Friday, January 14, 2011

Couple of Books -- Survivors

One thing in this house is a constant...somewhere there'll be a stack of books. 

I can definitely say I get my tax dollars' worth from my local library.   I reserve them from the online site quite often, to be delivered to my local branch, and for books not in the wider system, there is an easy way to request books free through inter-library loans (which have brought books to me from faraway states).

I'm not sure how I chose these two, but I recently enjoyed reading The Phantom Warrior, by Forrest Bryant Johnson

and Devil At My Heels by Louis Zamperini.  

(No, I don't get anything for endorsing the books...)

Both books are true stories about two very different men from quite different backgrounds who survived great challenges during World War 2 (and in one of the cases, survived being a prisoner of war and being stranded for weeks in the middle of the ocean on a life raft without food and water). 

The common denominator between the two books is the fact that they both are about men who overcame very real perils and who maintained a "can-do" attitude despite real discouragement, some struggles, and the unexpected.  They're a good read for a reality check, or just a little backbone,  when feeling discouraged about our economics or when we might be tempted to get into a slump when faced with repeated challenges.

One of the men was an Olympic athlete, the other never finished school beyond 3rd grade.  One was raised in the city, the other in the country.  One was determined to not give up, the other did his duty and found himself an unlikely hero.  Both were survivors, and their stories are the sort I  never tire of, and wish I could listen to told by our older generations as my own grandparents used to share memories with us kids at night, sitting out on the back porch and listening to the night sounds.  These books are real war stories...and I love hearing these men's voices telling their histories.   Because history has a way of repeating itself in different ways.

Good reads...and worth checking out, even if you're not normally a nonfiction war book junkie :)

What books have helped give you gumption when you needed it?

Ah...the sun's about down for the night, and the weekend commences.   Shabbat shalom to all, and a restful weekend :)


Melodie said...

My son read the first one and said it was very good,he loves all books military related!

Wendy said...

I'm a huge fan of "war" stories, because I think times of war test our mettle like nothing else, and I think the stories also give us some insight into what real desparate times are like. I mean combine absolute terror with significant deprivation and you'll see what you're made of, right?

If you like WWII books, you might like Ghost Soldiers by Stephen Ambrose (who also wrote Band of Brothers). The former is about the Bataan Death March and the subsequent imprisonment of our soldiers by the Japanese. What they went through was pretty awful, and they were truly tested.

Mr. H. said...

Regardless of their political and religious beliefs I am always inspired by "The Good Life" series of books by Scott & Helen Nearing. I might have to read The Phantom Warrior sometime.

Robbyn said...

Melodie, neat! Does he have any other favorites he would recommend?

Wendy, yes, real people have the best stories and just think of how many are really overcomers but no one else knows their stories. I'll check out Ghost Soldiers...Phantom Warrior was written about the same geographic area after Bataan.

Mr. H, again, can't believe I haven't read those yet...I seriously am going to get right on it :)