Pretty exciting to see my website go live today! I'll be posting regularly in the run-up to Dec. 3, when "Act of War" will be published. I also want to share on this site photos and other material that couldn't be included in the book. This picture will be in the book, but I wanted to share it here, too, because it's one of my favorites. It shows seven sailors and Harry Iredale, a civilian oceanographer (back row, second from left), during their imprisonment in North Korea. The communists intended the photo as propaganda, portraying the Americans as healthy and well cared for -- the exact opposite of their astonishingly brutal treatment. But the Americans managed to turn the medium into a message. Notice the men in the front row: three of them are flipping the bird, in a deliberate effort to ruin the picture. The crewmen gave their captors the finger for months -- telling the clueless North Koreans it was the "Hawaiian good luck symbol" -- until they were finally caught and severely punished. Chapter 13, "Hell Week," tells the strange story of how they were found out.
JACK CHEEVERS is a former Los Angeles Times reporter. He and his wife, Kathleen Matz, live in Oakland, California.