The best POW books

27 authors have picked their favorite books about prisoner of war and why they recommend each book.

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We Band of Angels

By Elizabeth M. Norman,

Book cover of We Band of Angels: The Untold Story of the American Women Trapped on Bataan

The titular angels were military and civilian nurses who nursed wounded Americans and Filipinos during the Battle of Bataan and the siege of Corregidor. After the fighters finally surrendered to the Japanese, their nurses were imprisoned with Allied civilians for three and one-half years. They were phenomenally strong, courageous women in impossible circumstances and their story is remarkable.

We Band of Angels

By Elizabeth M. Norman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked We Band of Angels as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the fall of 1941, the Philippines was a gardenia-scented paradise for the American Army and Navy nurses stationed there. War was a distant rumor, life a routine of easy shifts and dinners under the stars. On December 8 all that changed, as Japanese bombs began raining down on American bases in Luzon, and this paradise became a fiery hell. Caught in the raging battle, the nurses set up field hospitals in the jungles of Bataan and the tunnels of Corregidor, where they tended to the most devastating injuries of war, and suffered the terrors of shells and shrapnel.
 
But…


Who am I?

Kathryn J. Atwood’s young adult collective biographies on women and war have garnered multiple book awards. She has been seen on America: Facts vs. Fiction; heard on BBC America; published in The Historian and War, Literature & the Arts; and featured as a guest speaker at the Harold Washington Library in Chicago, the First Division Museum at Cantigny Park, and the Atlanta History Center.


I wrote...

Women Heroes of World War II—the Pacific Theater: 15 Stories of Resistance, Rescue, Sabotage, and Survival

By Kathryn J. Atwood,

Book cover of Women Heroes of World War II—the Pacific Theater: 15 Stories of Resistance, Rescue, Sabotage, and Survival

What is my book about?

In these pages, readers will meet these and other courageous women and girls who risked their lives through their involvement in the Pacific Theater of Operations during World War II. Fifteen suspense-filled stories unfold across China, Japan, Mayala, Singapore, the Dutch East Indies, and the Philippines, providing an inspiring reminder of women and girls' refusal to sit on the sidelines around the world and throughout history. These women served in dangerous roles as spies, medics, journalists, resisters, and saboteurs. Nine of the women were American; seven were captured and imprisoned by the Japanese, enduring brutal conditions. Author Kathryn J. Atwood provides appropriate context and framing for teens 14 and up to grapple with these harsh realities of war.

Book cover of Survival in Auschwitz

Before the onset of WWII, Levi was one kind of a professional. At the end of it, he was quite another. This life switch fascinates me in general as a possibility in anyone’s life, but Levi’s switch is drastic. He transforms, and his narrative explains how and why.

It is not coincidence, therefore, that the narrative of Zaidy’s War closely mimics Levi’s style of writing: perceptive, Omni-thinking, calm, and nearly dispassionate.

I love this Holocaust memoir above all for its chameleonic quality, its deep insights, and eye-opening humanistic epiphanies and revelations.

Survival in Auschwitz

By Primo Levi,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Survival in Auschwitz as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The true and harrowing account of Primo Levi’s experience at the German concentration camp of Auschwitz and his miraculous survival; hailed by The Times Literary Supplement as a “true work of art, this edition includes an exclusive conversation between the author and Philip Roth.

In 1943, Primo Levi, a twenty-five-year-old chemist and “Italian citizen of Jewish race,” was arrested by Italian fascists and deported from his native Turin to Auschwitz. Survival in Auschwitz is Levi’s classic account of his ten months in the German death camp, a harrowing story of systematic cruelty and miraculous endurance. Remarkable for its simplicity, restraint,…


Who am I?

My passion for the topic was an inevitable calling. I knew that my grandfather’s story had to be told in some form, but during his lifetime, I was too young to know how to put it together. As a teenager, I knew his story was a book, but I was not yet a writer. Fate declared that I should get my feet wet in the writing field in myriad ways, as if I was polishing my craft so that when I could put the elements of my grandfather’s life together, I was ready for the task. The reason my list is entitled with its exact name is because it’s a form of penance.


I wrote...

