hits counter The League of Wives: The Untold Story of the Women Who Took on the U.S. Government to Bring Their Husbands Home - Ebook PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

The League of Wives: The Untold Story of the Women Who Took on the U.S. Government to Bring Their Husbands Home

Availability: Ready to download

"With astonishing verve, The League of Wives persisted to speak truth to power to bring their POW/MIA husbands home from Vietnam. And with astonishing verve, Heath Hardage Lee has chronicled their little-known story — a profile of courage that spotlights 1960s-era military wives who forge secret codes with bravery, chutzpah and style. Honestly, I couldn’t put it down." — Be "With astonishing verve, The League of Wives persisted to speak truth to power to bring their POW/MIA husbands home from Vietnam. And with astonishing verve, Heath Hardage Lee has chronicled their little-known story — a profile of courage that spotlights 1960s-era military wives who forge secret codes with bravery, chutzpah and style. Honestly, I couldn’t put it down." — Beth Macy, author of Dopesick and Factory Man The true story of the fierce band of women who battled Washington—and Hanoi—to bring their husbands home from the jungles of Vietnam. On February 12, 1973, one hundred and fifteen men who, just six years earlier, had been high flying Navy and Air Force pilots, shuffled, limped, or were carried off a huge military transport plane at Clark Air Base in the Philippines. These American servicemen had endured years of brutal torture, kept shackled and starving in solitary confinement, in rat-infested, mosquito-laden prisons, the worst of which was The Hanoi Hilton. Months later, the first Vietnam POWs to return home would learn that their rescuers were their wives, a group of women that included Jane Denton, Sybil Stockdale, Louise Mulligan, Andrea Rander, Phyllis Galanti, and Helene Knapp. These women, who formed The National League of Families, would never have called themselves “feminists,” but they had become the POW and MIAs most fervent advocates, going to extraordinary lengths to facilitate their husbands’ freedom—and to account for missing military men—by relentlessly lobbying government leaders, conducting a savvy media campaign, conducting covert meetings with antiwar activists, most astonishingly, helping to code secret letters to their imprisoned husbands. In a page-turning work of narrative non-fiction, Heath Hardage Lee tells the story of these remarkable women for the first time in The League of Wives, a book certain to be on everyone’s must-read list.


Compare

"With astonishing verve, The League of Wives persisted to speak truth to power to bring their POW/MIA husbands home from Vietnam. And with astonishing verve, Heath Hardage Lee has chronicled their little-known story — a profile of courage that spotlights 1960s-era military wives who forge secret codes with bravery, chutzpah and style. Honestly, I couldn’t put it down." — Be "With astonishing verve, The League of Wives persisted to speak truth to power to bring their POW/MIA husbands home from Vietnam. And with astonishing verve, Heath Hardage Lee has chronicled their little-known story — a profile of courage that spotlights 1960s-era military wives who forge secret codes with bravery, chutzpah and style. Honestly, I couldn’t put it down." — Beth Macy, author of Dopesick and Factory Man The true story of the fierce band of women who battled Washington—and Hanoi—to bring their husbands home from the jungles of Vietnam. On February 12, 1973, one hundred and fifteen men who, just six years earlier, had been high flying Navy and Air Force pilots, shuffled, limped, or were carried off a huge military transport plane at Clark Air Base in the Philippines. These American servicemen had endured years of brutal torture, kept shackled and starving in solitary confinement, in rat-infested, mosquito-laden prisons, the worst of which was The Hanoi Hilton. Months later, the first Vietnam POWs to return home would learn that their rescuers were their wives, a group of women that included Jane Denton, Sybil Stockdale, Louise Mulligan, Andrea Rander, Phyllis Galanti, and Helene Knapp. These women, who formed The National League of Families, would never have called themselves “feminists,” but they had become the POW and MIAs most fervent advocates, going to extraordinary lengths to facilitate their husbands’ freedom—and to account for missing military men—by relentlessly lobbying government leaders, conducting a savvy media campaign, conducting covert meetings with antiwar activists, most astonishingly, helping to code secret letters to their imprisoned husbands. In a page-turning work of narrative non-fiction, Heath Hardage Lee tells the story of these remarkable women for the first time in The League of Wives, a book certain to be on everyone’s must-read list.

30 review for The League of Wives: The Untold Story of the Women Who Took on the U.S. Government to Bring Their Husbands Home

  1. 5 out of 5

    Dorie - Cats&Books :)

