A prisoner of war's first duty is to survive; his second duty, writes Robert C. Doyle, is to escape. This anecdote-driven history of escapes and escape attempts recounts harrowing acts of bravery, such as when an American lieutenant captured in the Philippines swam eight miles to secure his freedom. There are also several humorous episodes in this colorful book. One Confederate prisoner during the Civil War who entered an escape tunnel got stuck and blocked the exit because he was so fat. Another Southerner, General John Hunt Morgan, broke out of his cell block after digging through two feet of masonry with table knives. He later sat next to a Union major on a train that passed the Ohio penitentiary that had once confined him. "That's where the rebel General Morgan is now imprisoned," said the major. "Indeed," replied the disguised Morgan, "I hope they'll always keep him as safely as they have him now."
Doyle's history spans from the Colonial period through the 1980s. His book focuses on American prisoners of war, but a chapter on slaves and the Underground Railroad, plus substantial attention to America's British allies during the two world wars, demonstrates a broader ranger of interest than the subtitle suggests. --John J. Miller
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“No one has studied the American POW experience more thoroughly than Robert C. Doyle, and with this book he has again shown us the beauty and heroism in the heart of the American POW who refuses to knuckle under. A Prisoner’s Duty
is a book not merely for those interested in military history but for anyone who wishes to understand the true essence of human freedom.” ―William J. Miller, editor, Civil War magazine
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