Saturday, November 6, 2010

Book Review - Surviving Hell by Leo Thorsness

Roy Thompson of the British press lord once said: "What makes a hero truly great is that they never despair." Such a man Leo Thorsness, a former Air Force fighter pilot, the six long years of constant torture and mind numbing boredom with unwavering courage and determination to resist is gritty. The experience of this extraordinary man recorded in his recently published book, Hell survived a POW's Journey. On April 19, 1967, Thorsness saved a place in Air Force history when he andhis car back, Harry Johnson came to the rescue of a fellow F-105 crew, since the pitch after a MIG and were surrounded by four or five more hanging in the RPI as their parachutes. In the ensuing battle, Thorsness shot down two MIG and then in a brave act of pure bluff, drove away the rest, although it was ammunition. Years later, he was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions. Meanwhile, Johnson needs to reach and only twelve more missions to the magic numberhundred, which would allow them to return home. But it should be. Less than two weeks later, Thorsness and Johnson attacking a SAM site in North Vietnam and were then shot in captivity.

How many American aircraft was shot down, badly Thorsness during ejection at high velocity injuries. serious damage to both knees and back injuries made it almost impossible to walk when he was captured. But that seemed too little to her captors, who beat to kick the field, andShe half dragged him through the long trip to Hoa Lo prison, otherwise known as the Hanoi Hilton. It was there that his journey through hell really begins. Many of the details of his life in prison that I had read in other books. I knew that the tap code, so the prisoners communicate with each other without speaking, and had different descriptions of dirt, disease, read the inhuman living conditions, and, of course, the brutal torture of North Vietnam subjected their prisoners each day of theirLife.

What struck me about this book, however, as simple and elegant Thorsness told his story. Surviving Hell is a sparse 127 pages, but it fails to describe his experiences in great detail, naming names, if necessary, to define unfamiliar terms when needed and offers vivid descriptions of what he has seen and done as a prisoner of war. At the same time, he did not dwell on the details of his torture yet he was guest of his fellow prisoners. Instead, his attention seemsbe explained how he managed to maintain his dignity and his mind during his torture, especially by prolonged isolation.

Surviving Hell was released in December 2008. Ironically, this is the same month, Jane Fonda, the actress anti-war protesters who once famously declared that American POWs were treated humanely shot was taken in the Museum's California Hall of Fame. The reader will no doubt draw their own conclusions about this incident.Surviving Hell is published by Encounter Books and is available from most good bookshops or online booksellers like Amazon and books meeting barnesandnoble for $ 25.95.

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