    3 ½ rounded up to a 4. When the draft lottery for the Vietnam War started in 1969 I was dating my husband, then a college student, he was extremely fortunate not to have been called to serve. Afterwards the Vietnam War went on and on and while I remember a lot of news about it, I can’t say that I followed it closely. That’s one reason why this book attracted my attention, I wanted to know more about the MIA’s and POW’s. I have also heard that Reese Witherspoon is going to make a movie about it. In 3 ½ rounded up to a 4. When the draft lottery for the Vietnam War started in 1969 I was dating my husband, then a college student, he was extremely fortunate not to have been called to serve. Afterwards the Vietnam War went on and on and while I remember a lot of news about it, I can’t say that I followed it closely. That’s one reason why this book attracted my attention, I wanted to know more about the MIA’s and POW’s. I have also heard that Reese Witherspoon is going to make a movie about it. In March of 1964 the first reported capture of a US serviceman in Vietnam was reported. By the end of the war approximately 2,500 servicemen and other personnel had been reported as prisoners of war or missing in action. What I liked about this book is that it didn’t concentrate on the politics of the war, that you can read about in numerous other historical books. This was strictly about the wives of the missing men and how, after battling their own government and Hanoi finally had had enough and banded together to get their men home. I didn’t realize how much President Johnson failed to implement plans to investigate how many men were MIA’s and how many men were being captured and tortured in Vietnam prisons. His lack of communication to the public and these military wives was atrocious. The wives banded together and started to lobby the government leaders and run a media campaign. From many parts of the US they banded together to get the answers they needed. When Richard Nixon became President he was much more willing to listen to these women and realized that they were, indeed, a force to be reckoned with. On February 12, 1973, 115 men who had been POW’s arrived at Clark Air Force base in the Philippines. After these and other men arrived home news finally reached the public about the horrific conditions that these men had been held under and the severe torture that many endured. The women described in this book had to change their lives and in some cases their personalities from being dutiful military wives to creating a group of strong, resourceful, incredibly effective spokeswomen for their husbands and families. They were true heroes and it wasn’t until the men were home that they realized what a large part their wives played in obtaining their release. This is a highly detailed, well researched book. I did get bogged down in some areas and felt myself skimming to get through some of the book. The writing is very good and if the subject interests you I highly recommend you pick up this book. I received an ARC of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

    3.5 stars There, there darlin, I know you are upset. I promise you we’re doing everything possible to get information about your POW/MIA husband. We’re asking the Swiss Red Cross to intercede with Hanoi and give us a status report. Now dry your eyes and powder your nose. Leave it to us. We’ll get results. But nothing happens. The North Vietnamese don’t respond. The Swiss are denied entry into Vietnam. Wives are in limbo. What are you going to do? In The League of Wives you find out what gets done a 3.5 stars There, there darlin, I know you are upset. I promise you we’re doing everything possible to get information about your POW/MIA husband. We’re asking the Swiss Red Cross to intercede with Hanoi and give us a status report. Now dry your eyes and powder your nose. Leave it to us. We’ll get results. But nothing happens. The North Vietnamese don’t respond. The Swiss are denied entry into Vietnam. Wives are in limbo. What are you going to do? In The League of Wives you find out what gets done and by who. It’s the wives of POW/MIA who take action. These stay at home wives, who followed the rules of etiquette for military wives as outlined in handbooks supplied them by service branches, did what officials couldn’t. Led by Jane Denton, Sybil Stockdale and Louise Mulligan, they stepped into the spotlight for their husbands. They left behind the safety of home for the role of lobbyer of government officials, speech giver and public spokesperson. They not only wrote letters to the editor, they met the newspaper editors. Not a big deal you say. All these actions demanded resolve, skill, tenacity, and a willingness to speak forcefully to powerful individuals. These women did not take that pat on your head as the end of their job. They took getting their husbands home as the end of their job. Meeting the President of the U.S. was part of their plan: so was meeting anti war activists. In The League of Wives, author Heath Hardage Lee unfolds the story of the women who gave their all to bring their POW husbands home from Vietnam. Underneath the pillbox hat was more than a bouffant hairdo - there was a strong willed human brain churning out ideas to get husbands home. The reader is made aware of the outcome in this story. The story is not do they succeed, it is the story of how they succeeded. It is an admirable story. I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley. #NetGalley #TheLeagueofWives

