Tap Code
Tap Code shares never-before-told details of underground operations during the Vietnam War while weaving in an inspiring story of true love, honor, and courage as husband and wife endured the hardest circumstances they had ever faced.  When Air Force pilot Captain Carlyle "Smitty" Harris was shot down over Vietnam on April 4, 1965, he had no idea what horrors awaited him in the infamous Hoa Lo prison--nicknamed the "Hanoi Hilton." Harris was the sixth American POW captured in the air war over North Vietnam, and for the next eight years, Smitty and hundreds of other American POWs--including John McCain and George "Bud" Day--suffered torture, solitary confinement, and abuse. Their dignity was taken, their wills were challenged, and their bodies were bruised and battered. But in the midst of the struggle, Smitty remembered once learning the Tap Code--an old, long-unused World War II method of communication through tapping on a common water pipe. He covertly taught the code to many POWs, and in turn they taught others. Simple and effective, the Tap Code quickly spread throughout the prison and became one of the most covert ways for POWs to communicate without their captors' knowledge. It became a lifeline during their internment--a morale booster, a vehicle of unity, and a way to communicate the chain of command--and was instrumental in helping them prevail over a brutal enemy. Back home, meanwhile, Harris's wife, Louise, raised their three children alone, unsure of her husband's fate. One of the first POW wives of the Vietnam War, she became a role model for many wives, advocating for herself and her children in her husband's absence. Told through both Smitty's and Louise's voices, Tap Code shares a riveting true story of ingenuity under pressure, strength and dignity in the face of the enemy, the love of family, and the hope, faith, and resolve necessary to endure even the darkest circumstances.

Tap Code Details

TitleTap Code
Author
ReleaseNov 5th, 2019
PublisherZondervan
ISBN-139780310359111
Rating
GenreNonfiction, History, War, Biography

Tap Code Review

  • Sara Berry
    January 1, 1970
    In full disclosure, I am the co-author of this book. This also means I know first-hand the powerful true story of Col. Smitty Harris' 8 years as a POW in Vietnam. It is a beautiful story of resilience, love, and the power of the human spirit.
  • Robin
    January 1, 1970
    This is my parents story.... our family lived it. Sara W Berry, did an amazing job weaving this story together. It’s a heart -tugging, page turner.... full of messages of struggle, perseverance, faith, and family and love for our Country!!! May God use this book in mighty ways... as an instrument of healing in our broken world.
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  • Steve
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Good reads for this advance readers' copy. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and what a tremendous testimony of courage by Col. Carlyle Smith "Smitty" Harris and for his military service in the Air Force and in Vietnam. I have seen documentaries of Vietnam POW's and the use of the Tap Code and reading about it in this book was very interesting. Despite the beatings and cruel treatment, I admire and respect the courage these men faced. One fascinating fact I forgot to add and didn't Thank you to Good reads for this advance readers' copy. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and what a tremendous testimony of courage by Col. Carlyle Smith "Smitty" Harris and for his military service in the Air Force and in Vietnam. I have seen documentaries of Vietnam POW's and the use of the Tap Code and reading about it in this book was very interesting. Despite the beatings and cruel treatment, I admire and respect the courage these men faced. One fascinating fact I forgot to add and didn't know this until I read the book was Col. Harris spent time in eight different prison camps, including the infamous Hanoi Hilton.