Zaidy's War: Four Armies, Three Continents, Two Brothers. One Man's Impossible Story of Endurance

By Martin Bodek,

Book cover of Zaidy's War: Four Armies, Three Continents, Two Brothers. One Man's Impossible Story of Endurance

What is my book about?

You won't believe this story, told lovingly by the subject's grandson: The tale of a man who served 4 armies, was present for historic WWII battles, refused cannibalism, walked 1,600 miles home, escaped poisoning, emerged with honor, and rebuilt his life.

Moonless Night

By B.A. 'Jimmy' James,

Book cover of Moonless Night: Wartime Diary of a Great Escaper

This is the autobiography of the man I consider the most determined escaper of WW2. Jimmy James was a serial escaper. One of the 76 men who broke out of Stalag Luft 3 in The Great Escape, he was recaptured and was sent to Sachsenhausen concentration camp.  Using a spoon, he dug a tunnel and escaped from there!  This is one of the bravest stories I've ever read of determination to succeed at any cost.

Moonless Night

By B.A. 'Jimmy' James,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Moonless Night as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the moment he was shot down to the final whistle, Jimmy James' one aim as a POW of the Germans was to escape.The Great Escaper describes his experiences and those of his fellow prisoners in the most gripping and thrilling manner. The author made more than 12 escape attempts including his participation in The Great Escape, where 50 of the 76 escapees were executed in cold blood on Hitler's orders.On re-capture, James was sent to the infamous Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp where, undeterred, he tunnelled out. That was not the end of his remarkable story.Moonless Night has strong claim to…


Who am I?

My father, Squadron Leader Peter Stevens MC, died in 1979, when I was 22 years old, before I'd had the chance to speak with him man-to-man about his war. I later began researching his wartime exploits, which would consume a good part of 18 years of my life. I initially had no intention of writing a book; I just wanted to find the original document that recommended him for the Military Cross. I finally located it in Britain's National Archives in 2006. Along the way, I discovered that my father had actually been born a German Jew (he had told his immediate family in Canada that he was British and Anglican), and that some 15-20 family members had been murdered in the Holocaust. Further research showed that Dad had been the ONLY German-Jewish bomber pilot in the RAF, and that he had been the object of a country-wide manhunt by the British Police as a possible enemy spy. 


I wrote...

Escape, Evasion and Revenge

By Marc H. Stevens,

Book cover of Escape, Evasion and Revenge

What is my book about?

The true-life story of the only German-Jewish bomber pilot in the Royal Air Force during World War 2.  Georg Hein was sent to safety in London by his widowed mother in 1934; he committed identity theft in order to enlist at the outbreak of hostilities, stealing the name of a dead London high schoolmate, Peter Stevens.  He trained to become a bomber pilot, and flew 22 combat missions before his plane was damaged by flak over Berlin.

Captured by the Nazis 12 hours after he landed in a Dutch farmer's field, he spent the next 3 years and 8 months as a POW in his own country, without ANY protection whatsoever under the Geneva Convention.  Had the Nazis ever discovered his true identity, the consequences would have proven unpleasantly fatal.  Escape became his raison d'etre, and he made 9 escape attempts, getting outside the wire on three occasions. After the war, Stevens was one of only 69 members of RAF aircrew to be awarded Britain's Military Cross for gallantry in WW2. He went on to serve 5 years as an MI6 spy in East Germany at the height of the Cold War.

Under the Wire

By William Ash, Brendan Foley,

Book cover of Under the Wire: The Wartime Memoir of a Spitfire Pilot, Legendary Escape Artist and "Cooler King"

One of the great "characters" of World War 2 escapes, "Tex" Ash was an American who travelled from his home state to Canada in order to enlist in the RCAF and fight the Nazis before the US entered the war.  A Spitfire pilot of great bravery, Ash was shot down and captured in France. His tale of wild and woolly escapes and escapades makes for a rollicking good read. Some might say that his story is too far-fetched to be true; I believe every word of it.