  3. 5 out of 5

    Christopher

    At the beginning of the Vietnam War hundreds of American soldiers were considered either missing or captured, and President Johnson’s administration approached their families with a simple message: keep quiet. With little information sharing, most families did just that. But then footage started appearing from North Vietnam confirming the worst. In one video, Admiral Jeremiah Denton discussed how great he’d been treated, but his eyes told another story— literally, he blinked out a message in Mor At the beginning of the Vietnam War hundreds of American soldiers were considered either missing or captured, and President Johnson’s administration approached their families with a simple message: keep quiet. With little information sharing, most families did just that. But then footage started appearing from North Vietnam confirming the worst. In one video, Admiral Jeremiah Denton discussed how great he’d been treated, but his eyes told another story— literally, he blinked out a message in Morse Code: TORTURE. And that’s when most wives of service members could no longer remain quiet. There are some stories that are so unbelievable that it’s imperative for historians to eventually explore what happened for a broader audience. Fortunately, author Heath Hardage Lee has expertly crafted these wives’ experiences into an engrossing, revealing narrative. She’s done this by tapping into a common thread for these women— frustration. Frustration at war. Frustration at being unable to speak publicly in their grief. Perhaps above all else, frustration at the lack of attention when they finally did go public. This is palpable on the page as they navigate the bureaucracy of Washington and the stubbornness of Hanoi all in the name of finding answers. While the broad history of this movement is fascinating, it’s Lee’s exploration of how this frustration shaped the individual women that makes this work so compelling. There’s a rotating cast, though Lee remarkably keeps each of the wives distinguished and memorable. Led by the captivating and focused Sybil Stockdale, most balked at the idea of becoming activists. And yet they bonded to form support groups that eventually expanded into the National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia. Today, it’s frustrating that the story of this courageous group of women isn’t more renowned. However, Lee’s tremendous work finally gives them some of the celebration they’re due. Note: I received a free ARC of this book through NetGalley.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    Thank you St.Martin's Press for allowing me to review The League of Wives. Releasing April 2/19, this is a remarkable story. I first became interested in this book when I heard that Reese Witherspoon had signed on to adapt and produce this book. She always chooses to portray the most interesting stories about women. The League of Wives is an incredibly detailed book detailing the group of wives who's husbands were MIA in the Vietnam war. These men were captured by the Vietnamese and held in horri Thank you St.Martin's Press for allowing me to review The League of Wives. Releasing April 2/19, this is a remarkable story. I first became interested in this book when I heard that Reese Witherspoon had signed on to adapt and produce this book. She always chooses to portray the most interesting stories about women. The League of Wives is an incredibly detailed book detailing the group of wives who's husbands were MIA in the Vietnam war. These men were captured by the Vietnamese and held in horrible conditions in camps. Wounds were barely treated, some suffered in solitary confinement and some were marched through angry crowds to be beaten and belittled. The families were left in limbo and were barely given any information. With their husbands not in active duty nor killed in action, they often had trouble accessing paycheque and other benefits military wives usually rely on while their husbands are away. After years of trying to tow the company line, they formed The League of Wives to keep the missing men and POWs in the minds and hearts of the government and the media, and did everything they could to try and get their husbands home or at least out of the camps that tortured them and they were treated inhumanly in. The League of Women was a dense and very detailed account of this fight. I found it a little hard to keep all the names and dates and events straight. But, I am glad I learned more about these woman and am very excited to see it come alive in screen.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Janet Newport

    Thank you Net Galley and St Martin's Press for this arc. I was 9 years old in 1965 when this slice of history began. I remember my Mom fighting tooth and toenail to be admitted into law school (a fight that lasted her nearly eight months). The Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been enacted and in Birmingham, Alabama the struggle to achieve racial integration was slow and awkward at best. I was a kid. I was aware of the War in Viet Nam by junior high. It wasn't until I was in high school before my folk Thank you Net Galley and St Martin's Press for this arc. I was 9 years old in 1965 when this slice of history began. I remember my Mom fighting tooth and toenail to be admitted into law school (a fight that lasted her nearly eight months). The Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been enacted and in Birmingham, Alabama the struggle to achieve racial integration was slow and awkward at best. I was a kid. I was aware of the War in Viet Nam by junior high. It wasn't until I was in high school before my folks encouraged us kids to watch the war reports on the evening news. Yes, I had a POW/MIA bracelet …. Jeremiah Denton was a "State Son". What I was unaware of is the fight these ladies put up.... with the military and the government(s). I cannot imagine the transformation they had to go through from the Stepford Wife / Donna Reed model expected of military officer's wives to the fighting tigresses they had to become in order to survive their ordeal (all the while trying to raise their children). Heath Hardage Lee has done a excellent job documenting their grit and determination in their fight to bring their husbands home from Viet Nam. I finished this feeling that yes, cynicism will serve us all well at some time and also proud that I have a vagina.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jordan

    This book was a slog to get through, to the point that I didn't even care at the end when the POWs were released--I just wanted to finish. The author also did a fantastic job making it as difficult as possible for me to empathize with the wives. (view spoiler)[ I'd say it's just because I personally don't have anything in common with their political philosophies and thus it's hard to put myself in their shoes, but then I realized that the author was...conveniently not mentioning certain things ab This book was a slog to get through, to the point that I didn't even care at the end when the POWs were released--I just wanted to finish. The author also did a fantastic job making it as difficult as possible for me to empathize with the wives. (view spoiler)[ I'd say it's just because I personally don't have anything in common with their political philosophies and thus it's hard to put myself in their shoes, but then I realized that the author was...conveniently not mentioning certain things about history to make the situation seem more black and white than it was. Which is an odd choice to make with a book about the Vietnam War, an era that is popularly characterized by shades of gray. She reduced anti-war activists to manipulated simpletons or evil incarnate and refused to examine how class structures affected how the POW/MIA wives (all married to officers) interacted with anti-war sentiment from those enlisted and those under pressure of the draft. For example, Lee brushes right by the Pentagon Papers and the revelation that American soldiers died due to the war being started, continued, and dragged out under false pretenses, instead choosing to frame opposition to continuing the war as people being cruelly indifferent to the suffering of POWs (and their families). This read to me instead as callousness on the part of the POW/MIA wives, which I'm sure wasn't the effect the author wanted. The book was filled with moments like this, which led me to conclude that Lee just didn't want to tell a complicated story, and was willing to oversimplify not only one of the major political movements of the 60s-70s to do it, but the political divisions in the League of Families--the very subject of her book! Her other book looks like it's engaging in "Lost Cause" historical revisionism, so I can say that I won't be pursuing this author's other books in the future. (hide spoiler)]

