Hero Found: The Greatest POW Escape of the Vietnam War

Hero Found: The Greatest POW Escape of the Vietnam War

by Bruce Henderson


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From the #1 New York Times bestselling coauthor of And the Sea Will Tell comes Hero Found: the incredible but true story of Dieter Dengler, the only pilot to escape captivity from a POW camp in the Laotian jungle during the Vietnam War. This amazing story of triumph over seemingly insurmountable odds has been filmed by Werner Herzog as both a documentary (Little Dieter Needs to Fly) and a motion picture (Rescue Dawn, starring Christian Bale), and now receives its book treatment from Bruce Henderson, who served with Dengler in Vietnam.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061571374
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/24/2011
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 180,310
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Bruce Henderson has written more than twenty books, including the national bestseller Hero Found and Rescue at Los Baños. Henderson served aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ranger (CVA-61) during the Vietnam War. He lives in Menlo Park, California.

Table of Contents

Author's Note xi

1 "Born A Gypsy" 1

2 America 16

3 Training for Flight 31

4 The Swordsmen 54

5 Gray Eagle Goes to War 75

6 Shootdown 99

7 Will to Survive 124

8 "We'll Run out Of Pilots" 150

9 Prisoners of War 157

10 South China Sea 181

11 Escape 194

12 To the Rescue 225

13 Returning Hero 233

14 Alive and Free 241

Epilogue 251

Postscript 257

Dramatis personae 259

Source notes 263

Bibliography 281

Index 285

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"[McLaren's] animated involvement adds a special spark to a work already compelling from beginning to end." —-AudioFile

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Hero Found 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
kriemhilt More than 1 year ago
I have just read Hero Found and am appalled that the author, Bruce Henderson, who interviewed me two years ago and wasted three hours of my time, has depicted me as some 'sailor bait', flying off to some questionable naval base for a rendezvous with Lt Dengler! In my case, this `historian' not only distorted the truth, he simply fabricated what he did not know. Furthermore, he has never returned the photos he `borrowed' but did not use. Nor did he use any information I gave him, other than my name and the fact that I studied German; then he placed me in an imagined scenario, likening me to a cheap slut. This should have been a better book, considering the material which was probably collected. It is no doubt a good read for someone with a technical naval background or someone who actually was in the military with Dieter. The evening at the bookstore in Menlo Park made it apparent that this book was to impress the naval buddies. For me, Dieter's family background and early days in the United States, prior to my meeting him in Squaw Valley, were the most interesting in explaining his character. He had bitter experiences, many of which were not mentioned in this book, which he blamed for his often callous treatment of women. Dieter was not a true hero - he always helped himself, with the exception of his brother, before he helped anyone else- but he was a genius at escape and at innovation, in addition to being interesting, a lot of fun, and definitely outrageous. He was also extremely selfish and manipulative, obstinate and stingy beyond belief. I knew Dieter longer than most people, from 1961 until 1999 when I last spoke to him on the phone from Hamburg when he complained that Werner Herzog had cheated him. I wonder what he would have thought of this book...probably not much.
JordanAtBarnesnNobles More than 1 year ago
Hero Found is an inspiring tale about the escape of Dieter Dangler, a navy pilot who is shot down during the vietnam war inside of hostile territory. After much running and dodging of the authorities and citizens alike, he is captured and taken as a POW. Through his own daring and wit, he attempts to escape and lead other POWs with him and lead them to safety. Though most of the men shot down in Vietnam were lost, this heartwarming tale tells of one mans infinite courage and unwillingness to give up. I highly enjoyed Dieter's retelling of his time as a military man and his stories of his childhood. As a boy his mother taught him and his brothers how to survive in the wild. This laid a foundation for a man whom many would say was engineered to be an escapee. Dieter was much different than most because of how he was raised and it often baffles people that meet him. He thinks and reacts differently than most people and the way in which he goes about his antics is highly entertaining. Despite how enjoyable most of the book was, there were often long chapters full of dry details about how the navy operated and much history about certain types of planes. Staying awake through these earlier chapters can prove difficult to all but the most die hard of fans of war and military biographies. As I stated previously though, sticking it out through these early chapters can pay off big time with an escape story that will warm your heart. When it comes down to it, I would only reccomend this book to people who have read other war novels from the vietnam war era and thoroughly enjoyed them. If you liked this book I'd recommend some books written about the gulf war, as they're often a more intense brand of this same sort of writing. Crusade and Generation Kill are both very good novels.
PittsburghFrank More than 1 year ago
Just finished Hero Found, Henderson does it again! Great read. His research left nothing out. The other pilots, some good, some not so good. Dengler's time at the POW camp, his escape, the courage of Duane and himself against very high odds. What they ate, how they were beaten, the conditions in the camp. The Pathet Lao were people you didn't want to deal with if you could help it. I would've liked at least one map of the area, for reference purposes. Interesting reading about the aircraft carrier and flight operations. About the movie, I had forgotten I had seen it until a couple chapters in. Another outstanding read from a very good author.
mjmbradley on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is an extraordinary story, with tons of vignettes that many servicemen can relate to. The writing is tight, and direct making the story very interesting and easy to follow.The author, Bruce Henderson, has done a remarkable job providing us insight into this hero's life. And I'm very grateful to learn about this man's life, and his background leading up to the main part of the book.
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Felt like I was standing with them.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a retired Navy Carrier pilot I loved it. This and Kenny Fields,"Rescue of street car 304" were both great reads. They tell what it was like flying off the carrier and I still get goose bumps thinking about night landings. Once shot down, these two faced terrible odds but the both made it and give us tremedous insight into what it takes to survive
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