Download Defiant: The POWs Who Endured Vietnam’s Most Infamous Prison, the Women Who Fought for Them, and the One Who Never Returned Audiobook

Defiant: The POWs Who Endured Vietnam’s Most Infamous Prison, the Women Who Fought for Them, and the One Who Never Returned Audiobook, by Alvin Townley Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Alvin Townley Narrator: Joe Barrett Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2017 ISBN: 9781538465806
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book)
Coming Soon! We're adding audiobooks daily and hope to make this one available for download very soon. Submit your vote below to let us know you really crave this title!
Vote this up! This audiobook has 0 votes

The story of the indomitable American POWs who endured “Alcatraz,” the Hanoi prison camp where North Vietnam locked its most dangerous and subversive prisoners, and the wives who fought to bring them home

During the Vietnam War, hundreds of American prisoners of war faced years of brutal conditions and horrific torture at the hands of communist interrogators who ruthlessly plied them for military intelligence and propaganda. Determined to maintain their code of conduct, the inmates of the Hanoi Hilton and other POW camps developed a powerful underground resistance. To quash it, the North Vietnamese singled out its eleven leaders, Vietnam’s own “dirty dozen,” and banished them to an isolated jail that would become known as Alcatraz. None would leave its solitary cells and interrogation rooms unscathed; one would never leave.

As these men suffered in Hanoi, their wives launched an extraordinary campaign that would ultimately spark the POW/MIA movement. When the survivors finally returned, one would receive the Medal of Honor, another became a US senator, and a third still serves in congress. A story of survival and triumph in the vein of Unbroken and Band of Brothers, Defiant will inspire anyone wondering how courage, faith, and brotherhood can endure even in the darkest of situations.

Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “A gripping account of the ‘Alcatraz Eleven’…Townley’s telling of these important stories is fresh and vivid, thanks to his interviews with surviving prisoners and their family members. Defiant is an excellent book for younger readers with little knowledge of this searing chapter in American history, when a brash United States stumbled its way deeper and deeper into the Indochina morass. Townley also adds an important, and often overlooked, dimension to the prisoners’ stories—that of their wives’campaign at home to thrust the plight of the POWs into the national spotlight.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Where do we get such men like the Alcatraz Eleven? Captured during a controversial war and imprisoned by a cruel enemy, this stirring tale by Alvin Townley of resilience and leadership under unimaginable conditions is a must read.”

    Captain James A. Lovell, Jr., commander of Apollo 13

  • Defiant is a riveting tribute to the unyielding men who endured years of brutal captivity as POWs in Vietnam and the families they left behind. The men of the ‘Alcatraz Eleven’ are true American heroes, and their extraordinary stories will serve as an inspiration for generations to come.”

    Senator John McCain

  • “That most tragic war in American history, Vietnam, demanded more from many American servicemen than humans should have to endure. That some Americans are asked by fate to give so much while most others give so little is one of the insoluble conundrums of our age. Alvin Townley’s story of the courage, valor, and honor of eleven indomitable POWs and their wives is a new American classic that will be read as long as the breezes kiss Old Glory. As I read it I wept.”

    Stephen Coonts, New York Times bestselling author

  • “A unique American epic which must never be forgotten. Thanks to Alvin Townley’s ability to convert its heartbreaking reality into vivid prose, its men and women are alive as human beings as well as symbols of their commitment to each other—and their country.”

    Thomas Fleming, New York Times bestselling author

  • “In Defiant, Alvin Townley reveals a moving, inspiring, untold story of courage and sacrifice that stands as a vivid testimony to what the human spirit can overcome. This is an important and too often overlooked aspect of the Vietnam War’s history. But for those interested in Vietnam’s Band of Brothers, it is a must read.”

    Jay Winik, New York Times bestselling author

  • Defiant is an astounding story that will capture your heart and mind, proving once and for all that determination trumps circumstance.”

    Andy Andrews, New York Times bestselling author 

  • “An engaging account that focuses on about a dozen of the captives…Townley writes reverently of these POWs, whom he calls ‘American stalwarts,’ ‘defiant patriots,’ and ‘corralled incorrigibles.’”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “If the suffering of American POWs at the hands of their Vietnamese captors was unimaginable, this audiobook goes some way to make that expeience vivid…The anguish of the POWs comes through in [Barrett’s] voice…Townley weaves a remarkably detailed account.”


  • “Townley composes a complex historical narrative covering roughly 1965 to 1973, following two parallel elements: the experiences of POWs in the notorious ‘Hanoi Hilton,’contrasted with their families’ anguish and, more broadly, the American military’s declining fortunes in the conflict…An inspirational yet grueling read that demonstrates the price some paid for patriotism in a different era and another unpopular war.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • Defiant is Unbroken meets Band of Brothers—and then some. In it, Alvin Townley’s vivid prose reveals the epic story of the Alcatraz Eleven—Vietnam’s own Dirty Dozen—and how their wives never stopped fighting for their safe return. The devotion and undefeatable will of these courageous American heroes shines on every page and reminds us exactly what our great nation is made of.”

