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)
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