelling of American POWs as war criminals.

Arnold Krammer, Prisoners of War: A Reference Handbook. Westport, CT: Praeger Security International, 2008. 192 pp. This is supposed to be a very good short history of the long-term evolution of law and actual behavior in the treatment of prisoners of war. Not specifically about Vietnam, but relevant as background.

Jeanne M. Lesinski, MIAs: A Reference Handbook. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 1998. xvi, 238 pp.

The Library of Congress has made available online a number of collections of relevant documents.

Perry D. Luckett and Charles L. Byler, Tempered Steel: The Three Wars of Triple Air Force Cross Winner Jim Kasler. Potomac Books, 2005. 271 pp. Kasler, who had become an ace in Korea, was with the 354th Tactical Fighter Squadron, flying F-105s from Takhli, from February 1966 until he was shot down in August. He was a POW until 1973.

John McCain, with Mark Salter, Faith of My Fathers: A Family Memoir. New York: Random House, 1999. xi, 349 pp. McCain, a Navy pilot, was shot down over Hanoi October 26, 1967, and was a POW until 1973.

John S. McCain, "How the POW's Fought Back." U.S. News & World Report, May 14, 1973, pp. 46-52, 110-115. McCain's account of his captivity in Hanoi from 1967 to 1973. It has often been falsely said that in this article, McCain said that his captors had used John Kerry's anti-war statements as a propaganda weapons against POWs. McCain said nothing about Kerry in the article, and when asked in 2004, said that he had not heard Kerry's name during the years of his captivity. See Media Matters for America. The inaccurate stories about the article were widely circulated in a nationally syndicated column by Cal Thomas, dated August 9, 2004, but they had originated months earlier, at least as early as February, as an Internet rumor.

Malcolm McConnell, Inside Hanoi's Secret Archives: Solving the MIA Mystery. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995. 462 pp. Said to have been based on four years of research done by Theodore Schweitzer in Vietnam.

Norman A. McDaniel, Yet Another Voice. New York: Hawthorn, 1975. viii, 114 pp. McDaniel was shot down in North Vietnam in July 1966.

Eddie Morin, "First to Escape." Vietnam Magazine, June 2000, pp. 30-36. Special Forces Sergeant Isaac Camacho was captured inf November 22 1963, when Special Forces Camp A-311, in Hau Nghia province, was overrun. He escaped in July 1965. 114 pp. A black USAF officer shot down over North Vietnam in 1966.

James A. Mulligan, The Hanoi Commitment. Virginia Beach, VA: RIF Marketing, 1981. Captain Mulligan, a Navy pilot, was shot down over North Vietnam in March 1966.

Spike Nasmyth, 2355 Days: A POW's Story. Three Rivers Press, 2001. 292 pp. John H. Nasmyth, an Air Force lieutenant, was captured in September 1966.

Tom Philpott, Glory Denied: The Saga of Jim Thompson, America's Longest-Held Prisoner of War. New York: Norton, 2001. 480 pp. Foreword by Senator John McCain. Captain Floyd James "Jim" Tompson, of Special Forces, was captured near the DMZ March 26, 1964. He had a very rough time both in captivity and in the United States after his 1973 release. Transcript of Philpott's extended discussion of his book on the C-SPAN show "Booknotes," August 5, 2001.

Charlie Plumb, I'm No Hero: A POW Story as told to Glen DeWerf. Independence, MO: Independence Press, 1973. 287 pp.

Merle L. Pribbenow, "Who Interrogated American Electronic Warfare Specialists in North Vietnam During the War? The Riddle of the The Task Force Russia 294 Report." Washington Decoded, 11 December 2014.

Donald L. Price, The First Marine Captured in Vietnam: A Biography of Donald G. Cook. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2007. 334 pp. Captain Donald Cook was captured December 31, 1964, in the Battle of Binh Gia. He was advising an RVN Marine unit. He died in captivity; he was later awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions while a POW.

Robinson Risner, The Passing of the Night: My Seven Years as a Prisoner of the North Vietnamese. New York: Random House, 1973. vii, 264 pp.

Glenn Robbins, The Longest Rescue: The Life and Legacy of Vietnam POW William A. Robinson. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2013. xiii, 259 pp. Robinson, a crew member on an Air Force rescue helicopter, was shot down September 20, 1965, and held until 1973.

Melissa B. Robinson and Maureen Dunn, The Search for Canasta 404: Love, Loss, and the POW/MIA Movement. Boston: Northeastern University Press/Hanover, New Hampshire: University Press of New England, 2006. 233 pp. Lt. Joe Dunn, USN, flying an A-H Skyraider, strayed into Chinese airspace and was shot down February 14, 1968.

