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Toughest Read I have ever had, but the most profound read (other than the Bible)
on December 21, 2013
Defiant is not a book that you will read quickly and or get through in a normal amount of time. Usually it doesn't take me long to devour a book and then post a review, but this book took me forever. Why, you ask? Because I found myself at a loss for the emotional strength to continue reading at times.
The pain and agony that these men went through who were prisoners of the North Vietnamese is just too hard to bear at times. Having lost many friends in Viet Nam I was not sure how I would react tot this book. But here goes.
Prisoner's of war should be treated according to the Geneva Convention. BUT, since this wasn't a war the North Vietnamese decided these prisoners were war criminals, not prisoners of war. Thus they treated them as badly as they could. Torture, solitary confinement, poor food, no health care and then more torture. This was the daily regime of these prisoners. It took it's toll.
But to read of the men's strong desire to serve their country and make their families, fellow soldiers and their country proud is amazing. They wanted to give up hope. They at times wanted to die. BUT, they never wavered on the desire to stand fast and make America proud.
But this book was hard to read because it brought back way to many difficult memories. Then to add to those memories to read how these men were treated just made me angry. Further, to read of the lack of any respect or human dignity being shown by their captors made me wonder what type of human beings communist could be.
This book MUST BE READ but anyone who wonders about what went on at the Hanoi Hilton and how our men survived. It MUST BE READ by anyone who questions the drive and loyalty of a person serving the military. It MUST BE READ by those who gave our Viet Nam Vet's a terrible welcome home. These men and women served their country as asked and then were dealt a terrible hand when they returned.
At least the prisoners returning were treated better.
Now, bottom line. The last 50 pages of this book are hard to read because you can't read through your tears very well at least I couldn't. The story of the men being returned home was so emotionally moving that it became a joyful, yet emotional and painful experience.
BUT, here is something I couldn't quite imagine. The Epilogue of the book tells how these men returned to serving their country. They returned to their respective duties and took commands again and served with dignity. This more than anything shows the grit that these men are made of. We as a country should never forget them and should hold them in honor of the lessons that they have taught us.
We need to hold others in high honor, those that gave their lives. 58,000 plus died serving our country. 300,000 plus returned wounded and some maimed for life. All who served returned changed.
Defiant is well written, well researched and starkly honest. It will not sugar coat anything. It will tell the truth. You will be changed by reading it. You will also be drawn to remember the names of the 11 men who served with unbelievable courage, and the name of Ronald Storz will go down in your memory as a man you will never want to forget.
Please, Please, Please pick this book up, read it, think about it and then tell a serviceman or woman how much you honor them for serving their country..