  7. 4 out of 5

    Joanne

    What a disappointment. This could have been, should have been a great story. It is unfortunate a better writer did not take it on. The book is an account of the wives of servicemen, whose planes were shot down, during the Vietnam war. These women took on the Johnson and Nixon administration, in an effort to go public with what was happening in the prison camps. For nearly 4 years the Washington DC swamp trolls, hid and falsified the truth about the torture and abuse captured U.S. military were fa What a disappointment. This could have been, should have been a great story. It is unfortunate a better writer did not take it on. The book is an account of the wives of servicemen, whose planes were shot down, during the Vietnam war. These women took on the Johnson and Nixon administration, in an effort to go public with what was happening in the prison camps. For nearly 4 years the Washington DC swamp trolls, hid and falsified the truth about the torture and abuse captured U.S. military were facing. The North Vietnam administration refused to allow the Red Cross into the prison camps and would not release names of prisoners. Women across the country were left with no answers and stayed in a sort of limbo "were they wives or widows?". In a time when women were still shunned in the "Great Halls of Government" these women got fed up and became activists. As I said-what a great story, that's never been told in it's entirety. I hope that someone else re-writes the story of these women. The entire star rating, that I give here, is for the brave women who would not take no for an answer.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Christine Mott

    The League Of Wives By: Heath Hardage Lee 5⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ It’s been a long time since I read something that truly moved me in a very personal way. This book is about the wives of the POW/MIA soldiers who were in Vietnam. 🇻🇳 Sybil Stockdale’s husband Jim, was a Naval pilot who was shot down and captured in Vietnam. Jane Denton’s husband Jerry was also shot down. The men were close friends. It seemed the Navy pilots were being shot down and captured or missing. 🇻🇳 This story tells how all the wives banded The League Of Wives By: Heath Hardage Lee 5⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ It’s been a long time since I read something that truly moved me in a very personal way. This book is about the wives of the POW/MIA soldiers who were in Vietnam. 🇻🇳 Sybil Stockdale’s husband Jim, was a Naval pilot who was shot down and captured in Vietnam. Jane Denton’s husband Jerry was also shot down. The men were close friends. It seemed the Navy pilots were being shot down and captured or missing. 🇻🇳 This story tells how all the wives banded together and took on the government to bring their husbands home. Many people did not realize how little the American people knew about POW/MIA and the treatment they were receiving in Vietnam. 🇻🇳 I admit I knew very little about this time. My dad served in Vietnam but thankfully came home. #theleagueofwomen, #heath_lee, #heathhardagelee, #stmartinspress, #vietnam, #warcrimes, #pow, #mia, #military, #government, #stamperlady50, #booksconnectus, #socialdistancing, #bookreview, #bookstagram . Things I took away from this book. . Women can form friendships in the most difficult times. As a former military brat and wife I know this to be true. You become a family. . The government would not help for many years and the women persisted until their husbands came home. They became independent, strong, and gained a strength they never knew they had. . Texan Ross Perot helped these women and tried to get aid to the men. . LBJ was horrendous to these women and Nixon helped them in many ways that was unnoticed until it was all over. . An unlikely hero Naval Commander Robert “Bob” who worked for Naval Intelligence helped the women out where many people turned their backs and told the women to “keep quiet”. . I can see why many men came back, including my dad and did not want to talk about Vietnam. The torture and atrocities they endured could break any human spirit. . Just my opinions. 🤗

  9. 5 out of 5

    Terry

    Some heroes wear uniforms and other heroes are married to them. This is the story of heroes who fought bravely in Vietnam, were captured and cruelly tortured while held prisoner. It's also the story of heroes who fought bravely and unceasingly to bring them home. Soon to be a movie, but I highly recommend reading the book first. It's important and worth it. Some heroes wear uniforms and other heroes are married to them. This is the story of heroes who fought bravely in Vietnam, were captured and cruelly tortured while held prisoner. It's also the story of heroes who fought bravely and unceasingly to bring them home. Soon to be a movie, but I highly recommend reading the book first. It's important and worth it.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Dree