    Congressman Pete Sessions

  • “If you have ever wondered how real courage and ultimate perseverance should be defined, all you need to do is read these pages. If you have ever pondered whether Americans still have the grit and the ‘guts’ to show the world what it takes to defend freedom, reading about  the ‘Alcatraz Eleven’ will bolster your confidence. What these men endured nearly defies description, but Alvin Townley has managed to pull it off brilliantly. The writing is hard-hitting and powerful, dynamic and breathtaking. So, too, is his retelling of the stoic courage of the loved ones stuck at home with uncertainty and doubt: uncertainty about their own abilities to bear up, then doubt in the fortitude and truthfulness of their own government. What the families did from afar, and how they ultimately put backbone into their own leaders and pushed accountability onto the captors of the POWs, is a story heretofore largely untold. It is a narrative as striking in its own right as the tales of the ‘Alcatraz Eleven’ themselves.”

    Phil Keith, award-winning author of Blackhorse Riders and Fire Base Illingworth

  • Defiant is all about voices—those that went unused for days by solitary prisoners of war and those of silently suffering women back home who eventually felt no choice but to speak out. Alvin Townley soberly evokes the terror, sadness, frustration, pain, and inspiration they all felt and along the way gives us a Vietnam War most of us have never heard about, involving legions of American women and imprisoned men fighting together, thousands of miles apart.”

    Alan Huffman, author of Here I Am: The Story of Tim Hetherington, War Photographer

  • “The story of human courage, individual and family perseverance, survival based on a warrior’s code of honor. Alvin Townley weaves the recollections of these remarkable men into a compelling narrative against the backdrop of war, freedom, forgiveness, and reconciliation. An inspirational account of POWs who served with honor while in captivity and returned home with a commitment to serve their country.”

    Larry Berman, author of Zumwalt: The Life and Times of Admiral Elmo Russell “Bud”Zumwalt, Jr.

  • “I carried this book from room to room and kept trying to put it down, but I couldn’t stop reading. Alvin Townley shows the heart of what it means to be American in this tale of some of our greatest heroes. Defiant is superb.”

    Gregory A. Freeman, author of The Gathering Wind: Hurricane Sandy, the Sailing Ship Bounty, and a Courageous Rescue at Sea

  • “With Defiant, Alvin Townley has done readers a huge favor. By describing the POWs’ scenes of torture and deprivation in such detail—to the point we can almost feel our own bones crack under pressure—he reminds us that we should never take our civil liberties for granted. This book is a testament to the human spirit and how, in the worst of conditions with the best of men, it can be bent but never broken.”

    David Abrams, author of Fobbit

  • “Alvin Townley’s Defiant is a compelling recounting of the horror, hope, hell, and humanity that was daily life for the American prisoners of war who struggled through existence at Hanoi’s most brutal prison camp. Expertly researched and compellingly written, Townley’s account of the reality of life both in Hanoi’s prisons and for the families of the prisoners at home is inspiring reading and should be part of any Vietnam War library.”

    Andrew Wiest, author of The Boys of ’67

  • Defiant is a must-read for those who seek to understand and honor the very best of America and its heroes. Alvin Townley’s exhaustive research shows us how our prisoners of war in Vietnam served with inspired bravery and unrelenting courage. We can now know in detail how the most abused of them all survived years of brutality and solitary confinement.”

    Melvin R. Laird, Secretary of Defense (1968–1972)

  • “Alvin Townley has done a magnificent job of weaving together the powerful and complex story of eleven men who survived the unbelievable cruelty of their North Vietnamese captors. Defiant honors the bravery and sacrifice of our prisoners of war and their families as no other reporting has done to date. These men, many of whom I knew, deserve no less.”

    Richard G. Capen, assistant to the secretary of defense (1968–1971)

  • “I couldn’t put it down! Alvin Townley’s work speaks volumes of America and our service men and women, and their spouses…their honor, steadfastness, perseverance, spirit, and love of country…and clearly illuminates the differences in our militaries and governments. Reading ‘today’ of their time in captivity brings the same emotions America shed upon their release and return in 1973.”

    General J. H. Binford Peay III, US Army (Ret.); superintendent, Virginia Military Institute; former commander-in-chief, US Central Command

Listener Reviews

Be the first to write a review about this audiobook!
Write a Review

About the Author

Alvin Townley is the author of Legacy of Honor, Spirit of Adventure, and Fly Navy. He lives in his hometown of Atlanta, Georgia.  

About the Narrator

Joe Barrett, an actor and Audie Award and Earphones Award–winning narrator, has appeared both on and off Broadway as well as in hundreds of radio and television commercials.