Courage Under Fire

Courage Under Fire

Testing Epictetus's Doctrines in a Laboratory of Human Behavior

Author: James Bond Stockdale
ISBN: 978-0-8179-3692-1
Publication Date: 12/1/1993
Pages: 32

"On September 9, 1965, I flew at 500 knots right into a flak trap, at tree-top level, in a little A-4 airplane—the cockpit walls not even three feet apart—which I couldn't steer after it was on fire, its control system shot out. After ejection I had about thirty seconds to make my last statement in freedom before I landed in the main street of a little village right ahead. And so help me, I whispered to myself: 'five years down there, at least. I'm leaving the world of technology and entering the world of Epictetus' "What Epictetus [told] his students was that there can be no such thing as being the 'victim' of another. You can only be a 'victim' of yourself. It's all how you discipline your mind."

Vice Admiral James Stockdale, a senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution, served in the navy from 1947 to 1979, beginning as a test pilot and instructor at Patuxent River, Maryland, and spending two years as a graduate student at Stanford University. He became a fighter pilot and was shot down on his second combat tour over North Vietnam, becoming a prisoner of war for eight years, four in solitary confinement. The highest-ranking naval officer held during the Vietnam War, he was tortured fifteen times and put in leg irons for two years. His books include Thoughts of a Philosophical Fighter Pilot (1995, Hoover Institution Press) and In Love and War (second revised and updated edition, 1990, U.S. Naval Institute Press), coauthored with his wife, Sybil. In early 1987, a dramatic presentation of In Love and War was viewed by more than 45 million viewers on NBC television.


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Courage Under Fire: Testing Epictetus's Doctrines in a Laboratory of Human Behavior by James Bond Stockdale
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James Bond Stockdale

Vice Admiral James Bond Stockdale, a senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution, served in the navy from 1947 to 1979, beginning as a test pilot and instructor at Patuxent River, Maryland, and spending two years as a graduate student at Stanford University. He became a fighter pilot and was shot down on his second combat tour over North Vietnam, becoming a prisoner of war for eight years, four in solitary confinement. The highest-ranking naval officer held during the Vietnam War, he was tortured fifteen times and put in leg irons for two years.

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