Gulf Between Us (H)

Cynthia B. Acree, Author, Cliff Acree, With
Cynthia B. Acree, Author, Cliff Acree, With Potomac Books $23.95 (336p) ISBN 978-1-57488-159-2
Paperback - 332 pages - 978-1-57488-370-1
Paperback - 332 pages - 978-1-57488-604-7
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Loaded with kitschy, you-are-there dialogue reconstruction and self-dramatization, this husband-and-wife Gulf War memoir won't win any awards. Yet the voices of the Acrees, who trade short chapters in relating Cliff's captivity and its home-front repercussions, have a guileless authenticity. His Ov-10 shot down over southern Kuwait on the war's second day, Acree was captured by the Iraqis and held as a POW for 48 days in Baghdad, until all hostages were released as part of a cease-fire agreement. The book takes the Acrees day-by-day from Cliff's preparations as squadron leader for getting his planes and men from Camp Pendleton to the Middle East (with plenty of technical detail for buffs) to the desperation of Cindy (as she is referred to throughout) for information after his plane went missing, Cliff's brutal torture and unsuccessful coercion by his captors, and the efforts launched by the POW/MIA Liberty Alliance for Operation Desert Storm, spearheaded by Cindy, to draw attention to the plight of Gulf prisoners. Cliff describes the conditions of near-starvation and isolation he endured, along with savage beatings that left him with severe neck, nasal, digestive and heart problems (later addressed by a number of surgeries). The psychological stress he suffered as a POW left Cliff with long-term emotional problems, a second ""gulf"" that, the couple relates, has been mostly surmounted by the gradual improvement in his physical condition and the birth of the couple's first child. Beyond some--well-earned--posturing, this is a compelling tale. B&w photos. (Apr.)
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