Compelling...Engaging...The extraordinary true story of a young man who goes off to war, is captured by the enemy, and finally returns home to build a future he never imagined was possible.

Cover art by Ron Chironna


What they're saying about "Three Lives of a Warrior"

Eight years held captive as a prisoner of war is beyond our comprehension, but in Three Lives of a Warrior, Phil Butler brings readers inside that gut-wrenching test of his character. Phil reveals not just a snapshot of that most difficult experience, but emerges multi-dimensional across the pages of his memoir; he seamlessly divides his life into three chapters – Before, During & After – introducing first his humble childhood in Oklahoma, then his horrific years in a Vietnamese prison, until we ultimately come face to face with a crusader for peace who divines mission and purpose from years of hardship. Above all, this book is human rather than nostalgic -- eloquent reflections on a remarkable life leavened with humor, sorrow, intelligence and honesty. A must read for anyone in search of hope during the most trying of times. -- Senator John Kerry

Three Lives of a Warrior is the riveting story of a true to life warrior, survivor and dedicated patriot. I guarantee you that once you pick up this book you won’t put it down until it is read cover to cover – warning – be prepared to shed a tear or two. It is an extraordinarily captivating account of a warrior’s life struggles as he deals with challenges of social survival, combat and imprisonment that takes you on a voyage so extremely compelling and challenging that one asks if the story could possibly be true. How did this warrior keep his wits, maintain his integrity and preserve his personal honor and deep seated patriotism under such complex and dire circumstances? The book plainly answers these questions while proving that a person can indeed overcome enormous disappointment, social conflict, tragedy and long term isolation and still make valuable contributions to society as a gifted professional and dedicated citizen. The author’s narrative describing his extended POW imprisonment in Vietnam is a fascinating and detailed account of a very painful experience yet spiced with bits of humor in places you would least expect. While the story is to some extent an inventory of tragic events, it is also one of perseverance, accomplishment, happiness and hope that will no doubt serve as an inspiration to others as they encounter life’s recurring obstacles. -- Pete Peterson, former Vietnam POW; later First U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam

A gripping account of the hell holes of Hanoi. I know. I was with Phil through both tough and good times in the Hanoi Hilton. He endured more than most of us and he returned to the USA only to endure even more pain by facing divorce and the destruction of a family he dreamed of for almost eight years.                                     -- Captain Mike McGrath, USN (Ret), 5 years 8 months POW in Hanoi

I vividly have a scene that is forever embedded in my mind, and that scene is of the Hanoi Parade (March of American POWs through streets of Hanoi, July 6, 1966) where you and Hayden Lockhart, who are marching in front of Robbie Risner and me, are getting the holy hell pounded out of you by the Rabbit and other guards. They were kicking you, pulling your hair and forcing your head down. Through it all, there you are, standing tall, erect, and refusing to bow to the Viets.
-- Everett Alvarez – longest held POW in North Vietnam, 8 ½ years

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Also available for iPad and various e-book formats.







Contact Phil Butler

Phil Butler grew up in Oklahoma during and just after World War II where he learned about hero warriors and aspired to be one. He won entry into the U.S. Naval Academy, and from there he became a Naval aviator. He was sent to Vietnam where he flew an A4 Skyhawk attack-fighter jet off the aircraft carrier USS Midway. He had flown a dozen missions in April of 1965 when he was sent, at night, to bomb enemy trucks traveling along Highway One from the north into South Vietnam. When he released his bombs, in a 45 degree dive at 500 knots, they exploded, blowing his plane apart. He managed to eject and tried to escape to Laos for four days and nights but was then captured by the North Vietnamese. They held him captive for eight years. When he finally returned home in February of 1973, he found a completely different world from the one he had left. He was also met by his wife who wanted a divorce. So Phil built a new life for himself, one that contrasted significantly from those of many other returning POWs. He earned a doctorate in social psychology. He also met the love of his life, and they have since been working together to make a better world. 
For more about Phil Butler,
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