When Richard Bassett returned from Korea on convalescent leave in 1953, he set down his experiences in training, combat, and captivity. More than 20 years later, hospitalized for acute Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, he once again faced his personal demons. This work expands the memoir to include his post-war struggles with the US government and his own wounded psyche. He describes the shock of capture and ensuing long march to Pyokdong, North Korea, Camp 5 on the Yellow River, where many prisoners died of untreated wounds, disease, hunger, paralyzing cold, and brutal mistreatment in the bitter winter of 1950-51. He recounts Chinese attempts to mentally break down prisoners in order to exploit them for propaganda. He then takes the reader through typical days in a prisoner's life, discussing food, clothing, shelter, and work; the struggle against unremitting boredom; religious, social, and recreational diversions; and even those moments of terror when all seemed lost. It refutes Cold War-era propaganda that often unfairly characterized POWs as brainwashed victims or even traitors who lacked the grit that Americans expected of their brave sons.
Richard M. Bassett received a B.S. and M.S. from Florida State University. Before retiring in 1989 he was a high school social studies teacher.
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