When life loses its meaning, when suddenly the world is turned upside down, when there's nothing left that resembles life as we've known it, where do we find the strength and sustenance to go on? This dramatic telling of naval aviator Jerry Coffee and others who were held as prisoners of war in North Vietnam shows that there was only one choice: To go within.
Beyond Survival is a journey into the invincible human spirit that unites heart and mind in a compelling and unforgettable experience. Drawing from his seven years as a POW, Captain Coffee provides timeless lessons that apply to the physical, emotional, and ethical challenges of everyday life. Proving that leadership and creativity are possible in difficult and uncertain circumstances, Captain Coffee uses sound effects and multiple voice actors to tell the story and offer a message we can draw on in any trying situation. His story demonstrates that conviction must come from within, and in telling that story he touches the place inside of us where growth begins. Beyond Survival is a positive statement about love and commitment in the midst of war and division. It contrasts the cold reality of war, degradation, and torture with the warmth of human connections, inner serenity, and kinship with all of life. It poignantly illustrates that to be stripped of everything that is familiar and by which we identify ourselves leaves us with only what unites us - our human identity. It conveys truths about relationships at every level - with ourselves, with others, with our country, and with our God. Without inflaming the wounds inflicted by America's involvement in Vietnam, Beyond Survival explores an issue at the heart of every free society: the willingness of ordinary individuals to maintain a passion for freedom so compelling that adversity strengthens rather than weakens personal resolve in the worst of circumstances. Through Gerald Coffee's story you will discover the universal principles of survival and triumph that empower anyone to overcome adversity.
“My dear friend Jerry Coffee is a man I’ve become as close to as practically anyone I’ve ever known. It would be very difficult for me to describe all Jerry’s achievements from the Cuban Missile Crisis to his bravery and courage in the Vietnam conflict. I will just say that in prison after the treatment had improved rather dramatically I had the great fun and privilege of living in the same cell with him for a couple of years. I think I found his company a lot more agreeable than he found mine, given my always even-tempered, unemotional approach to things. And although Jerry is a lousy bridge player, I have never known a more kind and generous American. I am very proud that for so many years he has traveled the country giving inspirational talks to people from all walks of life and every strata of America - not only because he has a compelling story but because of his particular fashion of describing the attributes associated with duty, honor, and our country.” (John McCain, captain, US Navy (ret.); Vietnam POW 10/26/67-3/14/73; US senator, Arizona, 1986-2018)
“Jerry and I lived in the same cell for the last 31/2 years we were in prison.... Jerry was a joy to live with. I never met a more even tempered individual or bigger optimist than Jerry. He was also somewhat of a visionary with a Bohemian streak.... Every once in a while Jerry would sit back against the wall and come back to the same theme about the future. He’d say, 'Ev, you know someday we’re going to go home and people back home aren’t going to understand what we’ve been through. It’s going to be so hard to conceive. And there’s a message here, a message we need to tell.' I didn’t grasp the full meaning of what he was saying for a long while, but it finally came. Jerry has mastered the ability to articulate the essence of the experience and those values and principles that are our legacy: honor, commitment, sacrifice, integrity, and faith. Nobody tells this story better than Jerry Coffee. I can’t tell you how many times - all over the country - I run into people who say, 'Do you know this fellow Jerry Coffee?', because they’ve just been somewhere and heard him speak. And I say, sure I know him, and they go 'Wow! Boy, he blew our socks off. He’s tremendous.'” (Everett Alvarez, commander, US Navy (ret.), longest held Vietnam POW 8/5/64-2/12/73; deputy director, Peace Corps; deputy director, Veterans Administration; founder, Alvarez and Associates)
What listeners say about Beyond Survival
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This is a fantastic read - a powerful message about the human spirit, based on real events, and told in a relatable story format. Highly recommend.
- Anonymous User
Sound too quiet
I was listening on my I phone XS and just felt like I couldn’t make it loud enough. This could be the phone’s limits.