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  • Ron
    January 1, 1970
    “I am convinced that there is a reason for all of this. Whatever the reason, I am sure we can use this time to become emotionally and spiritually stronger.” Excerpted from Smitty’s first letter to reach Louise, Sep 1965.Ruminations on the nature of integrity and struggle. Starting with the moment “Smitty" Harris was shot down on April 5, 1965, he and his wife Louise take the reader moment by moment through eight years of combat of a different sort than either imagines they would fight. Treated “I am convinced that there is a reason for all of this. Whatever the reason, I am sure we can use this time to become emotionally and spiritually stronger.” Excerpted from Smitty’s first letter to reach Louise, Sep 1965.Ruminations on the nature of integrity and struggle. Starting with the moment “Smitty" Harris was shot down on April 5, 1965, he and his wife Louise take the reader moment by moment through eight years of combat of a different sort than either imagines they would fight. Treated as criminals instead of prisoners of war, Harris and hundreds of other POWs (including Vietnamese and Thais) suffered starvation, deprivation, and intense psychological and physical abuse, though their captors tried to not inflict obvious wounds.“If Smitty can do what he is doing right now, I can do this.” LouiseA compelling and well-told history. Told in a conversation voice. Folded timeline confuses. Digressions inside digressions. Needed on more proofreading by a new set of eyes. Some paragraphs restate themselves, suggesting multiple edits. References to Claude Watkins repeat background many times.“I knew not one atheist among the POWs, for in the midst of our troubles we sought the mercy of the One higher than we are, and as a whole we were gifted with a measure of grace.” SmittySmitty and Louise are unapologetic Christians and patriots. They demonstrated how people of faith are equipped to cope, even when they don’t recognize it at the time.“You will never be tested beyond your power to endure.” LouiseThe tap code is explained and how Harris knew it, taught it, used it, and passed it on. Through it and countless other ingenious methods the POWs communicated and supported each other.“We must remember it is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us freedom to demonstrate. It is the soldier who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped with the flag. And it is the soldier who allows the protestor to burn the flag.” Smitty, April 11, 2002, Tupelo, MS. “Tap tap, tap tap. Tap, tap tap. Tap tap tap tap, tap tap tap tap tap.” GBU, God bless you.
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  • Erick
    January 1, 1970
    Trump should read this, oh wait can Trump even read? Mr. Bone Spur.
  • Manny
    January 1, 1970
    I received a free advanced readers copy of this novel as a part of a goodreads giveaway!I have mixed feelings about this book. While I love the story, I do not think it was very well written and the organization at points was a little confusing. To be honest, I found it hard to get through.The later parts of the book got better, but at first I felt like I was reading a bullet point list of Smitty's life and it got monotonous fast. I am a big fan of the show don't tell writing style, and the I received a free advanced readers copy of this novel as a part of a goodreads giveaway!I have mixed feelings about this book. While I love the story, I do not think it was very well written and the organization at points was a little confusing. To be honest, I found it hard to get through.The later parts of the book got better, but at first I felt like I was reading a bullet point list of Smitty's life and it got monotonous fast. I am a big fan of the show don't tell writing style, and the first bit was all telling, no showing. Additionally, I think it is funny how the authors explained a couple of times what MIA was, but did not find the need to say what things like beriberi were.The last thing negative I have to say was the jumping back and forth in time was a little confusing. Early on, Smitty says a man named Owl told him about the birth of his son in May 1965. A few chapters later in September 1965, he said word soon came to him that his son was born by squadron mates. I was really confused about this.One good thing I found is I am more familiar with the Japanese and Korean point of view on the Vietnam War, so it was nice to see an American perspective. Also, I did not like Jane Fonda before, and after reading this I really don't like her.Overall, I would give it a 1 star for writing, although the story is good. It detracts from the message too much, making it hard to read.
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  • Ken
    January 1, 1970
    Great book and much more than a story of survival, this is a story of enduring commitment to fellow soldiers not only survive but thrive in the worst of circumstances. The real story is told from 2 points of view, from Smiitty’s as a POW and from his wife Louise back home she made life normal for her family. Sara Berry does a fabulous job of weaving together 2 storylines, one of endurance and survival and one of a couple who never lost hope and love for one another. Must read this!
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  • Joy Kellum
    January 1, 1970
    Excellent read and beautifully written story of two amazing Americans. I knew something about the torture our POWs endured but learned so much more about the importance of communication between our soldiers. Also loved reading about the strength of Smitty’s wife back home raising three children. I highly recommend this book!
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  • Patricia Wright
    January 1, 1970
    Great book! Very detailed. I recommend it to everyone. Unbelievable torture, patriotism, friendship, love ,hope and faith.
