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Hero Found: The Greatest POW Escape of the Vietnam War Paperback – May 24, 2011

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (May 24, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061571377
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061571374
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.2 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #713,392 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Only a handful of Vietnam War POWs escaped captivity. One of those was Dieter Dengler, a German-born navy Skyraider pilot shot down on his first mission over Laos in 1966 and taken prisoner by the Pathet Lao in a remote jungle camp. Tortured and nearly starved to death, Dengler led his fellow prisoners in a daring escape, and he miraculously survived 23 days in the jungle before an inexperienced pilot spotted him frantically signaling from the dense jungle just over the border in North Vietnam. Dengler's harrowing and amazing story has been told before : in his 1978 memoir, Escape from Laos, and in two films, Werner Herzog's documentary Little Dieter Needs to Fly and a feature film, Rescue Dawn. Henderson, who served as a navy weatherman aboard Dengler's aircraft carrier, has crafted a worthy narrative that adds new material based on interviews with Dengler (who died in 2001) and his navy comrades, friends. and family, along with newly unearthed archival records. These include the official 78-page military Dengler Debriefing, which Henderson (coauthor, And the Sea Will Tell) obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. This often riveting account sheds new light on an oft-told true story. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"[McLaren's] animated involvement adds a special spark to a work already compelling from beginning to end." ---AudioFile --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

More About the Author

Bruce Henderson is the author or coauthor of more than twenty nonfiction books, including the #1 New York Times bestseller AND THE SEA WILL TELL, which was made into a highly-rated CBS miniseries. Henderson's true-crime title, TRACE EVIDENCE: The Hunt for the I-5 Serial Killer, recently made its debut as an ebook a decade after its original print release. His award-winning book about one of the most mysterious tragedies of American exploration, FATAL NORTH: Murder and Survival on the First North Pole Expedition, which won a Best Nonfiction of the Year Award from the American Society of Journalists and Authors, is also newly available as an ebook. His latest national bestseller, HERO FOUND: The Greatest POW Escape of the Vietnam War, is the story of Navy pilot Dieter Dengler, with whom Henderson served aboard the aircraft carrier Ranger (CVA-61) during Vietnam. He is also the author of DOWN TO THE SEA: An Epic Story of Naval Diaster and Heroism in World War II. A member of the Authors Guild, Henderson has taught reporting and writing courses at USC School of Journalism and Stanford University. Visit his website: www.BruceHendersonBooks.com.

Customer Reviews

Bruce Henderson does a fantastic job on Dengler's story.
Mad Max
I believe any one interested in war, survival, human will, or perseverance will love this story.
Jennifer Dengler
Once you begin reading, you will not want to put it down.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the biography of Dieter Dengler, a German born American citizen who pulled off one of the most famous P.O.W. escapes in American history. As an honorably discharged Viet Nam era veteran myself... I appreciated (and enjoyed) his escape during the Viet Nam war even more than just for the act of his amazing escape... but additionally... the fact that he was shot down while piloting a plane over Laos... despite the fact that the United States claimed we weren't really there. Dieter was born in Germany and lived through the tail end of World War II and during bombings of his town... his Mother would take him out to hide in the forest. While in the forest... his Mother would teach him what plants were edible and how to survive in such an environment. Little did anyone in the world realize that his Mother's teachings would later save Dieter's life and make him one of the most honored and revered American servicemen during the Viet Nam War. Concurrently young Dieter fell in love with the idea of flying... as at times he watched the American planes fly low over his town. A few times he could actually see the jaunty pilots flying with an open cockpit. The author meticulously details Dieter's time after the war when he became feared by locals as he scrounged for food in a dog-eat-dog world... and his eventual immigration to the United States.

Dengler joined the U.S.A.F. in the hopes of becoming a pilot, but felt he was misled and wasn't eligible to fly due to his lack of a college education. After his enlistment was over despite being an irreverent playboy and party animal... he eventually got a degree... joined the Navy... and fulfilled his boyhood dream by becoming a pilot.
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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Dengler on July 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Hero Found tells the story of Dieter Dengler, a man who against all odds was a survivor. Not only did he survive WWII bombings in his hometown in Germany as a child, which left him homeless and starving, he also survived a brutal and tortuous capture by the Pathet Lao. From bamboo being shoved into his arms and under his nails, ant nests being placed over his head, being submerged in a well, and being dragged behind water buffalo, to starvation this man overcame it all. His will to survive allowed him to overtake and kill 5 Laotian guards and escape into the jungle. Not only did he escape once, but twice! This is a truly remarkable man! I am so grateful to have his story forever captured for future generations to understand the epic struggle that many men faced during the Vietnam War. I have always been intrigued by this war since my Uncle was a POW in the Hanoi Hilton for 5 very long years. Although I was not around during this time, my family would always share the stories of struggles faced during this time and how hard it was on our family knowing my Uncle was captured. My Uncle was also a Navy Pilot. This story also hits home for our family since I am married to Rolf Dengler, Dieter's eldest son and we recently had our first child together, Tayden Dengler, Dieter's grandson. It means a great deal to me that Bruce Henderson was able to capture the essence of Dieter and the determined, strong-willed, wild man that our son will get to know through reading this story. I believe any one interested in war, survival, human will, or perseverance will love this story. I highly recommend this book to all just so one can learn what it truly means to have the will to live. I look forward to when my son is able to appreciate this story of his grandfather.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Todd Bartholomew TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The further removed we become from the Vietnam War, the greater the appetite has become for stories related to the conflict. A number of excellent books have come out recently and "Hero Found" is certainly among them. "Hero Found" is the tale of Dieter Dengler, a German-born American aviator shot down over ostensibly "neutral" Laos in 1966. Author Bruce Henderson was a veteran of the Vietnam War and served with Dengler on the USS Ranger, yet Henderson manages to maintain objectivity while relating Dengler's story, and in lesser hands a subject like this could have easily devolved into an unreadable hagiography, something Henderson neatly avoids. What emerges is a truly inspiring and harrowing account of how Dengler escapes from his Pathet Lao captors, drawing off of his prior survival training, and manages to find his way to freedom, never once giving in to feelings that he would never make it. "Hero Found" points out that not everything associated with the Vietnam War falls into the stereotype of "lost cause" narratives that point to the numerous failures in that conflict, but instead point to how there was a far wider range of events occurring during the war, from the positive and uplifting to the truly mortifying.

Henderson's research combines interviews with archival material to create a truly fascinating and spellbinding narrative that not only captures man's inhumanity to his fellow man, but one man's refusal to be crushed by such cruelty. In the end "Hero Found" becomes a testament to overcoming adversity. To give away much of the story and Dengler's escape would ruin the book, but suffice to say it's a lively page-turner that is hardly dull. Nevermind the insipid television show "Survivor", Dengler is a genuine survivor!
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