    This book provides a fascinating look at what POW wives were doing on the homefront during the Vietnam War. This book provides a different perspective on the Vietnam war era, looking at a group commonly ignored. It provides a unique glimpse into 60s culture, the Vietnam era, military standards, and the treatment of women. Though the wives tried to play by the good military wife handbook and follow the LBJ administration's request for staying on the down low, they gave up as the years dragged on. This book provides a fascinating look at what POW wives were doing on the homefront during the Vietnam War. This book provides a different perspective on the Vietnam war era, looking at a group commonly ignored. It provides a unique glimpse into 60s culture, the Vietnam era, military standards, and the treatment of women. Though the wives tried to play by the good military wife handbook and follow the LBJ administration's request for staying on the down low, they gave up as the years dragged on. The feds and the military had no plans on how to act with a rogue government that was not observing the Geneva Conventions (though why would you expect a rogue government to do so?). The wives cooperated with an intelligence officer to send coded messages, they traveled, they worked on public opinion. They organized non-political groups (local and national), held conventions, met with the press and officials around the world, wrote letters and did everything they could to help bring their husbands home. Now, did the really have any effect? Wasn't the general public (the great unwashed, not the officers' families, see below) tiring of sending their sons off to Vietnam to be killed? Since many of the men had been held for 5-7 years, did the women really "take on the government" to "bring their husbands home"? They certainly tried, but were they truly successful or was the general public really just over it? Lee does point out that, largely, POWs in Vietnam were of a different class and rank than in previous wars. These were aviators--highly educated, often upper class, highly trained, and trained for resistance in case of capture (chapter 2). For the most part their wives were also highly educated (over educated, for women who were expected to be perfect wives) and often from the upper class. And she admits that because these were a different sort of people, the pilots were more valuable to the military--though the military and the government was not acting on that. I found this assumption that, because of their social status, that these men were more important than POWs in past wars. They could certainly be seen as more valuable to the military--who was not making any effort to get them back--but wouldn't that also make them more valuable for the North Vietnamese to keep? There were some areas I would have liked to see more information on. 1) Finances: the military had no way to get women their husbands' paychecks when they were POWs, creating severe economic strain. Only many of these women were NOT poor--Lee mentions constant flying back and forth, private college, and prep school (good lord). But what about the MIA wives? Presumably they were not being paid since they were MIA. Did they need to work? Did they need to repay paychecks when their husbands were declared dead? 2) MIA wives in general. The book ends with them largely being shuffled offstage as their husbands were declared deceased. They weren't invited to parties and did not appear on newspapers and in magazines. Were they given any help at all? Did the League do anything for these women that had worked so hard, only to have their dreams crushed? 3) Did any branch of the military being using the SERE training for more men? Lee suggests this training limited the PTSD in the POWs--the one wife she studied who's husband did come home with PTSD was army and not a pilot, so presumably did not go through SERE. Pet peeve: throughout this book women are generally referred to by their first names. Children by their first names. Soldiers by first/last or first if mentioned with their wives. Government officials and other men by their last names. Here in this book announcing the role they played in the war, and they are still being treated like children. ———— Thank you to NetGalley and St Martin's Press for providing me with a digital galley of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    These women are the true definition of grit, grace, perseverance, and strength. In the future, every time I feel sorry for myself during a deployment, I'll think about these women and the trials they endured. It can not be underestimated how rare it was for women to speak up and step up to the plate with aplomb like these women did. The "Officer Wive's Handbook" is no joke. Still, to this day, we are encouraged not to do anything to interfere with our husbands' career trajectories, The actions o These women are the true definition of grit, grace, perseverance, and strength. In the future, every time I feel sorry for myself during a deployment, I'll think about these women and the trials they endured. It can not be underestimated how rare it was for women to speak up and step up to the plate with aplomb like these women did. The "Officer Wive's Handbook" is no joke. Still, to this day, we are encouraged not to do anything to interfere with our husbands' career trajectories, The actions of these women were epic and unprecedented. I enjoyed learning the stories of "the league of wives" but I found the details difficult to slog through at times, and that's coming from someone who lives the military life!! An interesting and eye-opening and inspiring story for sure. Thank you to NetGalley for an advance copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)

    Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press and Heath Hardage Lee for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me. Like: - I could see this making a good movie. - Different women and their personalities represented - Recognize some of the POWs as future politicians - A not too political look at the Vietnam War Love: - The feminism - The wives went from shutting up, behaving themselves, and being good Navy Wives to forces of nature changing thoughts and minds during the Vietnam W Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press and Heath Hardage Lee for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me. Like: - I could see this making a good movie. - Different women and their personalities represented - Recognize some of the POWs as future politicians - A not too political look at the Vietnam War Love: - The feminism - The wives went from shutting up, behaving themselves, and being good Navy Wives to forces of nature changing thoughts and minds during the Vietnam War #BadAssLadies - Dislike: - Many parts are boring and drawn out - the first 1/2 of the book Wish that: - It was not as underwhelming - Got to the interesting parts quicker Overall, a good interesting book about the strong women whose husbands were POW/MIA soldiers during the Vietnam War. It’s a heartwarming story about a terrible event, but the details don’t interest me that much.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Cindy

    The women in this book are true heroes - they took on their husband's roles and responsibilities in their marriages while they were POWs (not an easy task in those years) and charged ahead into unchartered territory as activists. Their activism may have saved the lives of their husbands and hundreds of other POWs. It is truly an inspiring story but I found it difficult not to skim through much of the detail in the middle third of the book. This is a really interesting topic that I knew very litt The women in this book are true heroes - they took on their husband's roles and responsibilities in their marriages while they were POWs (not an easy task in those years) and charged ahead into unchartered territory as activists. Their activism may have saved the lives of their husbands and hundreds of other POWs. It is truly an inspiring story but I found it difficult not to skim through much of the detail in the middle third of the book. This is a really interesting topic that I knew very little about prior to reading this book but I felt there was simply too much detail to rate it higher than 3 stars. Thank you to NetGalley for providing me an early release in exchange for an honest and fair review.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Betsy Ashton