  • Paul Wilson
    January 1, 1970
    I love personal survival stories - UNBROKEN was one of my favs, and this book did not disappoint! Smitty Harris is a true American hero - what he survived while a POW for 8 years is unbelievable. Writer Sara Berry did an amazing job of capturing all of the emotions - before, during and after his imprisonment. I honestly did not know much about the Vietnam War - I was just a young kid unaware of what was going on - I do remember the POW MIA bracelets and it was cool to see how that is a part of I love personal survival stories - UNBROKEN was one of my favs, and this book did not disappoint! Smitty Harris is a true American hero - what he survived while a POW for 8 years is unbelievable. Writer Sara Berry did an amazing job of capturing all of the emotions - before, during and after his imprisonment. I honestly did not know much about the Vietnam War - I was just a young kid unaware of what was going on - I do remember the POW MIA bracelets and it was cool to see how that is a part of Smitty's story. The tap code is fascinating: what a covert way to communicate to the other prisoners. What I found especially fascinating was how Smitty's wife, and family stayed strong during this 8 years, their marriage survived and thrived after he came home. Louise was a force to be reckoned with - what a character: she took on the DOD multiple times in an effort to be treated fairly and with civility. I can't stop talking about this book to anyone who asks "what's your favorite book you've read lately" - this book is it!
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  • Judy
    January 1, 1970
    This book is a realistic picture of a TRUE American hero and the family who daily endured knowing their loved one was a POW during the Vietnam war. Yes, HERO! I don't see how anyone can read the story of the daily torture (mentally and physically) of a POW and not feel like these people are a perfect example of the most perfect reflection of what being an honorable hero means. I have read many first-hand accounts of life endured in a POW camp and found this one to be one of the most beautifully This book is a realistic picture of a TRUE American hero and the family who daily endured knowing their loved one was a POW during the Vietnam war. Yes, HERO! I don't see how anyone can read the story of the daily torture (mentally and physically) of a POW and not feel like these people are a perfect example of the most perfect reflection of what being an honorable hero means. I have read many first-hand accounts of life endured in a POW camp and found this one to be one of the most beautifully written. I am honored to have been able to listen in as these memories were recorded as a way for us to never forget the extent some people went in order to preserve our freedoms. This family endured more than I can comprehend, yet gave a constant example of the powerful strength that faith and family can create an unbreakable bond that will long withstand 8 years of torture. I wish I could directly express my admiration and appreciation to the entire Harris family. They are long overdue much more than can possibly be repaid. Since I can't speak directly to them, I can speak to the ones who read this review. Please read this book. You will not regret it and can never forget it.
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  • Sallie Belle Howell
    January 1, 1970
    This true story of American hero, Smitty Harris, and his life as a POW is captivating. Harris and wife, Louise, exemplify strength, commitment and hope in unknown circumstances. The faith and hope these two share throughout this journey and life is the key to overcoming the challenges they faced. This book recounts vivid detail of Harris and his time as a POW. The code that helped encourage he and other POWs was taught Harris prior to his mission. Sara Berry, co-author, helps the Harris family This true story of American hero, Smitty Harris, and his life as a POW is captivating. Harris and wife, Louise, exemplify strength, commitment and hope in unknown circumstances. The faith and hope these two share throughout this journey and life is the key to overcoming the challenges they faced. This book recounts vivid detail of Harris and his time as a POW. The code that helped encourage he and other POWs was taught Harris prior to his mission. Sara Berry, co-author, helps the Harris family share this remarkable story. This book needs to be on everyone’s must read list!
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  • Jason Mussett
    January 1, 1970
    I would like to read this. I've always had an interest in the VIETNAM conflict. The plight of U.S. POWs isn't touched upon very often. How do people survive in these conditions? What must their families be going through? Not knowing wether their loved ones are alive or not? If anybody reads this one I would love to know what you think of it.
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  • Camie
    January 1, 1970
    While this book is very personal to me and I grew up hearing the stories, reading it made it so much more real almost. The book bounces between what Smitty went through as a POW of the Vietnam War and also touches on what his wife, Louise, went through back home. This is clearly a memoir that is well written and allows the reader to experience like Louise, Smitty, their children, and other POW's did. This book is very rich in details so I recommend not zooming through it (as I did the first While this book is very personal to me and I grew up hearing the stories, reading it made it so much more real almost. The book bounces between what Smitty went through as a POW of the Vietnam War and also touches on what his wife, Louise, went through back home. This is clearly a memoir that is well written and allows the reader to experience like Louise, Smitty, their children, and other POW's did. This book is very rich in details so I recommend not zooming through it (as I did the first time) but slow down and really enjoy the book. I cried like a baby at some parts, and like I said earlier, I grew up hearing this story. Reading this story makes me even more proud to call Smitty and Louise my grandparents.
