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Five Years to Freedom [Mass Market Paperback]

James N. Rowe
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
RRP: 5.99
Price: 5.59 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

6 Sep 1984
When Green Beret Lieutenant James N. Rowe was captured in 1963 in Vietnam, his life became more than a matter of staying alive. In a Vietcong POW camp, Rowe endured beri-beri, dysentery, and tropical fungus diseases. He suffered grueling psychological and physical torment. He experienced the loneliness and frustration of watching his friends die. And he struggled every day to maintain faith in himself as a soldier and in his country just as everything appeared to be turning against him. By turns harrowing and triumphant, Five Years to Freedom is an unforgettable true story of survival and testimony to the disciplined human spirit.

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books Inc.; 1st Ballantine Books Ed edition (6 Sep 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345314603
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345314604
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 10.4 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 132,311 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


The Most Important Book Ever Written About The Vietnam Experience. The people of the United States can be immensely proud of Nick Rowe and Americans like him who have resisted and survived the worst abuse a brutal enemy could visit upon us. --Robin Moore ' If you can read this story and not weep, you are inhuman.' --The Cincinnati Post

About the Author

James N. Rowe was an officer in the Green Berets and was part of the small advisory force sent to assist the South Vietnamese in 1962. Captured by the Viet Cong in 1963 and marked for execution, Rowe succeeded in escaping after five years of captivity. After the war, Rowe was assigned to the Philippines to train the army to fight communist guerillas. On April 21, 1989, Rowe was assassinated by communist insurgents in a suburb of Manila. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
TWO HU1- HELICOPTERS PUSHED NORTHWARD, TWO thousand feet above the swamp and rice paddy domain of the Mekong Delta's Vietcong legions, their blades beating a steady rhythm against the air. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a Book!!! 3 Sep 2006
By Adrian
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I have recently started reading more and more on the Vietnam War and I have found this account of an American POW (Nick Rowe) truely amazing! The more I read abourt this subject, the more I want to find out about this dark period in American history. Nick Rowe's account of his treatment after being captured in 1963, really expresses what every American POW went through and their battle to survive not only through malnutrition and disease, on a day to day basis, but also through American scout missions and bombing runs. One can only imagine the physical and mental stress POWs went through. I really felt I was with them the more I read, not only with Nick Rowe, but his other American colleague's who were captured with him and others who were caught after. This book is probably one of the most heart-rendering accounts I have ever read. Definately a book I couldn't put down the moment I started reading it and one that put a lump in my throat at the end! If you are remotely interested about the history of the Vietnam War and the study of POWs during this period I would strong advise you to go ahead and buy this book!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book that defines courage. 25 April 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I had the opportunity to spend a day at Nick Rowe's house back in 1980. At that time he autographed his book for me. He was a very impressive individual. He was very articulate and soft spoken and posessed a quiet strength. His book brought tears to my eyes when I first read it back in 1980. I reread it again just recently and I had the same reaction. I remember the day he was killed in the Philippines, it made me very sad. If one want to know the meaning of courage they need only to read this book. He was a great American and I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to meet him.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I read "Five Years to Freedom" shortly after returning from Nam. I was both familiar with the area that he operated in and with the unit that affected his rescue. He was rescued by an observor on a LOH from the 7/1 1st Avn Brdg. That man was shot down and killed in 1968. As brave a man as the one that he rescued. A great book to read.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
James N (Nick) Rowe was the quintiessential Green Beret. His story is about how
he survived for 5 years as a prisoner of war of the Viet Cong. His story is about
the pressures of survival of day to day torture and interrogation. He tells of
seeing his friends die. His experience was the basis for the US Army starting the
school to teach military personnel how to survive in captivity. He escaped on his
way to be executed after Jane Fonda brought a
copy of POW personnel files during her visit to North Vietnam. COL Rowe is credited
for many saves with the quality of his teachings. The book is a fast read and shows
how articulate Nick Rowe was.

SIDE NOTE: COL Jame "Nick" Rowe was assasinated in the Phillipines on 21 April 1986.
The US State Department called it a "Random Terrorist Act". But he was killed 21 years
after his escape on the 2100 block and shot 21 times. Only the Embassy knew his route
that day and he was ordered NOT to be armed, though his name was on a "hit" List.
Aquino granted freedom to all of his killers several years ago. You can visit Nick's
grave. It's on the hill next to the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetary.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most gripping story I've ever read. 13 Sep 1998
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Mr Rowe suffered five years of unimaginable horror for values he believed in. The strength of his character is incredible. While telling his story, he also tells us what a true hero is like. It's not Rambo or Chuck Norris single-handedly blowing their way out of a POW camp. Rather, it is one mans daily struggle for physical, mental and spiritual survival. God bless him.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A knock-out high action tale ! 1 May 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Five Years To Freedom is a book to really make one re-evaluate one's life. What is important in life? Maybe no one has the answer but Nick Rowe's book will really make you think. It's impossible not to be affected by this reaffirmation of faith, hope, and courage.
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2.0 out of 5 stars not that good 20 Feb 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Husband read this and said not that good also didn't think I would enjoy it so have not read this book my self, I can say is read a sample first
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5.0 out of 5 stars nerve shredding 2 Nov 2013
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I experienced many emotions whilst reading this book,pride,horror,disbelief,despair at mans inhumanity to man,and finally a huge feeling of elation and relief when he finally escaped his sadistic captors. What a man,a real hero,who despite all he suffered,clung on to his principles and love of his country,and in the end triumphed over evil. This book will move you to tears.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Emotional reading this.
Excellent book. I found it a difficult read, in as much as the content is harrowing and really upsetting. Glad I read it though. Read more
Published 13 days ago by Sharon
4.0 out of 5 stars Book
This is a interesting book, it is worth a read if you are into this topic. Quite reasonably priced too.
Published 11 months ago by cheryl
5.0 out of 5 stars A very interesting read about a hugely challenging situation
Really thought provoking read. Well written and the detail is amazing considering the situation.
A different angle on most war stories.
Published 14 months ago by picture perfect
3.0 out of 5 stars not bad
i dont know about this book really, it starts off a bit sort of muddy and confusing and gets quite good in the middle before tapering off again. Read more
Published 17 months ago by chocy
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Story
I have read many Vietnam war books and this I have to say rates in the top ten.
Rowe describes the environment in amazing detail with out being tedious, yes this is a big book... Read more
Published on 16 Sep 2011 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Brand new book...what more can you say
This was a brand new book delivered on time and in excellent condition. What more can you say! Haven't read it yet but it is next on my list!
Published on 14 Mar 2010 by G. Lewis
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book
I have read a good number of books about Vietnam POWs and this is undoubtedly one of the best. The reader does not need an extensive knowledge of the conflict to get the best out... Read more
Published on 23 Jun 2004 by Bhaskar
5.0 out of 5 stars A gripping read of a ture life story
This book was written as a true reflection of the ordeal that Nick Rowe was subjected to during his stay with the Vietcong. Read more
Published on 3 Jan 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the best book on human survival I have ever read.
When I went to work for Nick Rowe in the spring of 1987 I could not Imagine the impact he would have on my life. He was the most caring , understanding man I have ever known. Read more
Published on 31 July 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book about the horrors of war
I was with COL Rowe when they brought him back on active duty in 1976 to teach at FUSAAIS. "From one Green Beret to Another" is how he signed by copy. Read more
Published on 13 July 1999
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