    I had two strong reactions to this book: wonder at the strength and courage these women expressed in fighting for their husbands' safe return, and sadness because a large number of women never were recognized by the US government as needing the same respect the wives received. These are the women who were engaged, but not yet married, to service members. We didn't count. Heath Lee's book is a true tour de force. These women were polite, focused on their goals, and relentless in their pursuit of g I had two strong reactions to this book: wonder at the strength and courage these women expressed in fighting for their husbands' safe return, and sadness because a large number of women never were recognized by the US government as needing the same respect the wives received. These are the women who were engaged, but not yet married, to service members. We didn't count. Heath Lee's book is a true tour de force. These women were polite, focused on their goals, and relentless in their pursuit of getting their men returned. If you've never read about the wives left behind and what they did to get the POW husbands home, this is the book for you. Uplifting. Thought-provoking. Astonishingly direct. I could not put it down.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tina Burch

    This book tells the empowering tale of life as a POW/MIA wife and the struggles they faced to get their government to listen to them and bring their loved ones home. It was a good read, but there were parts that I didn't feel should have been included as they didn't fit with the story, just the time. Once you got past all that and things started happening, it was a quick read. I did struggle in other areas and it was hard to focus, but I learned a lot about how the government worked and covered u This book tells the empowering tale of life as a POW/MIA wife and the struggles they faced to get their government to listen to them and bring their loved ones home. It was a good read, but there were parts that I didn't feel should have been included as they didn't fit with the story, just the time. Once you got past all that and things started happening, it was a quick read. I did struggle in other areas and it was hard to focus, but I learned a lot about how the government worked and covered up certain discrepancies. Thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for the advanced copy.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    Interesting view points that I did not know before. I wish the pictures had been put into the book where that part was being discussed. I love history and getting a new perspective on concepts that were glossed over even in my college history education. We all need to remember what women stood up for in history and be proud of that! What will our future generations say about us? What injustices have we fought- against societal norms- that will positively impact our nations future?

  17. 5 out of 5

    Cindy Joyce

    This was a great telling of history; one I was not completely familiar with. The women were forces in the POW return. The Richmond connection was fun too. However, it was far too tedious and too long. I am confident she didn’t want to leave anyone out but some of the stories were repetitive and could have been left out.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Susan Morris

    3.5 stars. It’s difficult to grasp what these families went thru when their loved ones were captured or missing in Vietnam. A thoroughly researched book on how wives organized to fight back after being told by the U.S. government to wait quietly and not talk about their husbands’ captivity. (Own)

  19. 4 out of 5

    Donna Hughlett

    Great book. Did not know that the wives were the ones that got the government to do something. Government actually told the wives to be quiet about it. Highly recommend!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Joanne

    5 stars for the history. Rarely does a book make me mad...this one did. And kudos to those brave women!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    I wore a POW bracelet in high school. I remember the campaign very well. Sadly, my POW didn’t make it. This story of the POW/MIA wives is something I never knew about. It’s an inspiring story.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    League of Wives is a fascinating account of the changing role of POW/MIA wives during the Vietnam War. The wives initially remained by-the-book and kept news about their husbands and how they were being mistreated silent. However, there was soon a transition to them taking a more active role in aiding their husbands once they realized the LBJ and his administration was not doing all it could to help. While the focus of the book was on getting action to take place regarding the POWs, it also brie League of Wives is a fascinating account of the changing role of POW/MIA wives during the Vietnam War. The wives initially remained by-the-book and kept news about their husbands and how they were being mistreated silent. However, there was soon a transition to them taking a more active role in aiding their husbands once they realized the LBJ and his administration was not doing all it could to help. While the focus of the book was on getting action to take place regarding the POWs, it also briefly covered the changing times within the U.S which I enjoyed. It was a cohesive, well-organized, and well-researched nonfiction piece. Kudos to those courageous women! Thank you to St Martin's Press and Netgalley for an advanced copy of this book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mary Jo

    A great account of a tragic subject. At the time I was a protected mostly oblivious high school/college student. I have to admit to some skimming but the book was an eye opening read for me even in this late part of my life.

