The League of Wives: The Untold Story of the Women Who Took on the U.S. Government to Bring Their Husbands Home

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"With astonishing verve, The League of Wives persisted to speak truth to power to bring their POW/MIA husbands home from Vietnam. And with astonishing verve, Heath Hardage Lee has chronicled their little-known story — a profile of courage that spotlights 1960s-era military wives who forge secret codes with bravery, chutzpah and style. Honestly, I couldn’t put it down."

— Beth Macy, author of Dopesick and Factory Man

The true story of the fierce band of women who battled Washington—and Hanoi—to bring their husbands home from the jungles of Vietnam.

On February 12, 1973, one hundred and sixteen men who, just six years earlier, had been high flying Navy and Air Force pilots, shuffled, limped, or were carried off a huge military transport plane at Clark Air Base in the Philippines. These American servicemen had endured years of brutal torture, kept shackled and starving in solitary confinement, in rat-infested, mosquito-laden prisons, the worst of which was The Hanoi Hilton.

Months later, the first Vietnam POWs to return home would learn that their rescuers were their wives, a group of women that included Jane Denton, Sybil Stockdale, Louise Mulligan, Andrea Rander, Phyllis Galanti, and Helene Knapp. These women, who formed The National League of Families, would never have called themselves “feminists,” but they had become the POW and MIAs most fervent advocates, going to extraordinary lengths to facilitate their husbands’ freedom—and to account for missing military men—by relentlessly lobbying government leaders, conducting a savvy media campaign, conducting covert meetings with antiwar activists, and most astonishingly, helping to code secret letters to their imprisoned husbands.

In a page-turning work of narrative non-fiction, Heath Hardage Lee tells the story of these remarkable women for the first time. The League of Wives is certain to be on everyone’s must-read list.

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About the author

Heath Hardage Lee comes from a museum education and curatorial background, and she has worked at history museums across the country. She holds a B.A. in History with Honors from Davidson College, and an M.A. in French Language and Literature from the University of Virginia. Heath served as the 2017 Robert J. Dole Curatorial Fellow: her exhibition entitled The League of Wives: Vietnam POW MIA Advocates & Allies about Vietnam POW MIA wives premiered at the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics in May of 2017 and is now travelling to museums throughout the U.S. Potomac Books, a division of the University of Nebraska Press, published Heath’s first book, Winnie Davis: Daughter of the Lost Cause, in 2014. Winnie won the 2015 Colonial Dames of America Annual Book Award as well as a 2015 Gold Medal for Nonfiction from the Independent Publisher Book Awards. Heath lives in Roanoke, Virginia, with her husband Chris and her two children, Anne Alston and James.
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Additional Information

Publisher
St. Martin's Press
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Published on
Apr 2, 2019
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Pages
288
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ISBN
9781250161123
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Social Activists
History / Military / Veterans
History / Military / Vietnam War
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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