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Glory Denied: The Saga of Jim Thompson, America's Longest-Held Prisoner of War Hardcover – May 17, 2001
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The irony is that Thompson's life improved little upon his return to the United States. His wife had taken up with another man, his family fell apart, he drank to excess, and his son was convicted of murder. Readers will be at once tempted and reluctant to call Thompson a hero--tempted because of how much he suffered for serving his country and for his numerous escape attempts, but reluctant because Thompson was himself responsible for much of the pain he brought on himself and his family following his return.
Military journalist Tom Philpott has produced an oddly fascinating book about Thompson's ordeal. Glory Denied is not a piece of narrative nonfiction, but an oral history. It tells Thompson's story through the words of Thompson and those who knew him. Readers who want a more uplifting POW story may want to try Faith of Our Fathers by Senator John McCain (who contributes a foreword to Glory Denied), yet Philpott's book may come closer to capturing the agony so many Americans continue to associate with Vietnam. --John J. Miller
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
If there was ever a man who never got a break in his life, it was Jim Thompson. Raised by a domineering and abusive father, drafted into the Army he at first hates military life but then comes to love it. But even in the military things do not come easily for Thompson. Commissioned through OCS, he does not volunteer for Special Forces but is ordered into it when the Army, at JFK's directive, rapidly expands the Green Berets. Sent to Vietnam, Thompson and his team are sent to one the most remote and potentially dangerous outposts the Army has and he and his team find themselves very quickly in over their heads.
An interesting aspect of the book is that most of it is not about Thompson's actual experiences as a POW but rather deals with is pre- and post-Vietnam life. His saga as a POW for nearly 9 years is a brutal one---isolation, malnutrition, torture. It is not until he has been a prisoner over 4 yrs that he finally meets other Americans, a group of soldiers and civilian personnel captures at Hue during the Tet Offensive. By this point Thompson is reduced to about 100 lbs and looks to the other POWs to be in his 70s when he's actually in his mid 30s.Read more ›
Suffering brutal torture, disease, and starvation, he would endure some of the worst treatment ever imagined for almost 9 unbelievable years. Eventually, he would be recognized as the longest held prisoner of war in American history. During his confinement, Thompson never wavered in his defiance of his captors and continually upheld his convictions in America, his patriotism, his pride, and his beliefs.
Upon returning to the United States, hoping to re-establish a stable home life, Jim Thompson is quickly immersed in tragic events that would continue several years after his return. Starting with the revelation of his wife's infidelity during his captivity, major turmoil would befall his family soon thereafter. He is unprepared for 9 years of change that has influenced his family and this sadly leads to, among other things, alienation of his children, addiction to alcohol, estrangement from his wife, and eventual divorce.
In a constant uphill struggle, Thompson painfully suffered through many subsequent events in his life that literally brought him to the edge of despair and his attempting suicide.
Glory Denied is quite possibly the saddest, most tragic, and totally heart-wrenching accounts of POW captivity ever written. It is also a story of love, understanding, forgiveness, hope, faith, and survival.
Sixteen years in the making, this book is exceedingly well written and prepared and evokes much emotion in its content. Deserving of 10 stars, this book is very highly recommended to everyone.
Although a standard narrative could tell this story from an author's single point of view and lift Thompson from his relative obscurity, Philpott has chosen oral history, and here is an example of that method at its very best. Carefully researching background material and skillfully organizing the interviews, supplementing them with appropriate documents, most notably some very insightful self-analyses written for Thompson's psychiatrist, he lets the speakers themselves show us Thompson from every possible angle, through the eyes of anyone and everyone, it seems, involved in this long and complex saga, and through their words the complexity of the man and the situation becomes revealed.
Thompson goes off to Vietnam in 1963, full of good intent, having found his home in the Army Special Forces, intelligent and articulate but with limited background and education, determined to make the best possible career of it, leaving behind a less-than-perfect marriage, albeit one idealized in his own mind.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Bing a Viet Nam Veteran, I'm aware of the lingerring effects of the war. It suprised me that our involvement was much longer than thought. Read morePublished on March 21, 2013 by ONE HANDER
Jim thompson is a hero that was not given his due acknowledgements. Horah for this book. I hope it sells well.Published on March 10, 2013 by Airborne1
My husband is an avid reader and was in the military for 43 years,and likes to read true stories. Saw this book and purchased it for him. Read morePublished on May 5, 2012 by Mary L. Little
I had the Honor of meeting Col. Thompson and 7 other Vietnam POW'S as I was a comrade in Arms with one of them Maj. Ret. Mark A. Read morePublished on February 14, 2012 by KonKrete
This story is gut-wrenching, heartbreaking, insightful, absolutely worth reading. I think if every American read this book, one would appreciate so much more the meaning of the... Read morePublished on August 16, 2011 by D. Di Ferdinando
Enjoyed the book very much. I would not recommend it to all as it is an oral history and jumped from family members to military, etc. Read morePublished on June 10, 2010 by Amazon Customer
Reading this book will bring tears to your eyes. My heart goes out to Colonel Thompson and his family. A true Hero in every sense of the word, his story is heartbreaking. Read morePublished on December 25, 2009 by George A. Thompson Jr.
Attention: this is not a straightforward account. The author relies on statements from various people involved, so on the page it almost looks like the script to a play. Read morePublished on November 27, 2009 by Caraculiambro
I was under the impression that the book would be new, however it appeared to be used. It was in good shape, but used.
So I was a little disappointed.