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The Enemy in Our Hands: America's Treatment of Enemy Prisoners of War from the Revolution to the War on Terror Hardcover – Apr 21 2010

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 468 pages
  • Publisher: Univ Pr of Kentucky (April 21 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813125898
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813125893
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 816 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,316,830 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"" "The Enemy in Our Hands" exmaines American actions regarding POWs from George Washington's leadership in the American Revolution through both World Wars to the present." -- "The Lone Star Book Review"" --

About the Author

Robert C. Doyle, professor of history at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, is the author of A Prisoner's Duty: Great Escapes in U.S. Military History and Voices from Captivity: Interpreting the American POW Narrative. He has been a history consultant on multiple films and documentaries, including Hart's War (2002). He lives in Steubenville, Ohio.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3 reviews
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Korea chapter misses the mark Oct. 4 2013
By Bill Haywood - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a review of Chapter 12 on communist prisoners held in Korea, because it is what I have detailed knowledge of. The author thoroughly misunderstands the issue and is unaware of basic research.

Doyle presents the U.S. military interpretation of events on Koje-do, the prison island that held at its peak 170,000 communist prisoners. Many POWs turned against communism and said they would refuse to go home after the war. The U.S. announced it would not forcibly repatriate them, creating a public relations debacle for China and North Korea. To avoid the embarrassment of foot soldiers defecting en masse, they demanded full repatriation and continued the war for 18 months unsuccessfully trying to get it. That's the official story, but it's been known to be thoroughly incomplete since at least 1983 when mainstream historians began debunking it.

Barton Bernstein (1983, in Cumings, _Child of Conflict_) and Rosemary Foot (1990, _A Substitute for Victory_) demonstrated that many of the communist prisoners were actually forced to renounce repatriation. They proved this with testimony from American officials including ambassador to South Korean John Muccio, armistice negotiator C. Turner Joy, and the State Department's Charles Stelle. A psychological warfare operation had sent South Korean and Chinese nationalist agents into Koje-do to organize a defection campaign. Aided by the guards, they took control of one barracks after another, then terrorized prisoners into refusing repatriation. A minority of prisoners were anticommunist and assisted them. After the armistice the nonrepatriate prisoners were put under the jurisdiction of troops from India for 120 days where they were supposed to be able to change their minds and go home without danger. But the barracks leaders used squads of brutal, deadly enforcers who prevented POWs from approaching the gates. This is documented by two Indian authors in _History of the Custodian Force (India) in Korea_ (Prasad 1976) and _India's Role in the Korean Question_ (Dayal 1959).

Doyle does not downplay the psyops defection program, he leaves it out altogether. As a result, he accepts the claim of American officers that the rioting and killings on Koje-do were due to the communists' fanatical insistence that POWs continue combat operations after capture. There was some of that. But the scope and intensity of fighting came from prisoners trying to keep control of their barracks from the KMT and ROK agents bent on forced non-repatriation.
Five Stars July 13 2014
By FocusedOne - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This little-known story in America's history is a wonderful supplement to our knowledge.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
POW History Fascinating March 22 2014
By George Gerhart - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a former U.S. Army officer and Viet Nam war combat veteran, I saw some prisoners and heard tales of what might happen to them. I also enjoy learning about history and, in particular, military history.This book fulfilled all of my expectations and then some about the subject. Mr. Doyle provided fascinating insights about the various levels of accepted treatment of prisoners throughout our country's history.

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