  24. 4 out of 5

    m_miriam

    While I appreciate that history is nuanced and complicated, I was very bothered that the author, as a historian, left so much of her personal perspective on the page. The author painted Nixon in such a positive light and failed to take a nuanced view of the antiwar movement. Additionally, the narrative was so repetitive, the book suffered from sense of redundancy. While the personal stories POWs and their families are fascinating, I was not invested in any of the personal stories described.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    On March 26, 1964 the first U.S. serviceman to be captured in Vietnam was shot down near Quang Tri, South Vietnam. By the end of the war in 1973 America listed around 2,500 personnel as either a prisoner of war or missing in action. Now, imagine you’re the wife of one of those prisoners of war. Early on, you’re having to deal with the administration of President Lyndon Johnson and its “keep quiet” policy. The government of North Vietnam paints a rosy picture of how your spouse is being treated, e On March 26, 1964 the first U.S. serviceman to be captured in Vietnam was shot down near Quang Tri, South Vietnam. By the end of the war in 1973 America listed around 2,500 personnel as either a prisoner of war or missing in action. Now, imagine you’re the wife of one of those prisoners of war. Early on, you’re having to deal with the administration of President Lyndon Johnson and its “keep quiet” policy. The government of North Vietnam paints a rosy picture of how your spouse is being treated, even providing photographs and film footage of him and other seemingly healthy prisoners, some of them even smiling for the camera. One day you’re watching the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite and see film footage of your husband being marched through the streets of Hanoi, being abused by soldiers and civilians along the way. Suddenly, you see your husband speaking to the camera about how well he’s being treated by his captors. He’s blinking in an odd manner. He’s actually blinking Morse Code. – — .-. – ..- .-. . That’s code for TORTURE. You, and the other wives, become fed up with the government and Armed Forces protocol for spouses of service members. You begin going public with your concerns. You become strange political bedfellows with anti-war activists, because that’s the primary way that letters can flow between you and your husband. You learn how to code these letters, and your husband answers in code. You help create an organization that still exists today as The National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia. There is strength in numbers, so the organization becomes politically powerful. When Richard Nixon becomes president, he realizes that these women are a force to be reckoned with. When your men finally come home, the president gives you all the credit. Five hundred ninety-one POWs came home in 1973. Had it not been for the work of their wives and other family members, that number may have been far less. Heath Hardage Lee has written a book where readers will find themselves caught up in a gripping drama. It’s worthwhile reading about a story that needs to be told. You’ll feel the frustration of these wives as they deal with a political and military bureaucracy that views them simply as ‘the girls,’ continually underestimating the power that these wives, eventually, will wield as they begin to go public with their stories. You’ll also feel their joy as they welcome their husbands home, along with the frustration and sadness of the families whose men are still listed as missing. Much is still being done on behalf of missing American personnel going back to The Great War. This work is being done by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, an organization based in Hawaii that is leading the effort to identify the missing and the unknown using DNA technology. For more information on their work please visit https://www.dpaa.mil/. For more information on The National League of POW/MIA Families please visit https://www.pow-miafamilies.org/.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    My thoughts Would I recommended it? Yes Would I read more by this author? yes Wow this is why I love reading nonfiction so much because it brings to life the history that we never hear about while we were in school because while I do remember hearing and talking about Vietnam but never have I heard anything about these brave women who came together to help bring their husbands home. As I was reading it all I can think of was how brave they were and that they deserved their story to be told and the My thoughts Would I recommended it? Yes Would I read more by this author? yes Wow this is why I love reading nonfiction so much because it brings to life the history that we never hear about while we were in school because while I do remember hearing and talking about Vietnam but never have I heard anything about these brave women who came together to help bring their husbands home. As I was reading it all I can think of was how brave they were and that they deserved their story to be told and the author did an amazing job bring their lives as well as this part of our history to life. The hard ships they went though trying to found out what was going, as well as trying to get someone or anyone to listen shows just how strong they was and had to have been. And the way they was treated by our government was just wrong, like they couldn't even get their husbands pay to pay bills, get food or any of that stuff,and was told to not even talk about their husbands out side their families .They had no support from the government just themselves and each other, until one man came forward to help them. And even then it could mean death for their husbands but what else could they do. But this story is't just about them, its all so about the POWs and what they went though as well and how they was treated from been beaten , to tortured to be starved , to the point that the captors even tried to make them betray what they believed in. And right about now your probably asking what good is a story like this because it won't or can't change anything , and here's where I would said " its a story of heroes who fought bravely in Vietnam, were captured and cruelly tortured while held prisoner. It's also the story of heroes who fought bravely and unceasingly to bring them home.Its a story that needs to be so we can never forget and its a story that shows us just how strong we can be when others say we can't do anything. So with that I want to thank NetGalley for letting me read and review it.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mom

    True story about the MIA/POW wives/mothers who took on the Lyndon B Johnson government to bring their husbands/sons home from Vietnam and other South Asian prisons. The LBJ gov not only gave them the run-around, they also lied about how their loved ones were treated in Communist-controlled prisons. The Viet Cong defied the Geneva Convention, by preventing the Red Cross from entering the camps, keeping the men in solitary confinement, torturing them daily, refusing letters from/to home, refusing True story about the MIA/POW wives/mothers who took on the Lyndon B Johnson government to bring their husbands/sons home from Vietnam and other South Asian prisons. The LBJ gov not only gave them the run-around, they also lied about how their loved ones were treated in Communist-controlled prisons. The Viet Cong defied the Geneva Convention, by preventing the Red Cross from entering the camps, keeping the men in solitary confinement, torturing them daily, refusing letters from/to home, refusing them medical treatment and providing horrid living conditions and rotting food. The LBJ gov't. also initiated a stay quiet and let the gov't handle it approach, which prolonged the torture of the imprisoned men. To make matters worse, the anti-war groups were advocating for the Communist regimes. Not only did the wives lose their husbands, but their husband's salaries. They couldn't access their own checking accounts because they were in their husband's names! The LBJ gov't. actually tried to cut off the prisoner's salaries leaving the families desperate. Some of these women had several children to take care of, while they wondered what became of their husbands. It wasn't until Nixon was elected that things began to turn around. Ross Perot, Bob Dole, Ronald Reagan, and Henry Kissinger were some of the few men who would listen and offered assistance. Some of these hundreds of men were imprisoned for 9 years, in unimaginable living conditions. Oddly only a small percentage went through PTSD when they got home, probably because of the intense training they went through before being deployed. Disappointing was how Sweden, who would not take sides in the conflict, would also not advocate for the minimal living conditions of the prisoners, and even took the Viet Cong's side in many cases. Heartbreaking were the MIA wives and mothers who never knew what happened to their husbands/sons and would never be able to bring their bodies home.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Crystal Arzu (Bookish in Midlife)

