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Black Prisoner of War: A Conscientious Objector's Vietnam Memoir Paperback – October 20, 2000

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Product Details

  • Series: Modern War Studies
  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas; 1ST edition (October 20, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 070061060X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0700610600
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,354,250 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"An honest and moving account." -- Christian Science Monitor

From the Back Cover

"A fascinating memoir that offers a unique perspective on events that have been contested in American culture for decades. . . . An astonishing treasure chest filled with priceless gems of insight."--H. Bruce Franklin, author of M.I.A.: Mythmaking in America

"An important account that illustrates the profound moral, ethical, and intellectual dilemmas faced by many of the young men of Daly's generation."--James E. Westheider, author of Fighting on Two Fronts: African Americans and the Vietnam War

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Smoten on February 19, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book was not worth reading under its 1975 incarnation and is even less so now. All the factual inaccuracies and mis-spellings seem to have survived intact and so has Mr. Daly's boring justification of the unjustifiable, namely why he completely sold out both friends and country while he was a P.O.W. during the Vietnam War.
On one level it's easy enough to empathize with Mr. Daly, an unsophisticated, religious young man, a conscientious objector, who was tricked into joining the army by the promise of a non-combat assignment. Mr. Daly promptly found himself in a rifle company in Vietnam where he was soon taken prisoner and held for several years in the hellish jungle camps run by the Viet Cong, suffering incalculable deprivations and abuse; all American P.O.W.'s did. However, Mr. Daly lost any claim to legitimate conscientious objector status the day he signed a letter written by another member of the infamous "Peace Committee" that asked his Vietnamese captors for the right to join the North Vietnamese Army. He did this not in the jungle but in one of the camps in Hanoi, where he was already currying favor with the NVA by writing and broadcasting anti-American propaganda. In return for these and other actions Mr. Daly and the other members of the PC, always few in number, were accorded special, more lenient treatment. The criminal charges that were brought against Mr. Daly and all other members of the PC after repatriation were dropped when one of their number committed suicide rather than face his imminent trial; none were "acquitted" as the book's jacket states. Rather, Mr. Daly and the others were given a pass on their dishonorable actions in an effort to begin healing the country's wounds from a long and pointless war.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Brian Carland on August 8, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Daly's memoir is an important contribution to the literature of the Vietnam War. I'm a Vietnam Vet who doesn't believe that my experience was universal, so I won't judge Daly, question his motives, or his honesty. The reader should understand that Daly is giving his experience, and his inner reaction to it, and not trying to write a history. The is writing style is simple and straightforward,creating a very readable memoir. Co-author Lee Bergman deserves a lot of credit for helping craft this book in a way that acceptable to both scholars and the general reading public, yet lets Daly's personality come through clearly and strongly.

Those Veterans who suffer from the effects of Agent Orange will be interested to read Daly's account of being sprayed by US aircraft as they defoliated the rice fields around his POW camp in South Vietnam. He could smell, and actually taste the stuff. It should come as no surprise to them that he died in his 50's from complications of his resultant severe diabetes. That we unwittingly killed our own should give us all reason to question the wisdom of war. Any war.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Joseph M. Kralich on April 5, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book can be rated fairly only as what it is: a very rare narrative from a soldier who had a unique (but not unpredictable) experience. It should be available to all historians of American and Vietnam studies as a view that opens other doors: the events and background that made PFC Daily react as he did. The Army did not well train all soldiers and the 1960's were a very personal journey for all. Daily by his own words was lost before he was captured;lost inside and in society. America let the standard for soldiers slip rather than just this single soldier who was failed by his officer corps and country. I judge a veteran by how he views himself: as a part of a unit better said a family or otherwise. Daily is the failed soldier. I wonder if anything was changed from the first edition? I doubt his exact words were used...........
The entire issue of Officer versus Enlisted POW is truly not well applied in a review of this book and should be studied in other places...3 stars for historical importance and less than one as a reading experience and my regret that the author was not better guided in the book writing as in his military experience.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ronald L. Christopher on February 14, 2013
Format: Paperback
I finally read the book. A friend sent it to me and of course, when somebody sends me a book, I read it. As with this book. The problem is, I do not know the truth. I talked to Floyd Kushner, the doctor. As history goes, the doc was the flight surgeon for my unit, the 9th Cavalry. Somehow the chopper he was riding on crashed and he got captured. When I spoke with him, recently, I felt adrift somewhat as he didn't really want to talk about captivity and what went on. So secrets stay hidden. I have also read some interesting issues about John McCain being a prisoner. Were they true or false? I have no idea.
I was never a POW. Personally I do not think I would be allowed to be one. I hope that is understood. I have also read things about other POWs going over to the side of the enemy. Some even stated that they saw a white man carrying an AK. I do not know why they would say such things unless true but then, what is truth?
So I read the book. I was not pleased. Ever heard the phrase, I am not a happy camper? That was me while I tried to get to the end of the book. I have no doubt that Daly went though some torment, like walking without shoes in the jungle. In other stories I have read, and movies I have watched, POW were not treated very nicely. The orientals have a bad attitude concerning POWs some of which has to do with personal honor. Never surrender. Surrendering means one is a coward and is treated that way.
As I made my way though the pages I took strong notice to the way POWs treated other POW. Very strange. To me I thought one would unite for the benefit of the whole but not in Daly's story. I can't even understand why a person would be in charge just because he was much bigger than everybody else. The American Army does not work that way, not even in POW camps.
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