Review Detail

Much needed story of Vietnam POWs
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
Jeremiah Denton was a naval aviator who was shot down and captured by the North Koreans in 1965, and was held for eight years. This follows his time in various prisoner of war camps, including the Hanoi Hilton. Since Denton was an admiral, he managed to secretly contact other prisoners and make sure that they remained connected and focused on their mission to return home with honor. The North Koreans maintained that the Americans they captured weren't prisoners of war, and therefore cared for under the Geneva Convention, but were instead criminals, and were treated incredibly harshly. The prisoners managed to communicate with notes on small scraps of paper, code, and Morse code tapped out on the prison cell walls. The armed forces have a strict code for people taken prisoner, that they shouldn't give away classified information even if tortured, but the North Koreans were so cruel that they did eventually break some men and forced confessions out of them. Denton gave a filmed interview at one point, and had the strength to blink out "TORTURE" in Morse code! Very little news of the outside world got to the prisoners, but they tried to keep faith that they would eventually be released. As the war dragged on, their families came to resent the military's insistence that families remain quiet about their loved ones who were prisoners, and the POW-MIA association managed to change the government policy on the treatment of these soldiers. After that, the treatment in the camp got a little better. Denton was finally put in a room with another man, easing his feelings of isolation, and food, hygiene and medical treatment became a bit better. The extreme torture ceased. It wasn't until 1973 that an agreement was reached and POWs were sent home. Denton finally made it back to his family after eight years, and went on to be elected to the US Senate.
Good Points
This was perfect. I have so many students asking for books about Vietnam, and the POW experience was a big part of that. While there are shelves and shelves of books about World War II, there is much less about Vietnam. This might be because there was no clearly defined heroic side versus an equally clearly defined evil one, making the issues of right and wrong muddier. Still, we are getting to the point in time where many middle grade readers have grandparents who were involved in this conflict and are asking for books about it.

This goes into some detail about the torture, and is a great overview of the experience without getting into the more horrifying aspects of the torture. I hadn't been aware of the secrecy surrounding the POWs; I was eight in 1973, and was just starting to be aware of current events. I remember POWs coming home, but wasn't sure from where. While Denton's experiences are the focus of the book, there are lots of other prisoners showcased. There are a decent number of pictures and maps to help readers understand the set up, and relevant supporting historical details are inserted when they are needed.

Captured is an excellent addition to a list of books about the Vietnam conflict that include Elizabeth Partridge's Boots on the Ground, Russell Freedman's Vietnam: A History of the War and DiConsiglio's
Vietnam : the Bloodbath at Hamburger Hill. Now if we could just get similar titles for the experience in Korea!
Report this review Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

Comments

Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

Latest Book Listings Added

Artemis Fowl: Guide to the World of Fairies
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
This beautifully illustrated novel is a compendium of Artemis Fowl's...
Personalized Notebook Doodles Adorable Pets Coloring Book
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
From hamsters and hermit crabs to cats and canaries, you'll...
The Last Summer
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
For the first eleven years of their lives, neighbors Lila...
The Falling in Love Montage
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Two girls embark on a summer of montage-worthy dates (with...
Super Puzzletastic Mysteries: Short Stories for Young Sleuths from Mystery Writers of America
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Bestselling author Chris Grabenstein and the Mystery Writers of America...
Beauty Mark: A Verse Novel of Marilyn Monroe
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
In a powerful novel in verse, an award-winning author offers...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Anger, hurt, and rejection threaten Joshua’s ability to save the...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Bernita, a teenager from a prominent South American family, knows...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
How do you fix a computer glitch that disappears before...
Hope in the Mail: Reflections on Writing and Life
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Part writing guide and part memoir, this inspiring book from...
Daniela and the Pirate Girls
 
3.5
 
0.0 (0)
Who hasn’t heard of the legendary vessel, the Black Croc!...
Child of Galaxies
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Your body was made from the stuff of the stars,...

Latest Member Reviews

Super Puzzletastic Mysteries: Short Stories for Young Sleuths from Mystery Writers of America
 
5.0
"Short story collections are hard to review, especially when one includes so many fantastic authors! My students will be glad..."
Ragweed and Poppy
 
3.5
"RAGWEED AND POPPY is an interesting middle grade novel that follows Ragweed, a mouse who is on a journey. Ragweed..."
Escape Goat
 
5.0
"ESCAPE GOAT is an adorable picture book that ultimately teaches about scapegoating and the need for honesty. The goat lives..."
My Weird School Special: We’re Red, Weird, and Blue! What Can We Do?
 
5.0
"It's February, which A.J. considers to be the worst month of all. It's hard to spell, teachers want to celebrate..."
Teddy Spaghetti
 
4.5
"TEDDY SPAGHETTI is the story of Teddy as he starts at a new school and meets a bully. Teddy has..."
Peanut Goes for the Gold
 
5.0
"PEANUT GOES FOR THE GOLD is a cute picture book about following your dreams and being true to yourself. Peanut,..."
Are You a Cat?
 
3.0
"ARE YOU A CAT? is a conversational book that features two characters, dog and (maybe) cat. Dog wants to chase..."
Happy Easter, Biscuit!: A Lift-the-Flap Book
 
4.5
"HAPPY EASTER, BISCUIT! is a lift-the-flap Easter egg hunt featuring Biscuit. The little girl and Biscuit are on the hunt..."
The Bold, Brave Bunny
 
5.0
"THE BOLD, BRAVE BUNNY is a lovely picture book about Teetu, the bunny who is sick of all the bunnies...."
Great Escapes #1: Nazi Prison Camp Escape
 
3.5
"Bill Ash was an American who volunteered for the Canadian Air Force in 1940, and was sent to Europe shortly..."
The Triumphant Tale of Pippa North
 
4.0
"In Wanderly, everyone has a role. Some are Triumphants, the greatest of heroes, some are Tragicals, orphans doomed to a..."
Dog Days in the City
 
4.0
"In The Unlikely Story of a Pig in the City, Josie and her large family adopted Hamlet, a pig. When..."
Daniel Coldstar #2: The Betrayer
 
4.0
"Copy provided by Young Adult Books Central After the evens in The Relic War, Daniel, Jasper the..."
The Dragon Egg Princess
 
5.0
"Change is coming to Kidahara, a magical forest in the Joson, a kingdom in a diverse realm where there is..."
Worse Than Weird
 
4.0
"Mac lives with her parents, Hank and Coral, in a small house in Portland. Small, as in she sleeps in..."
The Peacock Detectives
 
4.0
"THE PEACOCK DETECTIVES is a story told by a young narrator, who is in Grade 6 but reads at a..."
The Big Game
 
4.0
"Danny lives in Texas with his mother and former Pittsburgh Steelers player father, who now sells farm machinery. The father..."
Everybody Says Meow
 
N/A
"What I Loved: This is one of those books that you can't help but smile while you read, even..."
Cog
Cog
 
4.0
"Cog looks like an ordinary twelve year old boy, but he is an advanced android that the scientists at uniMind..."
Cog
Cog
 
4.0
"Cog looks like an ordinary twelve year old boy, but he is an advanced android that the scientists at uniMind..."