Seven Years in Hanoi: A POW Tells His Story

It Looked like and “ordinary” day when Air Force Capt. Larry Chesley took off. But less than an hour later he had been shot down over North Vietnam with a broken vertebra, stripped of his clothing and equipment and was sitting handcuffed and blindfolded in a hole in the ground. Twenty-one days later he was in another hole–the “hell hole” of Hoa Lo, the prison the POWs nicknamed the Hanoi Hilton. He would be in and out of that prison and others for nearly seven years. In Seven Years in Hanoi, Larry Chesley unveils the story of POW life in North Vietnam. His absorbing first-hand account relates his personal experiences as he tells of conditions in the prison camps; the treatment of the POWs received, including the tortures; the mean by which they frustrated their captors’ design of breaking their spirit; and the educational, patriotic and religious activities by which they helped to sustain faith and courage and keep morale high. Finally he describes the moving experience of the POWs’ release from captivity and their warm and wonderful welcome in America. Reading this book will do more than interest and inform the reader. It will measurably recapture the surge of emotion America felt at the POWs; homecoming. It will stir again a patriotic pride in that band of men who, like many others caught up in the Vietnam War, asked “not what their country could do for them but what they could do for their country.”

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