The Cage Paperback – 1 Sep 2003
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In the library of pungent, grittily written books on the Vietnam war, Tom "Bud" Abraham's The Cage is something different--something very different indeed. Bud Abraham was one of the very few Englishmen who served in Vietnam. In the late 60s he took part in some of the most carnage-filled battles of the war as an officer in the first Cavalry Division. His courage gained him a slew of medals, and he even obtained one of the most prestigious decorations awarded by the American army, the Silver Star.
This astonishing testimony takes us into the very heart of that nightmare conflict, and some passages are positively lacerating in their impact. Captured by the Viet Cong during the Tet offensive, Abraham endured torture during the relentless interrogations, and his bold escape into the treacherous jungle was a classic case of from frying pan to fire: his ordeal (naked, hungry, terrified) brought him (Abraham tells us) to the level of a beast.
Abraham's ability to convey his own extreme psychological state is astonishing, but not just in terms of the Vietnam war: the book is equally involving when Abraham takes us on to the events that nearly destroyed his life 30 years after the conflict, when he had returned to England. Not a book for the squeamish, certainly, but the final effect of this trenchant and distinguished memoir is genuinely inspiring: a testimony to the endurance of the human spirit. --Barry Forshaw --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
"'An outstanding story of suffering and survival'" (Sunday Mirror)See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
It is concise, well written, to the point and blunt at times, yet Tom Abraham is able to combine the horrors and futility of that war without falling into the trap of being judgemental, as neither should you, when reading this book.
As an Englishman (a limey), one of the few to fight alongside, and be decorated by the American military, he is able to tell his story from a unique perspective. While at times disturbing, the book makes the reader stop and pause to think about the atrocities committed out there back then in the 1960's, where he finds himself, like many Americans, in the hostile jungles and climate of Vietnam, having to endure the unrelenting heat, with no real understanding of the people he is fighting, or even why.
It is during the ongoing carnage, and increasing chaos, accompanied by the stench of rotting flesh and unique smells of that country that he discovers how human life seems to have little value.
This gives great insight into the depth of fear that all soldiers at the time of the Vietnamese war must have felt, turning many into animals during their tour of duty.
The cage was not only a physical reality, out in Vietnam, but also about what he witnessed there, leading to him being trapped emotionally for years. It might have been torturous work escaping from the physical cage, but decades later, he is still confined emotionally, and like others, often reliving the horrors, years after the war was over, with no help for them once back in "civilisation", and no understanding of what they had been through.Read more ›
However it seems that certain parts of the book are not from his own personal experience but others! The cage itself is totally fictional! When you really think through the events in this book, the story does seem flawed in parts.
For example: He refers to the montagnard people also known as "the degar", as indigenous people who were neither for "Americans nor charlie", which ambushed American patrols and wiped them out and the Viet Cong. However it is well documented that the degar were on the side of the Americans. So much so that massacres against their villages by the Viet Cong occurred, due to the alliance and relationship they had with the american forces.
To back this up you should read: There is a man who walks, by Dr. Conlon.
And for that reason i don't recommend this book on a non fiction basis.
Saying that it is a cracking read!
On retirement we expect him to be the person he was before deployment. Life is grossly unfair to these "hardened and yet, soft souls of tenderness and love" They are betrayed by humanity, and thoroughly let down..
Regardless, it is a quality read that was literally impossible to put down which meant i finished it within a day...
Gripping, disturbing yet inspirational, a very good read
Thoroughly recommended to anyone interested in war.
This should be read as a work of the imagination colored by experience rather than a factual account. It is mildly entertaining but the writing is not compelling.
There is, however, an entire debate (and an outraged website) claiming that Abraham's description of being captured by the Viet Cong was made up in order to sell the book. Apparently, Abraham's military records never list him as being a POW, and other 'Nam veterans have strenuously attacked the author for making false claims. The structure of the book's narrative encourages doubts; the chapters about the eponymous cage appear after Abraham's description of his entire time in Vietnam, almost as if they've been tacked on afterwards. He explains this away by stating that his memories of it were repressed. According to the book, Abraham spent only a very brief time in the cage before managing to escape from it, but the Viet Cong weren't normally so slapdash about how they imprisoned their POWs. In Five Years to Freedom by James N. Rowe, the author details his experience of being kept in captivity for more than five years, at the end of which he was finally able to effect an escape. Other POWs were held for even longer. Just how feasible would it have been for anyone to escape so quickly?
Ultimately, readers are left to decide for themselves whether they believe Abraham's story.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
this gent went though hell out there i actually met him in isle of man some years ago he"d suffered lot after that bloody war.very good encounter.Published on 27 Jun. 2013 by manxie
This is the account of a Briton, who moves to America and joins the US Army, called up to Vietnam he fights alongside his American colleagues. Really enjoyed the readPublished on 21 Feb. 2013 by Steve Mangan
I couldn't put this book down and ploughed through it a great speed, it really was an enthralling read, giving an eyewitness account of the horrors of modern warfare. Read morePublished on 20 Sept. 2012 by NatandJay
Thats a link to a webpage that sheds doubt on Tom Abrahams book, have a read and make up your own mind.
I bought this book on the recommendation of a naval psychologist who I was discussing PTSD with. I found it very interesting as part of my research into PTSD, it focusses on the... Read morePublished on 17 July 2011 by L. Newman
Like many reviewers here, I read the book without knowing of the controversy surrounding the author's career in Vietnam, ie was he or wasn't he a POW? Read morePublished on 12 April 2011 by Paul Wilyman
It's not often I come across a book nowadays that can keep me interested from the first page all the way through to the last, it's one of the main reasons why nowadays I limit my... Read morePublished on 3 Nov. 2010 by Paul Stevens
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