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Author Townley: 'Amazing' Resilience Helped American POWs Survive

By Bill Hoffmann   |   Thursday, 06 Feb 2014 05:58 PM

American prisoners of war held in the infamous "Hanoi Hilton" prison during the Vietnam War survived through a combination of bravery, backbone, and love of country, says author Alvin Townley.

Townley wrote the new book "Defiant: The POWs Who Endured Vietnam's Most Infamous Prison, the Women Who Fought for Them, and the One Who Never Returned," published by Macmillan.

"The amount of brotherhood they fell back on, the resilience they showed, and their dedication to their country, to their honor, and to each other and their families back home was just amazing," Townley told "The Steve Malzberg Show" Thursday on Newsmax TV.

"I could not believe that no one had never told the story before so I wanted to set that right."

One of the men he focuses on is retired Rear Adm. Robert Shumaker, who spent eight years as a prisoner of war.

"The reason we survived was because we were Americans. We tasted freedom and we knew what it was all about and that's what got us out of there," Shimaker told Malzberg.

"When you're down and out, you know, the worst thing you can do is crawl off in the corner and isolate yourself, and that's what the Vietnamese tried to do us. I was there for eight years and three of those years were in solitary confinement.

"Their whole philosophy was that they felt they could control our thoughts and minds better if we were held in isolation and incommunicado."

He said anybody can benefit from the technique he used to get through his imprisonment.

"To people that might be suffering from stress of some sort, make sure you communicate. We developed our own means of communication which you may want to get into," Shumaker said.

See "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV each weekday live by clicking here now.

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American prisoners of war held in the infamous "Hanoi Hilton" prison during the Vietnam War survived through a combination of bravery, backbone, and love of country, says author Alvin Townley.
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