Sunday, March 26, 2017

Spring Reading 2017 Compassionate Soldier: Remarkable True Stories of Mercy, Heroism, and Honor from the Battlefield


Don't be misled by the title. Although all the stories take place in war zones or during military conflicts, not all the featured individuals are actually soldiers. The accounts of these compassionate folks are presented in chronological order, according to the conflict they were involved in, from the American Revolution to modern day deployments to Iraq. Some stories focus on honor like Captain Ferguson refusing to shoot General Washington in the back, or Robert Campbell giving his word of honor to return to the German prison camp if the Kaiser will release him to visit his dying mother. Others feature battlefield angels like Richard Kirkland at the Battle of Fredericksburg, or nurse and resistance supporter Edith Cavell. Whether it discusses journalist and philanthropist Edith Wharton's efforts to help the women of Paris, or Hunter Scott's quest to find justice for Captain McVay of the U.S.S. Indianapolis, each tale spotlights how humanity can survive and even thrive in the worst of circumstances.

Each of these accounts captures extremes of human behavior, juxtaposing the terror of napalm falling from the sky to the efforts of journalists and medical staff to save a child's life, or a serviceman's bravery in coaxing Japanese civilians and combatants to surrender in WWII's Pacific theater. A few of the stories end with referrals to Bible verses, but even readers who are not deeply religious will still be able to appreciate the grace and compassion shown by these individuals. The author obviously believes strongly in providing these examples for readers to admire and emulate. This book could be used to stimulate discussion about what the duty of one human being is to another, perhaps in a civics or philosophy class. Recommended for grades 4+.

I received an advance copy from the publisher for review purposes.

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