From the New York Times bestselling author of Sons and Soldiers comes the incredible but true story of Dieter Dengler, the only pilot to escape captivity from a POW camp in the Laotian jungle during the Vietnam War.
In February 1966, Dieter Dengler was shot down over "neutral" Laos in jungle territory controlled by Pathet Lao guerrillas and North Vietnamese regulars, who captured and held him in a fortified prisoner-of-war camp. Already a legend in the navy for his unique escape skills, the German-born Dengler proved to be no ordinary prisoner. Caught in a desperate situation, imprisoned by the enemy and by the jungle itself, Dengler set out to free not only himself but also other POWs—American, Thai, and Chinese—some of whom had been held for years.
This amazing story of triumph over seemingly insurmountable odds has been filmed by Werner Herzog as both a documentary (Little Dieter Needs to Fly) and a motion picture (Rescue Dawn, starring Christian Bale). Now Bruce Henderson, who served with Dengler aboard USS Ranger, tells the complete story of Dengler's captivity and remarkable escape—based on in-depth personal interviews as well as military archival materials, some never before made public—in this riveting account of unending optimism, courage, loyalty, and survival against overwhelming odds.
Bruce Henderson has written more than twenty books, including the national bestseller Hero Found and Rescue at Los Baños. Henderson served aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ranger (CVA-61) during the Vietnam War. He lives in Menlo Park, California.
“Dengler’s actual POW experiences are the centerpiece of the book, and, thanks to Henderson’s storytelling skill, these scenes often read like a first-rate suspense novel...poignant in its details. An engaging tale of a harrowing POW experience.” — Kirkus Reviews
"Hero Found is a dramatic and powerful page-turner about the inspirational and action-packed story of U.S. Navy carrier pilot Dieter Dengler. Any American who has ever gone to war, or has known those who have, will be deeply moved by this unforgettable story of escape and survival--against all odds." — A.J. Jacobs, New York Times bestselling author of The Know-It-All
“In Hero Found, Bruce Henderson’s writing is meticulous and compassionate, the kind of writing that comes from observing a moment in history up close, wondering about it for decades, and then returning to the scene to understand it once and for all.” — Amanda Ripley, contributing writer at Time and author of The Unthinkable
“This account of one of the most remarkable and thrilling episodes of the Vietnam War has been written with the understanding and feel of a shipmate of Dengler’s aboard the carrier Ranger. But there is no gold plating or false heroics. In his tough and gritty narrative, Henderson has deftly captured the pungent environment of the navy’s carrier pilots at war. Among the very best of its genre.” — A.J. Jacobs, New York Times bestselling author of The Know-It-All
“Bruce Henderson has done it again: vividly portraying young men at war and showing us the stuff from which Homeric heroes are made. Absorbing and thrilling.” — Vincent Bugliosi, author of Reclaiming History and Helter Skelter