The Return of Private Fischer: A Love Story

The Return of Private Fischer: A Love Story tells the story of the interrupted love of Babe and Jack, two real people in San Francisco whose lives were forever changed by the Korean War. Private Jack Fischer is captured, but his teenage love, Babe, never gives up searching for him. His escape, decades later, captures the world’s attention as Babe and Jack overcome the governments that don’t want Jack’s secrets revealed. The Return of Private Fischer is all the more compelling because Babe and Jack were real people whose lives were forever altered by the Korean War.

The Return of Private Fischer tells their real love story in post-World War II San Francisco and then provides a fictional completion of their lives: Private Jack Fischer as a prisoner of war in Communist China and Siberia and Babe Barsi in San Francisco. In the decades that have passed since the end of the Korean War, enough information has been discovered about the fate of the forgotten American and Allied POW’s that the ultimate message in this story is that it could have really happened.




“A powerful love story that is both triumph and tribute to a Marine whose capture during the Korean War compels his girlfriend to search for him throughout Siberia.”

-Chris Smith, Columnist; The Press Democrat

**** Four Star Review****  San Francisco Book Review

The Return of Private Fischer connects with a reader who had their own MIA family member “returned” from war. 

by Ann Howes 5 stars


I have just finished reading The Return of Private Fischer: A Love Story, the part-true, part-fiction story of a Korean War POW who survives the war in Soviet captivity and of the love he left behind that never stops seeking to find him and bring him home. 


Wow! The story was wonderful and moving to me for two reasons. First, I thought it was very well written and contained a great deal of thought provoking information about POW/MIAs and the heartfelt angst that is left behind for decades in their absence. Second, because our family had our own MIA that was explained completely and accurately to us. In our case, however, the remains of our missing family member was returned to us after more than 40 years. In August of 2011 we received the remains of my brother-in-law, CWO George A. Howes who had been Missing In Action since January 10, 1970. We were able to put him to rest and give ourselves some comfort that he had finally “come home.”


Andy, as he was known, disappeared in a helicopter “in bad weather.” That is the government’s story and they are sticking to it….The family was told by several sources that they were flying a black mission into Laos and that Andy was the sole survivor of the crash. He was moved to South Vietnam and “traded” to the NVA for guns and butter and then moved up the Ho Chi Minh Trail into Northern Laos. No one was ever repatriated from that area of Laos. His remains, consisting of parts of 7 bones (minus a skull), were turned over by the North Vietnamese in 1988. The comingled remains of the other 3 crew members were turned over in 1989. The 5th man on the helicopter has never been acknowledged. Two of crew were identified fairly quickly (although no one has told us this, I think there were teeth or skulls with them) and buried without notice to the other 2 families. The pilot was identified and buried a couple of years ago but there was nothing of Andy until 2010. The Army told us in December of 2010 that they had identified his remains due to an advance in DNA identification. We waited until our grandson returned from overseas with the Marines for Andy’s service because our grandson asked to escort the remains. There is a lovely memorial page on Facebook with lots of pictures of the service and remarks. His hometown of Knox Indiana gave him a dignified but bang-up funeral and then we took him to Arlington National Cemetery for burial.


I found it so ironic to be given a book on someone waiting for and searching for a missing military man. I searched for Andy from Washington to Paris and anywhere I could find someone who would listen and try to help – including the infamous Cora Weiss. Although not Andy’s wife, as I read, the feelings came bubbling up of the desperation and frustration of those attempts. However, I take some comfort in believing that we have Andy home perhaps as a result of those efforts. There have been so many “rumors” of men in China and Russia and many have attempted to crack through that steel wall to little avail. I am pretty certain that Robert Fischer wrote more of a non-fiction story than most people will realize.


I am so grateful to have shared with Robert the story of his brother and am thankful I was given that book to read. It is so important to have that story “out there”. I hope everyone reads and enjoys this tremendously good book about something we should all understand better.


The Return of Private Fischer is one of those rare uplifting stories about something sad that lifts your spirit and makes you laugh with joy.

To check out more reviews please check out the Authors page.

Robert Fischer | Author


The Return of Private Fischer is Robert Fischer’s second published novel and tells a part true and part fictional story of his lost brother, Jack Fischer. Robert Fischer is the author of Plane Jane (2010) and resides in northern California where he is at work creating more fantastic adventures.



Read more about Robert Fischer


Robert Fischer discusses his book "The Return of Private Fischer - A Love Story"

See more on the Martin Pearl YouTube Channel

Feature article in "The Front Page" May, 2012 newsletter
Reno, Nevada – July, 2012 

When thousands of veterans of foreign wars came to Reno for the 113th VFW National Convention, they were able to meet ex-Marine Robert Fischer whose book, The Return Of Private Fischer,  directly appealed to the heart and soul of the VFW organization. The Return of Private Fischer unfolds during the Korean War when his then 19-year old brother, Jack, has been taken prisoner. The fact-based novel spans several decades of Jack’s life in the Soviet gulag system and the quest of Robert and Jack’s love, Babe, to find and free him. Millions of servicemen, women and families of P.O.Ws can personally relate to Fischer’s story. So too could the veterans at the Convention, many of whom left friends behind in their wars.