‘The Untold Story of the Women Who Took On the U.S. Government
to Bring Their Husbands Home’
By Heath Hardage Lee
I discovered this book and its author through Twitter. Although not a memoir, I could see right away that this was an incredible story of women who took on the U.S. government to get their POW/MIA husbands home from Vietnam. After reading about the book on Ms. Lee’s website and learned about her touring the country and military bases along with some of the wives she wrote about, I did not hesitate to order both the book and audio version, recorded by Heath Lee herself. This book has become one of my ALL TIME FAVORITES!
“League of Wives” is the story you won’t see in a documentary about the Vietnam War. Those specials dwell on what the government was doing in that war and what the men endured as prisoners. Back on the home front were the wives and children left behind without support of husbands, fathers, or their government. Most were wives of officers who had learned in the Officers’ Wives Handbook—“Don’t do anything to embarrass or jeopardize your husband’s careers.” But after years of waiting and getting no answers, enough was enough! The wives joined forces and took on the government.
Ms. Lee did a beautiful job with her research and attention to detail. She interviewed many of the wives who are still living, prisoner of war John McClain, and Bob Doyle, to name a few. You get to know the women and their struggles and start to understand what they had to deal with the time the first plane was shot down in 1967. Tired of waiting for answers from the government, who wanted the situation hidden away from the public, they came together and organized themselves taking on the government.
The book includes the history of the POW/MIA flag and the POW/MIA bracelets*, so many of us wore. The women used a secret code to get messages to and from their husbands in letters, always fearing their husbands would be killed by the NVM if they found out.
Most of the help came from outside the government, and you will learn about Ross Perot’s assistance and the involvement of the peace activists like Cora Weiss. You will feel the wives’ frustration and will be appalled when you read that Bob Dole was the first senator to bring their plight before Congress in 1970, only to find that many members of Congress didn’t even know what POW or MIA stood for! (Congress was just as clueless then as it is today!)
I gave the book five stars! I wasn’t the only one who loved it. Reese Witherspoon bought the movie rights! I can’t wait for it to hit the big screen. So I challenge you to read this book FIRST! Click on the link above that will take you to Amazon.
Congratulations! Ms. Lee
Much Success with this and your FUTURE projects!
*Major Perry Jefferson – Capt. Perry H. Jefferson, USAF was the name engraved on my POW/MIA bracelet. After wearing the silver bracelet for years, I removed it for the first time before boot camp (NO jewelry allowed). While I was gone, my niece wore it and returned it to me after graduation. Unfortunately, with years of wear, it broke while I was making my rack at my first duty station, Areogphers Mate School at NAS Lakehurst, NJ. I remember the loss and sadness I felt and in 1974 there had been no updates on his MIA status. I kept the bracelet and traced his name from the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington D.C.
Major Perry Henry Jefferson, U. S. Air Force – 37-year-old from Colorado. Capt. Jefferson failed to return from an observation mission on April 3, 1969. In 2001, a Vietnamese national living in California turned over his remains to U.S. officials stating that they were recovered at a site where two U.S. pilots crashed. In 2007 he was identified and his remains were turned over to his family. Capt. Jefferson was post-humorously promoted to Major. Thirty-nine days from the day he disappeared, he was buried with full honors in Arlington National Cemetary.
P.S. Read my other review, Lady Leathernecks.