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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
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,442,051 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


""The lesson... is clear: an improvised POW policy for a conflict with an irregular foe leads into a legal and ethical quandry."--Joint Forces Quarterly" --

""The Enemy in Our Hands represents a significant contribution to the study of American military history and superb starting point for scholars interested in America's treatment of its enemies."--Military Review" --

""Doyle provides excellant context for non-expert readers... the importance of captives to the outcome, and a vivid picture of life in captivity."--Choice" --

""This is a must read, a valuable resource, and an outstanding documentation of prisoners in American wars."--Journal of America's Military Past" --

""A superb study that examines EPWs, interned enemy aliens, and American political prisoners with valuable primary documents and statistics in the extensive appendix. This work will generate debate on the definition of POWs since Doyle has broadened the context to include enemy nationals and political prisoners. By analyzing a wider range of security threats, Doyle is not limited by conventional standards in framing the debate regarding the future development of national policies and international law to deal with non-state combatants." --American Historical Review" --

""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" --

""A thorough treatment of the subject...highly readable and relevant."--Teaching History" --

"The lesson... is clear: an improvised POW policy for a conflict with an irregular foe leads into a legal and ethical quandry." -- " "Joint Forces Quarterly""

""Doyle's comprehensive and balanced analysis of the ways America has treated enemy prisoners of war should be required reading for anyone addressing that controversial subject. Thoroughly researched and clearly written, incorporating civilian as well as military prisoners, covering a spectrum from Loyalists to American Indians to Germans and Japanese, The Enemy in Our Hands offers a unique perspective on who and what Americans are."--Dennis Showalter, author of "Patton and Rommel: Men of War in the Twentieth Century"" --

""Given the worldwide controversy over America's handling of captured personnel during its recent military incursions in Iraq and Afghanistan, Robert C. Doyle's The Enemy in Our Hands provides a much-needed, scholarly perspective on this country's historical treatment of prisoners of war, or "enemy combatants," as President George W. Bush referred to them. Because so much of this material has not previously appeared in print, The Enemy in Our Hands reinforces Doyle's reputation as America's foremost scholar on POWs, past and present."--Lewis H. Carlson, author of "Remembered Prisoners of a Forgotten War: An Oral History of Korean War POWs and We Were Each Other's Prisoners: An Oral History of World War II American and German Prisoners of War."" --

""Incredibly informative and insightful, Robert Doyle reveals fascinating truths about the treatment of enemy POWs. I now realize just how lucky I am to have survived almost six years in the hands of my brutal North Vietnamese captors. No nation, during any war, has extended such humane treatment to POWs as by the United States."--Captain Mike McGrath, USN (ret.), author of "Prisoner of War -- Six Years in Hanoi, and former president of NAM-POWS, Inc."" --

""Casting a wide net, this book delivers a scholarly, lucid overview of America's handling of POWs of all stripes: military, civilian, and irregular.... Doyle delves deeply, and military buffs will consider it the definitive treatment."-- "Publishers Weekly"" --

""The moral and historical issues here will be of interest to military students, historians, political scientists, ethicists, and similar scholars.... Strongly recommended."-- "Library Journal"" --

""[The Enemy in Our Hands] is supported by sound scholarship but written in clear, non-pedantic language appropriate to its remarkably insightful and balanced analysis.... A definitive single volume."-- "Proceedings of the US Naval Institute"" --

""[Doyle] examines American actions regarding POWs from George Washington's leadership through both World Wars to the present."-- "Tucson Citizen"" --

""As current events continually shape the context of modern warfare, Doyle's work will assist American consideration of how its treatment of EPWs defines national character."-- "Franciscan Way"" --

""With the very definition of 'torture' subject to partisan politics, [Doyle] is content to objectively relay the precedents that shaped America's treatment of captured enemies without pointing fingers or making sweeping judgments.... What readers are left with is a lively primer illuminating the people, events and prejudices that have shaped the government's handling of prisoners of war and homegrown political dissidents over time."-- "Miller-McCune"" --

