Tuesday, May 16, 2017
BOOK REVIEW: Compassionate Soldier by Jerry Borrowman
ABOUT THE BOOK
Compassionate Soldier illuminates fascinating yet largely unknown stories of men and women whose humanity led them to perform courageous acts of mercy and compassion amid the chaos and carnage of war. Arranged by war from the American Revolution to the Iraq War and global in perspective, it features extraordinary stories of grace under fire from valiant soldiers and noncombatants who rose above the inhumanity of lethal conflict and chose compassion, even knowing their actions could put their lives and liberty at risk.
Included are the stories of Patrick Ferguson, a British officer during the American Revolution who had the chance to kill George Washington but refused to shoot a man in the back; Richard Kirkland, a Confederate soldier during the Civil War who took water to wounded Union soldiers during the battle of Fredericksburg; and Oswald Boelcke, a German WWI flying ace who was one of the most influential tacticians of early air combat and was known for making sure the airmen he shot down made it to the ground alive.
These and other inspirational stories illustrate that even in the midst of the unspeakable horrors of war, acts of kindness, mercy, compassion, and humanity can prevail and, in doing so, expand our conventional thinking of honor and battlefield glory.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jerry Borrowman is an award-winning author of historical fiction and nonfiction. He has written about World Wars I and II, the Great Depression, and the Vietnam War. He is the recipient of the George Washington National Medal from the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge. Jerry and his wife, Marcella, raised four children and live in the Rocky Mountains.
War is such a horrible thing and yet millions of people have experienced the horrors of it. But stories like the ones told in this book give one hope that despite "man's inhumanity to man" there is still hope for the human race. Borrowman starts with an intriguing story from the Revolutionary War about a time when George Washington could have been killed but because of the honor of a British soldier was not. Some of the stories here are familiar to me such as the one about the Angel at Fredricksburg, the Confederate soldier who risked his life to provide water to dozens of wounded Union soldiers, as well as the story about a group of German teenagers who risked their lives to oppose Hitler. Additional stories about a nurse, a German fighter pilot, a Nazi prison guard, and a German general all tell remarkable tales of people who had the courage as well as compassion to help others when it would have been so much easier not to. Borrowman does a nice job of providing context for each of his stories so it's easier to understand just how much each of these individuals risked and sometimes lost their lives for. A powerful collection of stories that I highly recommend for reading when the bad news threatens to win the day.