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  • Hernan Hernandez
    January 1, 1970
    The reader would understand the monumental lack of respect of those saying that the Vietnam POW did not suffer or were captured because of their lack of skills.
  • Jack Harris
    January 1, 1970
    Must READ! This book grabs you from the first chapter to the last! Col Harris’ perseverance will inspire and encourage you! Faith, family, Love of Country... it has it all!
  • Katie Thompson
    January 1, 1970
    Such an awesome story! Highly recommend!
  • Kathy Webb
    January 1, 1970
    I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway.Thank you to everyone involved.A heart touching story - beautifully written.
  • Angela Roberts
    January 1, 1970
    Just finished this book! Wow! An amazing story!
  • B.
    January 1, 1970
    I won a copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. I applaud Col. Harris for putting pen to paper and reliving such a harrowing experience so that others can learn from what he went through. That said, I would be doing his service and his willingness to tackle such a difficult topic a disservice if I were only willing to provide a wholly positive review based on his service. I know any of the Vietnam vets that I know would be rather pissed off at me if they were to write a book and found out I won a copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. I applaud Col. Harris for putting pen to paper and reliving such a harrowing experience so that others can learn from what he went through. That said, I would be doing his service and his willingness to tackle such a difficult topic a disservice if I were only willing to provide a wholly positive review based on his service. I know any of the Vietnam vets that I know would be rather pissed off at me if they were to write a book and found out that my response to it was not wholly honest - what a tongue lashing that would be! The writing is stilted, which is what one would expect in a soldier's retelling of a war experience - there are things that just aren't said. However, there is a co-author, and that co-author could have done some editing to make things flow better. Second, the organizational structure is a bit off - instead of flowing, it's rather choppy and disjointed - again, this is the type of tale that I got from vets in their cups, but that's when you'd expect that type of rendition - for a publication it should be cleaned up a bit more. The same goes for the timeline of events. While yes, a person's memory does bounce around, when putting together a cohesive narrative, linear or flashback format is best for presentation (i.e. it either happened in this order or as x happened, I thought back to y). Ultimately, however, these are stylistic and editing concerns, which can be fixed by hiring an editor or can be fixed with the application of a ruthless attention to detail. This is an important story - one that should be published - and it deserves the care and attention to read like a polished book, instead of reading like a first draft (current impressions). Looking past the editing and style concerns, Col. Harris is doing a good thing with this book. With limited information available within the historical record on U.S. soldier perspectives, this is something that will be lost to history if pen doesn't get put to paper, and Col. Harris is doing the historical record a great service in reliving these experiences for our edification. After all, basically we've got The Things They Carried and that's fiction, and we've got The Forever War, which provided a sideways approach to it (Haldeman wrote about his Vietnam War experiences under the guise of science fiction). We need more direct accounts like Col. Harris's.
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  • Kim
    January 1, 1970
    I think this is a 3.5 for me. Although I found the story pretty interesting, the writing felt very superficial. It seemed the author and his wife focused so much on the their love for each other and how how he and the other POWs remained true to their military calling to the point that interesting details were glossed over. I felt like there should have been more details about day to day life in the camps, the emotions, friendships, etc. There was nothing said about the author’s experiences I think this is a 3.5 for me. Although I found the story pretty interesting, the writing felt very superficial. It seemed the author and his wife focused so much on the their love for each other and how how he and the other POWs remained true to their military calling to the point that interesting details were glossed over. I felt like there should have been more details about day to day life in the camps, the emotions, friendships, etc. There was nothing said about the author’s experiences getting know his children after his return and what his family life was like. The focus of the book after his return was on how perfect his life with his wife was, all the POW reunions, speeches and how he kept in touch with his fellow POWs. The middle part of the book was the most interesting. The beginning and end left me wanting more.
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