Tap Code: The Epic Survival Tale of a Vietnam POW and the Secret Code That Changed Everything

Col. Carlyle “Smitty” Harris and Sara W. Berry. Zondervan, $26.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-310-35911-1
Harris, a retired Air Force pilot, debuts with a forthright account of his eight years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam and the WWII-era code he taught his fellow detainees so they could communicate with each other. Shot down in April 1965, Harris was just the sixth American captured in North Vietnam. He was taken to the infamous prison known as the Hanoi Hilton, where he drew on his Catholic faith and his brief dialogues with fellow POWs to keep up his morale. Meanwhile, his wife, Louise, struggled to raise their three children on her own and battled with the Defense Department to continue receiving her husband’s monthly paycheck. (Her experiences are recounted in first-person chapters interspersed throughout the book.) Two months after his capture, Harris remembered an obscure communication code he’d learned in survival school and taught it to three other Americans. Based on a five-by-five grid of the alphabet in which each letter could be communicated by two sets of taps, the code was shared with new arrivals and became a vital means of lifting prisoners’ spirits and sharing resistance strategies. Crediting his knowledge of the code and his ability to endure torture and inhumane living conditions to an unshakable belief in “God and country,” Harris delivers an accessible, faith-infused memoir of survival that will appeal to Christian readers and military history buffs. (Nov.)
Reviewed on : 11/05/2019
Release date: 11/01/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
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