According to the book description
of A Vietnam Experience: Ten Years of Reflection, “The decade that followed James Stockdale's
seven and a half years in a North Vietnamese prison saw his life take a number of different turns, from a stay in a navy hospital
in San Diego to president of a civilian college to his appointment as a senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution.
In this collection of essays he offers his thoughts on his imprisonment. Describing the horrors of his treatment as a prisoner
of war, Stockdale tells how he discovered firsthand the capabilities and limitations of the human spirit in such a situation.
As the senior officer in confinement he had what he humbly describes as “the easiest leadership job in the world: to
maintain the organization, resistance, and spirit of ten of the finest men I have ever known.”
His reflections on his wartime prison experience and the reasons
for his survival form the basis of the writings reprinted here. In subject matter ranging from methods of communication in
prison to military ethics to the principles of leadership, the thirty-four selections contained in this volume are a unique
record of what Stockdale calls a "melting experience"--a pressure-packed existence that forces one to grow.”
According to a reader of In Love and
War: The Story of a Family's Ordeal and Sacrifice During the Vietnam Years, “The BEST book I have
ever read. His recount of what he went through is outstanding. I cannot believe the personal, physical, emotional and spiritual
strength it took to endure 8 years as a prisoner of War... and the ways in which he communicated with other POW's, his
wife and the US government is unbelievable... brilliant. I read this book 2 years ago and gave it to a friend who gave it
to another couple friends cross country... eventually I got it back and gave it to my brother who gave it to his buddy...
I think either my dad or my uncle has it now. The best book I have read. I recommend it to anyone. and I can't wait to
read it again.”
Vice Admiral James Bond Stockdale,
USN, (ret.) was one of the most highly decorated officers in the history of the United States Navy. Stockdale led aerial attacks
from the carrier USS Ticonderoga (CVA 14) during the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin Incident. On his next deployment, while Commander
of Carrier Air Wing 16 aboard the carrier USS Oriskany (CVA 34), he was shot down over enemy territory on 9 September 1965.
Stockdale was the highest ranking naval officer held as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. He was awarded 26 personal combat decorations,
including the Medal of Honor and four Silver Stars. During the late 1970s, he served as President of the Naval War College.
Stockdale is also remembered as a candidate for vice president in the 1992 election, on Ross Perot's independent ticket.
Admiral James Stockdale died in 2005.
Admiral James Stockdale is the author of Thoughts of a Philosophical Fighter Pilot; A Vietnam Experience:
Ten Years of Reflection; and The Ethics of Citizenship. James Stockdale also co-authored
with this wife, In Love and War: The Story of a Family's Ordeal and Sacrifice During the Vietnam Years.
According to the book description of Thoughts
of a Philosophical Fighter Pilot, “Vice Admiral Stockdale was on active duty in the navy for thirty-seven
years. As a fighter pilot operating from an aircraft carrier, he was shot down over North Vietnam in 1965. As the senior naval
officer among the prisoners of war in Hanoi for seven and a half years, he was tortured fifteen times, put in leg irons for
two years, and confined in solitary for four years. This experience was the crucible for his philosophical thought on issues
of character, leadership, integrity, personal and public virtue, and ethics. Much of his philosophy is drawn from the stoic
philosophers, especially Epictetus, whom he had read before his capture. The selections in this volume converge around the
central theme of how man can rise with dignity to prevail in the face of adversity—lessons just as valid for the challenges
of present-day life as they were for the author's Vietnam experience.”