The Strength to Endure: A Memoir

Battered, but not broken.

For nearly eight years, Paul Kari was beaten, tortured, starved, and held captive in squalid jungle prisons as one of the more than 600 American POWs of the Vietnam War.

Two things kept hope for the Ohio farm boy turned U.S. Air Force fighter pilot: His faith in God and the faith that someday his country would bring him home.

On Father’s Day in 1965, Kari became the 12th man captured when his F-4C Phantom II jet fighter was struck by anti-aircraft fire over Son La Province. Not knowing if he would ever see his wife and two young children again, Kari determined to make them and his country proud by enduring this brutal ordeal with dignity and honor. Little did he realize, Kari’s greatest challenge would not be surviving the cruelties of his captors, but rebuilding his life and family after his release in 1973.

The Strength to Endure traces Kari’s path from a 9-year-old boy learning to “fly formation” on a Farmall tractor, to the gifted young pilot who earned Top Gun honors at the inaugural NATO Gunnery Meet in 1963. From sitting on alert for a one-way nuclear bombing mission during the height of the Cold War, to the nightmarish Hanoi March, Kari weaves his life’s story with unflinching honesty, humor and love of his country.

Whether you’re a military history enthusiast drawn to this chilling firsthand account of the day-to-day life of American POWs in Vietnam, or you’re moved by the highly personal tale of faith, hope and resilience, Paul Kari’s inspirational story will help to give you the strength to endure.

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