A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.
When consider major historical events that involved millions of people— World War 2, the Great Depression, the Cold War—it’s easy to forget that real people with their own stories were part of those events.
Today we’re zeroing in on one story. And that’s the story of James Shively, an Air Force Pilot who was shot down over North Vietnam in 1967 and spent six years in the infamous Hanoi Hilton POW camp. To talk with us is Amy Shively Hawk, Jim’s stepdaughter and author of the new book Six Years in the Hanoi Hilton: An Extraordinary Story of Courage and Survival in Vietnam.
After being shot down, Shively endured brutal treatment at the hands of the enemy in Hanoi prison camps. But despite unimaginable horrors in prison, the contemplation of suicide, and his beloved girlfriend moving on back home, he somehow found hope escaping prison and eventually reuniting with his long-lost love – proving, in his words, that “Life is only what you make of it.”
In this interview we discuss:
- How Capt. Shively was shot down, what happened when he was captured, and his fate at the hands of Vietnamese villagers
- What kept Captain Shively hopeful during his six years as a prisoner of war
- What happened to the whole prison when two fellow inmates escaped but were captured the next day
- How prisoners built a full prison communications system using Morse code, toilet paper, and hidden messages even though cell blocks were forbidden from speaking to each other under threat of torture
About Amy: Amy Shively Hawk is the stepdaughter of James Shively, who married Amy’s mother after his release from a Hanoi prison when Amy was five years old. Amy’s background is in journalism, speaking, and advertising/marketing.
RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
Amy’s book Six Years in the Hanoi Hilton
Headstrong: Healing the Hidden Wounds of War
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Cite This Article"#70: A Vietnam POW’s Story of 6 Years in the Hanoi Hilton — Amy Shively Hawk" History on the Net
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March 27, 2023 <https://www.historyonthenet.com/70-vietnam-pows-story-6-years-hanoi-hilton-amy-shively-hawk>
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