Sunday, April 22, 2012

My Men Are My Heroes by Brad Kasal and Nathaniel R. Helms

This is one of those books that manages to succeed despite its failings. The story this book has to tell is one everyone should hear. Yes, the book’s poor execution detracts from the readability of the book, but I would encourage you to slog through the antiseptic prose and lack of personality to reach the important underlying story. Understand that this book isn’t as much about Brad Kasal as it is about his men. The title of the books is My Men Are My Heroes. It is not I Am My Own Hero. If you can remember that as you read the book, the book starts to make a little more sense to you and becomes more readable.

Kasal’s story is one that reminds us of those things that are truly important in life. This book does not focus as much on the actions in which Kasal took part, but more on the life beyond those actions -- both before and after. Sitting comfortably on our couches at home, it is easy to forget that the time a Marine spends at war is quite limited compared to the number of years in which he lives outside of the war. Yet that time becomes a defining moment for these men that inevitably affects every aspect of their life and the lives of those who interact with them. And that is where this book succeeds.

This book does a good job of helping the reader better understand the Marine as a whole. This book takes you from the young man who dreams of becoming a Marine to the battle tested warrior and beyond. It gives a fuller picture of the Marine and his mindset. And that mindset isn’t an egocentric “it’s all about me” mindset. Again, reference the title of the book.

Take the time to read this book and consider what Kasal’s story is really about. This isn’t a war story so much as it is a life story. Of course when you’re a battle tested warrior, I suppose it is safe to say that your life story is indeed a story of war and its far reaching affects on your life. That my not be a war story in the classic sense, but it is still a story of war nevertheless.

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