""The Enemy in Our Hands is an insightful and balanced work of history, supported by sound scholarship and written in clear, non-pedantic language. It gives the reader a comprehensive review of American foreign policy over six decades, giving a guided tour of America's battles and wars to get to the heart of the treatment of prisoners by the United States and, collaterally, the treatment of American prisoners by other countries."-- "Naval History"" --

""Comprehensive, covering all of the expected prisoner of war populations, as well as the perhaps less expected topics of Loyalist and Quaker prisoners during the American Revolution, Native Americans as POWs, the Spanish American War and the War in the Philippines, domestic internees during World War II, the Phoenix program in Vietnam, and prisoners of the 'War on Terror.'"-- "Book News"" --

""Show[s] the improvised and inconsistent nature of US policies in most past wars....Doyle emphasizes individual experience in the cultural history of war and relies more on personal interviews. He also places heavier emphasis on civilian captives and methods of dealing with wartime disloyalty. Highly recommended."-- "Choice"" --

""Brings together a vast quantity of mostly secondary sources to describe the way in which the United States has treated POW's over approximately 240 years.... Fills a void that has existed for many years."-- "On Point"" --

" ""The Enemy in Our Hands" represents a significant contribution to the study of American military history and superb starting point for scholars interested in America's treatment of its enemies."-- "Military Review"" --

""Contains an informative chapter on the Vietnam War. Doyle shows that with some notable exceptions, Americans in Vietnam treated enemy prisoners in accordance with Geneva Convention rules."-- "VVA Veteran"" --

""Doyle provides excellent context for non-expert readers... the importance of captives to the outcome, and a vivid picture of life in captivity."-- "Choice"" --

"" "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"" --

From the Inside Flap

Winston Churchill once remarked, "A prisoner of war is a man who tries to kill you and fails, and then asks you not to kill him."

Discovery and exposure of the U.S. military's inhumane treatment of detainees at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison and the Guantanamo Bay detention camp generated a media frenzy that many argue irrevocably damaged America's reputation as a world leader. Worldwide scrutiny of the photos and descriptions of the abuse of enemy prisoners of war, or EPWs, from the war on terror incited allegations of human rights violations and possible war crimes and left many wondering whether the mistreatment of these prisoners was an isolated set of circumstances or, conversely, one example among many of atrocities rooted in our nation's history.

Drawing from diverse primary sources, military historian Robert C. Doyle illuminates America's prisoner of war policies from the founding era to the present. A work of history with direct relevance to contemporary events, The Enemy in Our Hands: America's Treatment of Prisoners of War from the Revolution to the War on Terror examines every major war and conflict, from the American Revolution through the Civil War, both world wars, Vietnam, and Afghanistan, to provide a comprehensive understanding of American treatment of EPWs.

Doyle offers a nuanced interpretation of American military history, suggesting that the treatment of EPWs in each conflict was a unique reflection of the prevailing political attitudes of the day. The military's incarceration practices with prisoners, particularly its methods used for interrogation, have evolved dramatically since the prisoner exchanges of the American Revolution. Using graphic details of the experiences of captured enemy combatants and civilians, The Enemy in Our Hands explores each war's adherence to international standards of conduct, including the 1929 Geneva Convention.

The Enemy in Our Hands is a complete cultural analysis of a complicated issue the nation has struggled with since its inception. As the context of modern warfare continues to be shaped by current events, it is incumbent upon America to consider its treatment of EPWs and how that treatment defines national character.

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 historical consultant on multiple films and documentaries, including Hart's War (2002)."

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xb3ba0b7c) out of 5 stars 3 reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xb3c0fe40) out of 5 stars 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.
HASH(0xb3a69588) out of 5 stars 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
HASH(0xb3a694d4) out of 5 stars 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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