“Former prisoner of war Ellis and love expert Godek examine the marriages of 20 POWs from the Vietnam War in this nonfiction work.
“‘Once upon a time…there were 20 airborne warriors who were captured twice—once by force, once by love,’ write the authors. Ellis is one of these warriors, a retired United States Air Force colonel and former Vietnam War POW from 1967 to 1973. The book includes interviews with 20 married couples in which the husbands were prisoners of war, with additional commentary from their children and/or the authors. Each story concludes with a “Love Lessons” list of qualities (such as trust, humor, and optimism) that the couple demonstrate, with a sentence or two about how these traits have
helped to forge successful, long-lasting relationships. Their stories touch on how the wives mobilized for the POWs, pushing back against “keep quiet” policies, as well as the POWs’ own experiences and coping methods. The book also includes informative “Historical Highlights” entries about such POW touchstones as the “Hanoi Hilton” and POW/MIA bracelets.
“This compilation offers engrossing testimony about the “mind-boggling” (as actor Gary Sinise describes in the book’s foreword) levels of pain and sacrifice endured by these POWs. Yet the book is ultimately uplifting, with Ellis noting (and the stories illustrating) that “through that unique experience we learned profound lessons in resilience, camaraderie, and faith.” The book also celebrates the wives’ empowerment, as when referencing a remark from Secretary of State Henry Kissinger about one determined spouse who “caused me so much trouble.” While the “Love Lessons” lists can read
as simplistic and reductive, these stories provide readers with excellent role models embodying endurance and commitment.
“Impressive examples of resilience and an important record of sacrifice, survival, and the redemptive power of love.” – Kirkus Reviews