Under the Wire

By William Ash, Brendan Foley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Under the Wire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Determined to take on the Nazis, Texan Bill Ash joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1939 and in so doing sacrificed his citizenship. Before long, he was sent to England wherehe flew Spitfires. Shot down over France in March 1942, he survived the crash-landing and, thanks to local civilians, evaded capture for months only to be betrayed to the Gestapo in Paris. Tortured and sentenced to death as a spy, he was saved from the firing squad by the Luftwaffe who sent him to the infamous 'Great Escape' POW camp, Stalag Luft III. It was from there that Bill…


Who am I?

My father, Squadron Leader Peter Stevens MC, died in 1979, when I was 22 years old, before I'd had the chance to speak with him man-to-man about his war. I later began researching his wartime exploits, which would consume a good part of 18 years of my life. I initially had no intention of writing a book; I just wanted to find the original document that recommended him for the Military Cross. I finally located it in Britain's National Archives in 2006. Along the way, I discovered that my father had actually been born a German Jew (he had told his immediate family in Canada that he was British and Anglican), and that some 15-20 family members had been murdered in the Holocaust. Further research showed that Dad had been the ONLY German-Jewish bomber pilot in the RAF, and that he had been the object of a country-wide manhunt by the British Police as a possible enemy spy. 


I wrote...

Escape, Evasion and Revenge

By Marc H. Stevens,

Book cover of Escape, Evasion and Revenge

What is my book about?

The true-life story of the only German-Jewish bomber pilot in the Royal Air Force during World War 2.  Georg Hein was sent to safety in London by his widowed mother in 1934; he committed identity theft in order to enlist at the outbreak of hostilities, stealing the name of a dead London high schoolmate, Peter Stevens.  He trained to become a bomber pilot, and flew 22 combat missions before his plane was damaged by flak over Berlin.

Captured by the Nazis 12 hours after he landed in a Dutch farmer's field, he spent the next 3 years and 8 months as a POW in his own country, without ANY protection whatsoever under the Geneva Convention.  Had the Nazis ever discovered his true identity, the consequences would have proven unpleasantly fatal.  Escape became his raison d'etre, and he made 9 escape attempts, getting outside the wire on three occasions. After the war, Stevens was one of only 69 members of RAF aircrew to be awarded Britain's Military Cross for gallantry in WW2. He went on to serve 5 years as an MI6 spy in East Germany at the height of the Cold War.

Free As a Running Fox

By T.D. Calnan,

Book cover of Free As a Running Fox

Tommy Calnan was as brave as they come.  Flying an unarmed Spitfire of the Photographic Reconnaissance Unit, Calnan's plane was hit by flak and set afire.  He bailed out, but was badly burned in the process. Barely surviving his wounds, including third-degree burns to his face and hands, Calnan spent several months recovering in a German hospital. One might think that he had done enough for the Allied cause, but despite his face being badly scarred, Calnan became a serial escaper of great courage and determination.

Free As a Running Fox

By T.D. Calnan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Free As a Running Fox as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

5-5


Who am I?

My father, Squadron Leader Peter Stevens MC, died in 1979, when I was 22 years old, before I'd had the chance to speak with him man-to-man about his war. I later began researching his wartime exploits, which would consume a good part of 18 years of my life. I initially had no intention of writing a book; I just wanted to find the original document that recommended him for the Military Cross. I finally located it in Britain's National Archives in 2006. Along the way, I discovered that my father had actually been born a German Jew (he had told his immediate family in Canada that he was British and Anglican), and that some 15-20 family members had been murdered in the Holocaust. Further research showed that Dad had been the ONLY German-Jewish bomber pilot in the RAF, and that he had been the object of a country-wide manhunt by the British Police as a possible enemy spy. 


I wrote...

Escape, Evasion and Revenge

By Marc H. Stevens,

Book cover of Escape, Evasion and Revenge

What is my book about?

The true-life story of the only German-Jewish bomber pilot in the Royal Air Force during World War 2.  Georg Hein was sent to safety in London by his widowed mother in 1934; he committed identity theft in order to enlist at the outbreak of hostilities, stealing the name of a dead London high schoolmate, Peter Stevens.  He trained to become a bomber pilot, and flew 22 combat missions before his plane was damaged by flak over Berlin.

