An Enormous Crime: The Definitive Account of American POWs Abandoned in Southeast Asia

Bill Hendon, Author, Elizabeth Stewart, Author . St. Martin's/Dunne $29.95 (640p) ISBN 978-0-312-37126-5

Controversial former North Carolina congressman Hendon and attorney Stewart make the case that the U.S. knowingly left hundreds of POWs in Vietnam and Laos in 1973, and that every presidential administration since then has covered it up. The main reason for the secrecy, say the authors, is the billions in war reparations demanded by the Vietnamese and promised by Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon at the Paris Peace talks. Hendon and Stewart provide a mountain of evidence, mainly intelligence reports of live sightings of American prisoners in Vietnam and Laos that make for less-than-scintillating reading. But riveting sections describe Hendon's crusade on this issue in the early 1980s, including two meetings with President Reagan, pleading his case that the government free the live POWs. Hendon and Stewart directly accuse a long list of government officials of the coverup. Among the most culpable: Kissinger, President George H.W. Bush, Senators John McCain and John Kerry, Gen. Colin Powell, former secretary of state George Schultz and former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld. It's a chore wading through the live-sighting reports and the massive, detailed endnotes, but the descriptions of Hendon's unsuccessful personal mission provide an intriguing story—and carry the ring of truth. 36 b&w photos not seen by PW . (June 1)

Reviewed on: 04/09/2007
Release date: 00/00/0000
Paperback - 587 pages - 978-0-312-38538-5
Open Ebook - 608 pages - 978-1-4299-2290-6
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