Defiant: American POWs in Vietnam's Most Infamous Prison

Time Period
1925 to Today
Media Type
Military History
Alvin Townley

On September 25 at noon, Alvin Townley delivered a Banner Lecture entitled "Defiant: American POWs in Vietnam's Most Infamous Prison."

During the Vietnam War, hundreds of American prisoners of war faced years of brutal conditions and horrific torture at the hands of North Vietnamese guards and interrogators who ruthlessly grilled them for military intelligence and propaganda. Determined to maintain their Code of Conduct, the POWs developed a powerful underground resistance. To quash it, their captors singled out its eleven leaders 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 return. When the survivors of Alcatraz finally came home, one veteran would go on to receive the Medal of Honor, another would become a U.S. Senator, and a third still serves in the U.S. Congress. A powerful story of survival and triumph, Alvin Townley's Defiant will inspire anyone wondering how courage, faith, and brotherhood can endure even in the darkest of situations.

Alvin Townley, a native of Atlanta, Georgia, is the author of several books, including Spirit of Adventure: Eagle Scouts and the Making of America's Future; Fly Navy: Discovering the Extraordinary People and Enduring Spirit of Naval Aviation; and Defiant: The POWs Who Endured Vietnam's Most Infamous Prison, the Women Who Fought for Them, and the One Who Never Returned.

The content and opinions expressed in these presentations are solely those of the speaker and not necessarily of the Virginia Museum of History & Culture.

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