Limbo Author:Joan Silver and Linda Gottlieb "There is absolutely no reason to believe Roy is dead, Roy is missing.... Until there is a cessation of hostilities over there- even if it takes ten more years-or until we have specific proof to the contrary, we will carry (your husband) as Missing in Action,,,, Feel better?" — With these words, Colonel Lloyd, head of Chester Air Force Base's Cas... more »ualty Office, hastens to assure twenty-one-year-old Sandy Lawton that the limbo in which she has been living for the last two years will certainly continue. Sandy and the other women who belong to "the club nobody wants to join" are wives of prisoners of war or men missing in action in Indochina.
"Limbo" is the moving story of their personal experiences, set against a backdrop of convulsive change in American society. In addition to their own loneliness, these women are confronted daily by pressures unknown to the wives of POWs in any other war: the burgeoning anti-war movement and the pervasive sexual revolution.
Sandy Lawton, from North Platte, Nebraska, had been married only two weeks when her husband went to Indochina. But an accident in the skies over North Vietnam changes her life forever. After spending two years without any word of her husband, she can barely summon up his image. Returning to college, she meets a young graduate student, who challenges her politics and her emotions.
Mary Kaye Buell, thirty-five-year-old mother of four, has the comfort of knowing her husband has been in a POW camp in North Vietnam for the last four years. She is allowed to write a seven-line letter to him once a month. Wonderfully tough-minded, bitingly humorous, Mary Kaye is unafraid to take on the bureaucracy of the Pentagon or to voice her views before the House Armed Services Committee. (After her testimony a Congressman remarks, "I wish we could get Captain Buell out of that prison camp and put his wife in instead.")
Sharon Dornbeck does not question the Pentagon. The beautiful, pampered daughter of a retired Air Force colonel, she has grown up trusting the military. But the continuing uncertainty of being an MIA wife begins to undermine her deepest beliefs.
Caught in a conflict of loyalties and emotions, these women in limbo are at the mercy of the conscience of governments. Interwoven with their personal stories are their encounters with the administration, the military, and the media, all of which are based on factual data gathered by the authors in months of research with POW/MIA families.
"Limbo" is a poignant, sensitively told story of how war affects lives far from the battlefield. Its shattering ending will leave no reader indifferent to the plight of women who ask, after all, a simple question: Are we wives or widows?« less