Captured by the Nazis 12 hours after he landed in a Dutch farmer's field, he spent the next 3 years and 8 months as a POW in his own country, without ANY protection whatsoever under the Geneva Convention.  Had the Nazis ever discovered his true identity, the consequences would have proven unpleasantly fatal.  Escape became his raison d'etre, and he made 9 escape attempts, getting outside the wire on three occasions. After the war, Stevens was one of only 69 members of RAF aircrew to be awarded Britain's Military Cross for gallantry in WW2. He went on to serve 5 years as an MI6 spy in East Germany at the height of the Cold War.

When We Were Brave

By Suzanne Kelman,

Book cover of When We Were Brave

This is a ‘going back in time’ novel, not original, but well-written and very engaging. A woman finds a photograph of a woman in an attic. She discovers the woman is an aunt no one talks about. Her crime: to fall in love and flee to Paris with a Nazi prisoner of war.

I am recommending this book because of the emotions it evoked in me, the tension throughout, and the beautiful love story that unraveled in a time of war. It has stuck with me.

When We Were Brave

By Suzanne Kelman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked When We Were Brave as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The face of the woman in the photograph was tilted upwards, as if enjoying the sunshine just for a moment, even as the wreckage of the bombed-out street lay behind her…

1944, Cornwall: Blinded by love, Vivienne Hamilton eloped to Paris with a Nazi prisoner-of-war, never to be seen again. A disgrace to her family, her name would not be mentioned by any of her relatives for over 75 years.

Present day, London: When Sophie discovers a photograph of her great aunt Vivi from World War Two, it throws her into a world of confusion. Because, as she learns about…


Who am I?

I am a Scottish writer, addicted to reading and writing historical fiction. Writing Historical novels is not a job but a passion for me. I have studied, read, and written about historical periods from William the Conqueror in the 11th century to the end of WW2, and many other periods in between. I continually research, looking for my next historical story, but it would take more than one lifetime for me to study all the great historical fiction and non-fiction books out there. As a genre, historical fiction is making a comeback, and I’m happy to be part of the Genre’s resurgence.


I wrote...

The German Half-Bloods: The Half-Bloods Trilogy, Book I

By Jana Petken,

Book cover of The German Half-Bloods: The Half-Bloods Trilogy, Book I

What is my book about?

Three Anglo-German brothers from Berlin must choose to fight for the Third Reich or Britain. What happens when loyalties split, and trust is broken? Love and betrayal leap off the pages in this story of the Vogels, a family torn apart by war and betrayal. Germany, September 1939... at the outbreak of War, Dieter Vogel and his family face catastrophic events and separation as each member embarks on their deadly paths towards survival, love, and freedom.

A Town Like Alice

By Nevil Shute,

Book cover of A Town Like Alice

Some odd 1950s social attitudes caught me by surprise when I re-read this much-loved book from my past (what are those bruises all about?). Don’t let this put you off this wonderful story of courage and hardship as Jean Paget, an ordinary woman is swept up in the Japanese invasion of Malaya, faces terrible hardships in her group of female prisoners. Starving and sick, they are helped by an Australian, Sgt Joe Harman, also a prisoner, but his kindness results in the most terrible retribution. To say more would ruin the shock of this fabulous story, but I guarantee that Joe Harman will have your heart by the end of the book.

A Town Like Alice

By Nevil Shute,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked A Town Like Alice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Probably more people have shed tears over the last page of A Town Like Alice than about any other novel in the English language... remarkable' Guardian

Jean Paget is just twenty years old and working in Malaya when the Japanese invasion begins.

When she is captured she joins a group of other European women and children whom the Japanese force to march for miles through the jungle - an experience that leads to the deaths of many.

Due to her courageous spirit and ability to speak Malay, Jean takes on the role of leader of the sorry gaggle of prisoners…


Who am I?

I grew up in a medical family, my father and brother both surgeons and my mother a nurse. My parents met while serving in WW2 and that combination of compassion and horror in the field hospitals of Europe have stayed with me ever since. In fact, my first novel A Dangerous Act of Kindness, is set during WW2. I’m also a career hypochondriac. I avoid reading about illnesses or injuries I may suffer from myself, but I am fascinated by disease and pioneering surgery, thus The Summer Fields revolves around a disease that has now been eradicated (smallpox) and pre-anaesthetic surgery, something I hope I shall never have to face. 


