Two Souls Indivisible

Two Souls Indivisible

The Friendship That Saved Two POWs in Vietnam

Book - 2004
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James Hirsch recounts one of the great friendships of the twentieth century forged in one of the most horrific settings that century produced--a North Vietnamese POW camp its inmates called the Zoo. One prisoner, Fred Cherry, was a pioneering air force pilot and the first black officer captured by the North Vietnamese. The other, a young navy flier named Porter Halyburton, was a racist southerner who doubted that a black man could even be a pilot. Their captors threw them into the same fetid cell, believing that their antipathy toward each other would break them both. But Cherry and Halyburton overcame their initial suspicions and saved each other's lives.
When Halyburton first saw him, Cherry was a wreck. One arm, damaged in his plane crash, hung uselessly at his side. He hadn't bathed in weeks, and he could barely walk. In his own mind, Cherry was steeling himself for death. Halyburton was also weakening, emotionally battered from the interrogations and isolation that his sheltered life had not prepared him for. He had to learn how to endure, or he would become one of the incoherent wraiths who haunted the Zoo.
Halyburton and Cherry became legendary among fellow POWs for the singular friendship that enabled them to overcome prodigious suffering and unspeakable torture. Hirsch weaves through this account a surprising, sometimes shocking view of the toll these men's captivity took on their loved ones. While Cherry's family was sundered by his absence, Halyburton's bond with his wife, Marty, endured and deepened. We see her receive the news of her husband's death, and we share her mingled elation and fear when she later learns that he is in fact alive and imprisoned. We also witness her unlikely rise to a leading role in the battle to bring the POWs home.
Often inspiring, sometimes heartbreaking, Two Souls Indivisible shows how trust and hope can cheat death, and how good people can achieve greatness in hellish circumstances.
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 2004.
ISBN: 9780618273485
0618273484
Branch Call Number: 959.70437092273 H669
Characteristics: 274 p., [8] p. of plates : ill. ; 24 cm.

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ChristchurchLib Apr 21, 2013

"Fred Cherry, an Air Force bomber pilot, and Porter Halyburton, a Navy jet navigator, were shot down over North Vietnam in 1965 and incarcerated in the infamous prison called the Hanoi Hilton. The North Vietnamese wanted Cherry, the highest ranking black POW, to sign statements intended to demoralise black American troops. They placed Halyburton, a white Southerner, in Cherry's cell in hopes of inciting conflict between the two men. Instead, Halyburton saved Cherry's life, caring for his wounds, bathing him, and making sure that he ate. After Cherry recovered, the unlikely companions sustained each other for eight years, forming a strong friendship and remaining dedicated to their patriotic ideals. Publishers Weekly calls this a "compelling story told compellingly well."" April 2013 Biography and Memoir newsletter http://www.nextreads.com/Display2.aspx?SID=5acc8fc1-4e91-4ebe-906d-f8fc5e82a8e0&N=623168

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