Surviving Hell: A POW’S Journey


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Surviving Hell: A POW's Journey by Leo Thorsness

Growing up in the Land of Tattooed Men. Scandal in the Jungle. I remember the wives and children standing at the end of the red carpet. I remember the wives running towards the men, children following, being swept up in huge homecoming embraces. I watched and I watched and my daddy didn't ever come off of one of those airplanes. I frequently tell people who are grieving that I believe God gives you a certain amount of tears to cry and until you cry them, your heart can't heal. I thought I had truly come to the end of that grieving journey, but not yet. I have cried many, many tears this afternoon.

I am so grateful that Col. Thorsness wrote this book, shared his memories, with the world and with me. Jan 25, Mike Raymond rated it really liked it. This one is a tribute to Leo Thorsness, who was granted a new liberation when he died this past May. On his 93rd flight in-country, on April 30, seven sorties shy of completing his tour , Thorsness and his back-seater were shot down and captured while flying their Wild Weasel F But, there were poignant scenes, as well, in this autobiographical account that chronicles his six years of confinement: Past the sublime, they found a way to create a paper-mache Christmas Tree from their dirty socks; fashion a dirty rag into an American Flag; and otherwise confound their captors as much as humanly possible.

Call me a glutton for punishment when it comes to these POW testimonies because, admittedly, one can get the gist of the horrors they experienced by reading one or two accounts. However, each POW-author presents their own unique story. The author fought in Vietnam War as a pilot. He was shot down, hurt and taken captive by Vietnam troops. There are a lot of captives in his prison, also shot down. They were tortured from all perspectives.

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They were beaten badly, they were fed with only a little food and they we This is the memoir of a former POW and recipient of the Medal of Honor. They were beaten badly, they were fed with only a little food and they were not allowed to talk with each other. But the prisoners stayed optimistic. They even invented a way of communicating by knocking.

It helped them band together and lived through hard life. Finally, when the war was over, prisoners were all set free and sent home. Through this book we can see how a group of POWs struggled to survive in prison. Life of POW is harsh, but they took every step they could to live through.

Feb 06, Mary Jo rated it it was amazing. It's hard to say how I feel about this book. It was a good read, and I am glad I read it. But it made me so angry. How many prisoners of war are still in Vietnam? How many families don't know where their loved ones are? Leo Thorsness gives just enough detail to help us understand a mere fraction of the horrible ordeal of six years of being a prisoner of war.

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He describes his time in solitary, how he and others were tortured, how their families fought for them back home. He describes how they pas It's hard to say how I feel about this book. He describes how they passed the time and how they survived.

He even managed to make me smile or laugh a time or two, with stories like how the prisoners made a Christmas tree out of socks. Sep 17, Nishi Giefer rated it it was amazing. If I could pick one book that has changed my life, this is it. In the introduction, Thorsness explained that his reason for writing the book was not so much to document his time as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, but to point out that the small problems we have in life are generally just small problems.

He was so right.

As the old saying goes: And by way of extending the statement: Mar 03, Derek Dillard rated it it was amazing. I had the opportunity to listen to him tell his story which is where I bought the book. After listening to him and two other POWs tell their story and then I read the book, it gave me a whole new perspective of what they actually went through. It takes a special individual and the interesting thing about them is they are not bitter about it at all. After living through these experiences they came back and tackled life even harder because they almost didn't get the opportunity to live a normal li I had the opportunity to listen to him tell his story which is where I bought the book.

After living through these experiences they came back and tackled life even harder because they almost didn't get the opportunity to live a normal life again. It is a very inspirational story! I do not know if I could live through the trails and conditions they were put through.

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Aug 25, Robert rated it really liked it. I like how he layed out his whole experience over 6 years in less than pages. He is frank and to the point about what happened but yet puts no blame here nor there. It is a this is what happened story!! Why did I buy it?

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He is a man of honor with out a doubt but yet is still humble. Knowing what I do of him from that meeting, I knew the book was going to be a top notch product and i I like how he layed out his whole experience over 6 years in less than pages. Knowing what I do of him from that meeting, I knew the book was going to be a top notch product and it is! Feb 23, Linda Johnson rated it it was amazing. Leo Thorsness survived 6 years in the worst conditions imaginable where very few positive things ever happened and torture and starvation were the norm.

This story speaks to the determination of men trying not only to survive but to maintain their humanity in very inhumane circumstances. Leo is a very humble Viet Nam hero and survivor.

Jun 22, Jodi rated it it was amazing. Thorsness tells his story of his time in a POW camp. The book describes the torture enough that you can get a picture, but not in vivid detail that makes the book hard to read. Thorsness explains daily life in the camp enough that it is easy to picture the POW camps in Vietnam. The book is a quick read that I couldn't put down until I was done. For this action, Thorsness was awarded the Medal of Honor. But he didn't learn about it until years later--by a "tap code" coming through prison walls--because on April 30, Thorsness was shot down, captured, and transported to the Hanoi Hilton.

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Surviving Hell recounts a six-year captivity marked by hours of brutal torture and days of agonizing boredom. With a novelist's eye for character and detail, Thorsness describes how he and other American POWs strove to keep their humanity. Thrown into solitary confinement for refusing to bow down to his captors, for instance, he disciplined his mind by memorizing long passages of poetry that other prisoners sent him by tap code. Filled with hope and humor, Surviving Hell is an eloquent story of resistance and survival.