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Into the Mouth of the Cat: The Story of Lance Sijan, Hero of Vietnam Paperback – March 17, 2004


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Into the Mouth of the Cat: The Story of Lance Sijan, Hero of Vietnam + Five Years to Freedom: The True Story of a Vietnam POW
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Reprint edition (March 17, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393325482
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393325485
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #118,668 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Gripping adventure...suspense...what a story. Hey, this guy was a hero! -- St. Louis Post-Dispatch

The Red Badge of Courage of the Vietnam War....An inspiring account of the human spirit. -- Time

About the Author

Malcolm McConnell lives in Queenstown, Maryland.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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The incredible true story of Lance Sijan was one of those for me.
John E
I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to read about a real hero or if you want to read about Vietnam.
"mustangsally613"
This is the type of book, that, when you begin to read it, you cannot put it down until it is finished.
S. Zwicke

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 3, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I handed a strip map to Lt. Sijan just minutes before he began his last mission and had believed for years that he had been shot down and that perhaps I had failed to mark AAA emplacements or a SAM site on his map. I was relieved to know after so many years that I had no bearing in what happened. I've read many stories of courageous men, but never a story that compares with this one. Lance Sijan is a person that no young person could make a mistake in emulating. It is a book that I plan to give to my young son when he is at an age when he is ready to comprehend the strength of Sijan's character and I hope that he will endeavor to become the kind of man Sijan was. I believe that Sijan's story should become required reading in high school civics class - I think every young person should know what the true meaning of the word "hero" means and what the true connotation of "sacrifice" is.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Lawrence Mayes on June 15, 2004
Format: Paperback
This story of Medal of Honor winner 1Lt Lance Sijan's November 1967 shoot down, escape and evasion and ultimate death in a North Vietnamese prison, as related through two of his companions during much of the ordeal, is compelling and inspirational, yet disquieting. The relating of the nighttime shoot down of Lance's F-4C over Laos and subsequent Search and Recovery effort make for riveting reading and the ultimate failure of the rescue reveals the character of Lance. He refuses to allow a Pararescue Jumper to come down the jungle penetrator to assist him because the enemy is too close, but he is unable to crawl the necessary 20 feet or so to safety due to horrible injuries to his leg and arm. In the subsequent 46 days Lance crawls over sharp rocks and through jungle in an attempt to escape, along the way debilitating his body to the point he was near death. When finally captured, he later overpowers a guard, despite being unable to stand or walk, and escapes yet again, only to be recaptured in a few hours. United with two exceptionally brave fellow POWs, Guy Gruters and Bob Craner, F-100 Misty FACs who were shot down earlier, Lance is able to relay what had happened to him during his ordeal, a story validated by the very North Vietnamese captors from whom Lance had escaped. His ultimate death is almost a relief, given the magnitude of his suffering from injuries and torture. The author traces Lance's early life, particularly his molding into a warrior at the Air Force Academy, and he closes the text with insights he gains from friends, family and more contemporary Cadets at the Academy in his attempt to discover what made Lance so brave and resolute. This book will make a wonderful companion on the book shelf beside Rob Risner's "The Passing of the Night" and Bud Day's "Return With Honor."
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By John Matlock on June 29, 2004
Format: Paperback
The rules say: The President may award, and present in the name of Congress, a medel of honor of appropriate design, with ribbons and appurtenances, to a person who, while a member of the Army, Navy or Air Force, distinguished himself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyone the call of duty.
They also say that the actions of the person receiving the award cannot be performed while he is acting under orders, he must have originated the action himself, and that if the recipient had not performed this action other people would not have thought less of him.
That's a pretty tall order. Lance Sijan won the medal in Viet Nam. What more can you really say of him that has any meaning?
The book tells his story. On November 9, 1967 he ejected from his crippled fighter bomber over Laos. Badly injured, and virtually without supplies he evaded capture for six weeks. Finally caught he overpowered his guards and escaped, only to be captured again. He resisted his captors to the end. He died two weeks later.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Bob Kramer on July 15, 2004
Format: Paperback
I just re-read Into the Mouth of the Cat by the military historian, Malcolm McConnell. It is an undisputed classic--undisputed execpt for that jerk Amazon reviewer from Ft. Campbell, KY who stated, erroneously, in 2001 that Mcconnell "never served." He served as an Army enlistedman in 1957-58, but more importantly, he served as a civilian intelligence officer in the Congo in the 1960s and in Vietnam. I know because I was there with him. Unlike Ft. Campbell, McConnell knows what combat is. His book shows this.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 28, 2000
Format: Hardcover
After reading this book, I felt many mixed emotions: sadness, sympathy, confusion, pride, and admiration. I'm only 17 and I realize that I am not the most fitting person to be writing about the conflict of Vietnam, POW's/MIA's, however, I would just like to say that I am proud of Captain Lance P. Sijan's courage, valor, and service to country. I hope that one day, when I am in the Air Force, I will embody the qualities that made Captain Sijan an outstanding officer and American. Of course, I don't think anyone will ever come close to Sijan's degree of servitude. This novel has given me much inspiration and he is truly a hero in all aspects of the meaning. He is a person who I deeply admire, and he will always serve as a roll model when I am faced with a tough situation. Read this book and you'll see what I mean.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Edward W. OConnell on March 3, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Lance Peter Sijan is a hero of our time! His story unfolds in the book "Into the Mouth of The Cat" and we are instantly capitvated by not only his courage in the face of his captors but we are also amazed at his will to survive, and assist his other fellow captives in the Hanoi Hilton Prison. We are so unaware of the heros of the Vietnam War and there were many who displayed great courage and perserverance despite the fact that others viewed the war as unwinnable or corupt. Please read this story and then you too will understand why the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs decided to name their freshman student dorimtory after Capt Sijan, a hero of our time.
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