• by Alvin Townley
  • Narrated by Joe Barrett
  • 14 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The story of the indomitable American POWs who endured "Alcatraz", the Hanoi prison camp where North Vietnam locked up its most dangerous and subversive prisoners, and the wives who fought to bring them home.
During the Vietnam War, hundreds of American prisoners of war faced years of brutal conditions and horrific torture at the hands of communist interrogators who ruthlessly plied them for military intelligence and propaganda. Determined to maintain their code of conduct, the inmates of the Hanoi Hilton and other POW camps developed a powerful underground resistance. To quash it, the North Vietnamese singled out its eleven leaders, Vietnam's own "dirty dozen", and banished them to an isolated jail that would become known as Alcatraz. None would leave its solitary cells and interrogation rooms unscathed; one would never leave.
As these men suffered in Hanoi, their wives launched an extraordinary campaign that would ultimately spark the POW/MIA movement. When the survivors finally returned, one would receive the Medal of Honor, another became a U.S. Senator, and a third still serves in Congress. A story of survival and triumph in the vein of Unbroken and Band of Brothers, Defiant will inspire anyone wondering how courage, faith, and brotherhood can endure even in the darkest of situations.


What the Critics Say

"Defiant is a riveting tribute to the unyielding men who endured years of brutal captivity as POWs in Vietnam and the families they left behind. The men of the ‘Alcatraz Eleven’ are true American heroes and their extraordinary stories will serve as an inspiration for generations to come." (Senator John McCain, POW, 1965-1973)
"These heroic men and women remind us how courage, devotion, and faith can triumph even in the darkest of times. In Defiant, Alvin Townley masterfully tells the inspirational and unforgettable story of our Vietnam POWs and the Alcatraz Eleven." (President Jimmy Carter)
"In a fast-flowing narrative replete with reconstructed dialogue, Townley writes reverently of these POWs." (Publishers Weekly)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Wow! All I can say is Wow!

I truly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in US history, Military History, or anyone looking to learn about the Vietnam War, the Hanoi Hilton, and the Americans who would call it home for 8+ years. What a read!

From the start, this book had my attention. I couldn’t put it down! This is the comprehensive history of POW servicemen during the Vietnam War and how they endured thru torture and mistreatment, eventually returning home as (mentally) strong and courageous as they were when they were taken prisoner. Each one of these men and their wives who were stalwart fixtures on the home front should be honored as heroes and patriots, and should be saluted by each American. They’ve earned it!

When captured, provide only your name, rank, and service number. That’s what these men did only to be tortured and beaten beyond human endurance. And even after the many beatings and deprivation, each one of them was able to endure solitary confinement (for some, as many as 8 years) without giving in to their Vietnam captors, defiant to the end. And in that time they were able deceive the camp authorities by creating a form of communication “Tap Code”, which allowed them to keep up with one another while in confinement.

After I completed the book I went online and was able to view a couple of YouTube videos from some of the veterans who survived as POW’s in Vietnam and the dialog was just as fascinating. To actually see the “Tap Code” being performed, and then to comprehend that another could easily decipher what was being said will floor you! This innovation is just another way of defining the resilience of American servicemen in captivity during the Vietnam War.

The orator did a good job with voice inflection and accents and was able to keep me listening. This is an excellent book, cover to cover and will give a mere glimpse of what these men went thru while the government took their time in gaining their release. Do yourself a favor and add this to your library. You will not be disappointed!
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- Rick "Rick H."

Unforgetable history, biography, inspirational

What did you love best about Defiant?

I loved the resilliance of these men, who supported each other through depravations of food, contact, water, cleanliness... their defiance by creating a code to communicate - sometimes behind the guards' back, sometimes with their averted eyes.
The torture depictions were difficult to listen to, but they were not grotesque for the sake of shock.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Defiant?

The homecoming, but even some days in the jail where some members were feeling so guilty for "breaking the code", the support they offered each other was so touching that I teared up.

What does Joe Barrett bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I fully agree with the reviewers who said he told the story with incflection and feeling, but did not compete with a strong narrative that stands on its own.

Any additional comments?

This book, though not easy to read, it unforgetable and unputdownable. I knew very little of the Vietnam war, since many histories have been written about WWI and WWII (and rightfully so). Read it!

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- Daryl

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-04-2014
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.