I wrote...

The Summer Fields

By L.P. Fergusson,

Book cover of The Summer Fields

What is my book about?

Elen Griffiths has an 18th-century superpower – she is immune to smallpox from her work with the dairy herd, but when Viscount Mordiford, heir to Duntisbourne, is struck down by the ‘red plague’, she is forced to leave her farm and nurse him. Shut away in Duntisbourne Hall she is appalled by the disease but pities Mordiford and learns to treat him. However, a far worse evil lurks in the icy corridors of the Hall, forcing Elen to flee England and join the Duke of Marlborough’s campaign against the French. Reunited with the man she loves on the morning of the Battle of Blenheim, she discovers that the pain of love is nothing compared to the pain of loss.

P.O.W

By Hank Nelson,

Book cover of P.O.W: Prisoners of War: Australians Under Nippon

In 1942 about 22,000 Australians – an entire army division – were captured by the Japanese, mostly in Singapore. When the survivors returned from the Burma-Thailand railway and camps across south-east Asia and Japan, a third of them were dead. This ordeal, so much at variance with Australia’s tradition of victory in war, remained largely neglected. In the early 1980s academic historian Hank Nelson teamed up with Tim Bowden, a radio presenter, to interview hundreds of former PoWs of the Japanese, many speaking for the first time, and together they produced a powerful Australian Broadcasting Corporation documentary series which told their stories. Hank produced the equally profound book based on the recordings, effectively kick-starting the investigation of PoW history, now an important part of Australian military history.

P.O.W

By Hank Nelson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked P.O.W as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Who am I?

I am a Research Professor in history at UNSW Canberra at the Australian Defence Force Academy. I now mostly write on the military history of British India history but for 27 years I worked at the Australian War Memorial, Australia’s national military museum, where I became Principal Historian. Much of my career was devoted to Australian military history and more than half of my 40 or so books are in that field. That puts me in a good position to comment upon what I think are the five best books in the field of Australian military history (my own excepted, of course). 


I wrote...

Bad Characters

By Peter Stanley,

Book cover of Bad Characters

What is my book about?

Having left the Australian War Memorial in 2007 I felt able to write what I liked about Australia’s experience of the Great War, a key episode in Australia’s sense of national identity. Picking up an insight from the official historian, Charles Bean, that his history accepted ‘the good and the bad’ of the story (but realising that neither he – nor anyone - had said much about the ‘bad’), I began to explore the other side of the medal, researching what Australians celebrate as their soldiers’ ’larrikinism’ – harmless high spirits.

I showed that Australians, while good fighters, made poor soldiers – unwilling to submit to military discipline, prone to say what they thought and while venerating mateship, more likely to desert than any other army in the British empire. Expecting to affront those who venerate ‘the Anzacs’, I was surprised to find that readers accepted that (as Bean had seen) war history needed to encompass the ‘good and bad’ – and the book jointly won the Prime Minister’s Prize for Australian History, an award that dramatically changed my career.

A Fighter Pilot in Buchenwald

By Joseph F. Moser, Gerald R. Baron,

Book cover of A Fighter Pilot in Buchenwald: The Joe Moser Story

During August 1944, Joe Mower’s P-38 was shot down, and Nazi forces sent him to Buchenwald—the infamous work camp where tens of thousands died of cruelty, medical experiments, and starvation. It’s a story of survival in the worst of situations.

A Fighter Pilot in Buchenwald

By Joseph F. Moser, Gerald R. Baron,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Fighter Pilot in Buchenwald as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On August 13, 1944, during his 44th combat mission, Joe Moser's P-38 Lightning was shot down. Captured by Nazi forces, he and his fellow group of Allied fliers were scheduled for execution as “terrorfliegers” and shipped in overcrowded cattle cars to Buchenwald—the infamous work camp where tens of thousands died of cruelty, medical experiments, and starvation. Once a simple farm boy focused on sports and his dream to fly the fastest, meanest fighter plane, Moser now faced some of the worst of Hitler’s ghastly system. From the harrowing and sometimes hilarious experiences of flight training to the dehumanization at the…


Who am I?

