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In the Presence of Mine Enemies

post written by Esther Filbrun

In the Presence of Mine Enemies, by Howard and Phyllis RutledgeTitle: In the Presence of Mine Enemies
Howard Rutledge
Major Themes: Vietnam War, 1970s, Prisoners of War
Howard Rutledge never thought he’d be caught by the Vietnamese—but when he barely escapes his burning airplane with his life, and falls into enemy hands, is there any hope of seeing his wife and family again?

The Vietnam War has always held a fascination to me. Commander Rutledge brought that time to life in his fast-paced recounting of the seven years he spent in a Vietnamese prison. In the Presence of Mine Enemies is definitely an adult or late teens book, but it’s well worth the time to read.

As an air force pilot, Commander Rutledge took many dangerous bombing missions as he helped destroy major bridges and other means of transport in North Vietnam. He never thought he’d be caught, though, no matter how dangerous the mission was. But one day he was shot down—and captured by the Vietnamese army.

Over the course of the seven years he is in prison, Rutledge realizes how much he needs the Lord. There are times of great discouragement to overcome, and times when rallying the prisoners on the whole prison complex needed to be done efficiently and effectively. To Rutledge, communication was vital—especially when in solitary confinement—and with the support of other fellow POWs, he learned how to encourage and support both old and new acquaintances.

I really enjoyed In the Presence of Mine Enemies, partly because of the content and partly because of the fact that I’ve read very little about the Vietnam war—let alone an autobiography of the period! This is definitely an adult read because of some of the torture methods used and described, but it is an encouraging story that is well-written.

This would be a perfect way to research the Vietnam War, or to learn about what life as a POW is like.

WARNING: As I mentioned before, there are various forms of cruel torture mentioned, which clearly make this an adult book. This is not a book for children or young teenagers.

Age Levels:

Reading Independently—15 and Above, Adults


Links to buy In the Presence of Mine Enemies:




Keywords: Prisons, Prisoners, Vietnam

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