Stuart I. Rochester and Frederick Kiley, Honor Bound: American Prisoners of War in Southeast Asia, 1961-1973. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1999. xvii, 706 pp. Reprint of a quite important book originally published for the Defense Department by the U.S. Goverment Printing Office, in 1998.

Stephen A. Rowan, They Wouldn't Let Us Die: THe Prisoners of War Tell Their Story. Middle Village, NY: Jonathan David Publishers, 1973. 252 pp.

Major James N. Rowe, Five Years to Freedom. Boston: Little, Brown, 1971. 467 pp. The author, a member of the Special Forces, escaped after five years as a POW.

Howard & Phyllis Rutledge, In the Presence of Mine Enemies: 1965-1973. Revell, 1973.

Aurora Sanchez-Anguiano, "Psychological Effects of Captivity among United States Navy Aviators, Vietnam: A Longitudinal Study, 1974-1997." Ph.D. dissertation, (Clinical Psychology?), University of South Florida, 1999. 187 pp. AAT 9922453.

Mark Sauter & Jim Sanders, The Men We Left Behind: Henry Kissinger, the Politics of Deceit and the Tragic Fate of POWs After the Vietnam War. Washington: National Press, 1993. 394 pp. I am dubious.

Benjamin F. Schemmer, The Raid. New York: Harper & Row, 1976. x, 326 pp. The raid by U.S. forces November 21, 1970, on Son Tay prison near Hanoi, where U.S. prisoners of war were believed to be being held. It failed because the prisoners had all been moved elsewhere. A Vietnamese translation, which I believe was first published in Hanoi by the Public Security Publishing House in the 1980s, has recently been reprinted: Vu tap kich Son Tay. Hanoi: NXB Cong An Nhan Dan, 2005. 364 pp.

Monika Schwinn and Bernhard Diehl, We Came to Help. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1976. xi, 258 pp. German original Eine Handvoll Menschlichkeit, Munich and Zurich: Droemer-Knaur, 1973. 302 pp. Two German nurses who were captured by the Viet Cong and ended up being treated as POWs.

George E. Smith, P.O.W.: Two Years with the Vietcong. Berkeley: Ramparts Press, 1971. 304 pp. Introduction and Epilogue by Donald Duncan. Reputed to be more favorable to the Communists than is usual in POW memoirs.

Col. Philip E. Smith & Peggy Herz, Journey into Darkness.  New York: Pocket Books, 1992.  xii, 271 pp.  As a result of multiple malfunctions of navigation equipment in his F-104, Smith found himself over the coast of Hainan on September 20, 1965, where he was shot down by a Chinese MiG.  He was a prisoner in China until 1973.

Lewis M. Stern, Imprisoned or Missing in Vietnam: Policies of the Vietnamese Government Toward Captured and Detained United States Soldiers, 1969-1994. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1995. xi, 191 pp.

Jim and Sybil Stockdale, In Love and War. New York: Harper & Row, 1984. viii, 472 pp. Revised and expanded edition: Annapolis: U.S. Naval Institute, 1990. viii, 523 pp. James Stockdale, a senior U.S. Navy pilot shot down in 1965, won the Medal of Honor for his actions as a POW in North Vietnam. His wife Sybil was a leader of the League of POW/MIA families.

Louis R. Stockstill, "The Forgotten Americans of the Vietnam War ". Air Force and Space Digest, 52:10 (October 1969).

Earl Swift, Where they Lay: The Search for America's Lost Soldiers. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2003. 307 pp. Centers on an excavation in 2001 searching for the remains of the crew of a helicopter that went down in Laos March 20, 1971.

William C. Thomas, "Operation Kingpin: Success or Failure?" Joint Force Quarterly, no. 15 (Spring 1997), pp. 120-124. The raid by U.S. forces November 21, 1970, on Son Tay prison near Hanoi, where U.S. prisoners of war were believed to be being held. It failed because the prisoners had all been moved elsewhere.

Alvin Townley, Defiant: The POWs Who Endured Vietnam's Most Infamous Prison, the Women Who Fought for Them, and the One Who Never Returned. New York: Thomas Dunne Books (St. Martin's), 2014. 418 pp.

George J. Veith, Code-Name Bright Light: The Untold Story of U.S. POW Rescue Efforts During the Vietnam War. New York: The Free Press, 1998. xx, 408 pp. Based on massive research, but the quality of the analysis has been questioned.

 

See two U.S. Army manuals available online, the second of which contains the full text of the 1949 Geneva Convention on the treatment of prisoners of war.

Congressional Committee Documentation: POW/MIA

Defense Department Publications: POW/MIA

CIA Publications: POW/MIA

National Archives reference paper on U.S. records: POW/MIA

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Copyright © 1996, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014, Edwin E. Moise. This document may be reproduced only by permission. Revised December 19, 2014.