I have studied World War 2 for thirty years not so much about the killing, but to see how the Allies developed strategies to win the battles. So many decisions and so many sacrifices were made which give me pause about how great our leaders were even with their mistakes. They orchestrated the war in a grand panorama as well as focused on tactics to take a key bridge. I served in Vietnam but WW2 was different in almost every way. Recently I have focused on the effects of shell shock (WW1) and battle fatigue (WW2) known today as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD remains in the forefront from Vietnam to Afghanistan and Iraq. I have even counseled soldiers and families about PTSD.

I wrote...

Second Chance Against the Third Reich: U.S. Colonel Rescues His Daughter From the Nazis

By Kent Hinckley,

Book cover of Second Chance Against the Third Reich: U.S. Colonel Rescues His Daughter From the Nazis

What is my book about?

Prior to D-day 1944, Colonel Dirk Hoffman, who suffers from shell shock (today known as PTSD) from World War 1, finds out from an MI-6 spy in Germany that the Nazis will arrest his estranged daughter. She married an SS major in Berlin in 1938. Hoffman goes behind the lines with the aid of the German Resistance and escapes with her from Berlin thereby incurring the wrath of an SS General who is obsessed with his capture. Hoffman despite bouts of shell shock manages to overcome incredible odds and near-death situations so he and his daughter can reach Switzerland. Instead of finding safety from the SS, they come to him. Hoffman also becomes prey for a Nazi spy working as a mole in U. S. Intelligence who has set a trap to kill them.

Judy

By Damien Lewis,

Book cover of Judy: The Unforgettable Story of the Dog Who Went to War and Became a True Hero

Judy was a beautiful liver and white English pointer, and the only official animal POW of World War 2 truly was a dog in a million. Whether she was dragging men to safety from the wreckage of a torpedoed chip or scavenging food for the starving inmates of a hellish Japanese prisoner of war camp, her unbreakable spirit brought inspiration and hope to men living through the 20th century's darkest days during their captivity. Judy's uncanny ability to sense danger matched with her quick thinking and impossible daring saved countless lives. She was a close companion to those who became like a family to her, sharing in both the tragedies and joys they faced. Her incredible story based here on the testimonies of the last few veterans who knew her is one of the most heartwarming and inspiring tales you will ever read.

Judy

By Damien Lewis,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Judy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The impossibly moving story of how Judy, World War Two's only animal POW, brought hope in the midst of hell.

Judy, a beautiful liver and white English pointer, and the only animal POW of WWII, truly was a dog in a million, cherished and adored by the British, Australian, American and other Allied servicemen who fought to survive alongside her.

Viewed largely as human by those who shared her extraordinary life, Judy's uncanny ability to sense danger, matched with her quick-thinking and impossible daring saved countless lives. She was a close companion to men who became like a family to…


Who am I?

My father was taken prisoner by the Japanese at the fall of Singapore on the 15th of February 1942. He spent three and a half years slaving on the Thai Burma railway. During my early years growing up, my father rarely talked about his experiences, and it wasn't until after he died in 1990 that I became interested in what he went through as a prisoner of war. Since then, I've spent my time researching the Japanese prisoner of war experiences and have read countless books on the subject. I myself have published four books and I consider myself one of the leading experts on the Japanese prisoner of war experience.


I wrote...

Frank Pantridge MC: Japanese Prisoner of War and Inventor of the Portable Defibrillator

By Cecil Lowry,

Book cover of Frank Pantridge MC: Japanese Prisoner of War and Inventor of the Portable Defibrillator

What is my book about?

This book tells the life story of Doctor Frank Pantridge, the inventor of the portable defibrillator. When Pantridge returned from the war he began to specialise in diseases of the heart and particularly heart fibrillation. He reasoned that if a person had a heart attack, ventricular defibrillation should be applied where it occurred as many people were dying before reaching the hospital.

He produced the world's first portable defibrillator in Belfast in 1965, initially operating from a specially equipped ambulance. American President Lyndon B Johnston's life was saved by a Pantridge defibrillator in 1972 when he had a heart attack. This biography tells the story of a man whose invention has saved countless lives over the last half-century.

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