Open Doors is a tribute to Vietnam prisoners of war and their individual determination in seeking personal and professional happiness upon their release. A testament to the strength of the human spirit and the power of human will, it is also a celebration of freedom. While their experience in captivity has been well documented, historians have largely overlooked the current lives of former Vietnam POWs. Combining photo portraits and insightful profiles of thirty Vietnam-era POWs, Taylor Baldwin Kiland and Jamie Howren offer an intimate look at these men-the longest-held group of returned POWs in our nation s history-as husbands, fathers, sons, brothers, and grandfathers. Subjects include the famous (Sen. John McCain and former vice presidential candidate Vice Adm. James Stockdale) and the not-so-famous. None received celebrity treatment on their liberation; all resumed their lives as private citizens. Most of them have flourished in the face of great challenges, proud of their accomplishments. The book is based on a traveling photographic exhibit that has been touring the United States since October 2003. Rather than dwelling on the torture and suffering of their years in the notorious prison complex known to its inhabitants as the Hanoi Hilton, the authors focused on commemorating the thirtieth anniversary of the POWs' return to the United States and on celebrating the years of freedom and personal achievement that followed.
We owe a substantial debt to the two young authors of Open Doors . Countering the myth of the Vietnam veteran as a 'ruined neurotic, ' they have compiled portraits of thirty former POWs, men who once endured the most brutal treatment at the 'Hanoi Hilton' and have now moved on successfully with their lives.