    As a Military Spouse, this book caught my attention. The League of Wives tells the story from the eyes of a group of POW/MIA spouses during the Vietnam War, and their back and forth struggle with the Government. They were instructed to keep mum on the statuses of their spouse’s conditions. In the beginning, they complied but became increasingly disenchanted with the Administration not doing enough to help our Soldiers. These Women banded together, took it public, and did what they felt was neces As a Military Spouse, this book caught my attention. The League of Wives tells the story from the eyes of a group of POW/MIA spouses during the Vietnam War, and their back and forth struggle with the Government. They were instructed to keep mum on the statuses of their spouse’s conditions. In the beginning, they complied but became increasingly disenchanted with the Administration not doing enough to help our Soldiers. These Women banded together, took it public, and did what they felt was necessary to bring their (and others) loved ones home. From hosting small meetings with local wives to using mass media to spread their plight, these women did it all. They took a time of hardship and turned it into a movement. Although the campaign was successful after their POW’s came home, and the fanfare died down, they had to readjust back into their normal lives. Any Military spouse can tell you there really isn’t such a thing after deployment. I can only imagine how they felt without the resources we have today that help us with reintegration. PTSD was acknowledged then, but not widely accepted as it is now. If you are looking for a detailed account of POW/MIA, this isn’t the book for you. There are parts of the book that seemed to drag on with no real context. However, I did like the back stories on the women involved and the changing times in the US during this war. My Husband has deployed, and this exact situation is a constant fear for Military Spouses. I commend the bravery of these Women and the sacrifices they made that has in tuned changed the way the Military handles these issues today. I also enjoyed references to various Military installations as I lived at or near a few that were mentioned. The book reminded me of Hidden Figures. Women have come so far from the ’50s and ’60s, and who doesn’t like reading about defying the odds? Rumor has it Reese Witherspoon may option this for a movie. If she does, I would definitely see it.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    As I read The League of Wives (from a Netgalley eARC) it made me think of the book Hidden Figures, another history of women in the mid 20th century who found themselves achieving so much more than was ever expected (especially by men). This story of the wives of Vietnam war POW and MIAs is something that definitely needed telling and it's a shame it's taken so long for it to happen. As someone who grew up in the 1960s and went to college in the early 1970s I lived through this era but although As I read The League of Wives (from a Netgalley eARC) it made me think of the book Hidden Figures, another history of women in the mid 20th century who found themselves achieving so much more than was ever expected (especially by men). This story of the wives of Vietnam war POW and MIAs is something that definitely needed telling and it's a shame it's taken so long for it to happen. As someone who grew up in the 1960s and went to college in the early 1970s I lived through this era but although I remember the articles about our prisoners of war vaguely (and I do remember the bracelets that were sold with the name of a POW or MIA member on them), this was peripheral to my life even though my father was a retired Air Force master sergeant and my home was around military bases. This book details the very long time some of these families waited to be reunited with their husbands and fathers and sons (and unfortunately to not be reunited in the case of most MIAs). Although Vietnam had signed the Geneva Convention it was never honored by them in the treatment of American prisoners.The premise of this book is that it was through the actions of these wives and their insistence to publicize their plight that helped bring about their final release and also to some degree improved their lot in captivity. For the first two years, the government's response under LBJ was mostly telling the wives to keep quiet and not cause waves. When Nixon was elected, his administration was more conciliatory but it was still many years before the war ended and our POW/MIAs were returned home. This is a very detailed book and sometimes that can slow the flow of the narrative but overall this is an excellent history that deserves to be told.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Anne Brown

    Warning - do NOT start reading this book unless you're ready to devote every waking minute to it until you reach the end. It's that good! During the Vietnam War I went from being a college student to a wife and then a mother. I'll admit that my daily life didn't leave lots of time for following the war and especially after my husband got a high number in the lottery. Sure, I read Newsweek every week but without the ceaseless 24/7 news we have today, it wasn't at the forefront of my life. This book Warning - do NOT start reading this book unless you're ready to devote every waking minute to it until you reach the end. It's that good! During the Vietnam War I went from being a college student to a wife and then a mother. I'll admit that my daily life didn't leave lots of time for following the war and especially after my husband got a high number in the lottery. Sure, I read Newsweek every week but without the ceaseless 24/7 news we have today, it wasn't at the forefront of my life. This book brought back a lot of memories - I remember so well wearing one of the POW bracelets (mine was for Lt Col Jack Bomar) and writing a letter of support for the POW/MIAs to my senators but beyond that, my involvement was minimal. Lee did an incredible amount of research for this book and captured so well the spirit and fight within these remarkable wives. They progressed from being the "sweet little submissive wife" to being "forces to be reckoned with" who confronted senators, presidents, diplomats and anyone within earshot. I have such admiration for the roles they assumed, their bravery and the work they did which obviously made a big difference in the treatment of the POWs and was instrumental in bringing them home. Thanks to Lee for bringing this book to fruition and not letting this part of US history languish without being acknowledged.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.