Despite my history background, I am not one to read a lot of military history or focus on wars from the perspective of soldiers. My focus in graduate school was intellectual and diplomatic history. And when I read history now it is rarely focused on the military.
Two things prompted me to read Two Wars: One Hero’s Fight on Two Fronts–Abroad and Within by Nate Self: 1) it was available for free on the Kindle for a period of time and 2) once I started reading it I couldn’t put it down.
It was just one of those stories that grabs you and holds you until you finish. And what it does is give you a first person account of what it is like to train to be a solider, fight in far off places, even return a hero only to struggle with a psychological challenge that is as great a threat as any war or battle.
Here is the publishers descpription:
Former army ranger Nate Self, a hero from the Robert’s Ridge rescue in Afghanistan, tells his whole story—from the pulse-pounding battle in the mountains of Afghanistan to the high-stakes battle he has waged against post traumatic stress disorder. This book will become a go-to book for understanding the long-term effects of the war on terror. Thousands of families are fighting this battle, and Nate opens up his life—including his successes, tragedies, struggles with thoughts of suicide—to show how his faith and his family pulled him through.
I found the writing to be very well done. Self tells the story of how he was drawn to the military, how his career developed, the challenges and rewards of life in the army, all as a backdrop to that life changing battle on the mountain.
But the second half of the book is equally well done. The style changes but the simple and effective descriptions still tell a powerful story – this time about how he struggled to return to “normal” life and how it almost took his marriage and his life.
All of this as a faithful Christian seeking to serve God in every facet of his life. The result is a unique insight into the mind and experiences of a solider fighting on the front lines of the war on terror.