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Author captures story of Vietnam POWs

3/21/2014, 3:34 p.m.

Alvin Townley, author of “Defiant,” will talk about heroic American POWs in Vietnam on March 26 at the Carter Presidential Library & Museum in Atlanta.

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Alvin Townley

The reading/book signing begins at 7 p.m. in the theater.

“Defiant,” Townley’s fourth book, reveals the amazing and untold true story of 11 Vietnam POWs known as the Alcatraz Eleven. The Americans were identified by the North Vietnamese as their most uncooperative and subversive captives.

The book also tells the story of the “Alcatraz wives,” who fought for their husbands’ safe return when it seemed nobody else would. The epic story takes place over eight years.

Sen. John McCain, a POW from 1967 to 1973, called the book “a riveting tribute to the unyielding men who endured years of brutal captivity as POWs in Vietnam and the families they left behind.”

“The men of the ‘Alcatraz Eleven’ are true American heroes and their extraordinary stories will serve as an inspiration for generations to come,” McCain said.

Former President Jimmy Carter said Townley “masterfully tells the inspirational and unforgettable story of our Vietnam POWs and the Alcatraz Eleven.”

“These heroic men and women remind us how courage, devotion, and faith can triumph even in the darkest of times,” Carter said.

Townley grew up in Atlanta, where he earned the rank of Eagle Scout, and found a lifelong love for adventure at Philmont Scout Ranch, the Northern Tier Canoe Base, the Florida Sea Base, and other wilderness spots.

He graduated from Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Va., and has worked in the U.S. House of Representatives, helped manage global strategy for an international consulting firm, and coached track and field.

The Carter Library is at 441 Freedom Parkway. For more information, visit www.jimmycarterlibrary.gov.