This inspiration-packed book is a retelling of a first hand experience dealing with God and war. It allows you to step into the life of Lieutenant Carey H. Cash and learn what it was like for him as a U.S. Marine Chaplain serving in the first ground combat battalion in the war in Iraq. He illustrates his involvement in the fight for peace in a land of chaos. As Lt. Cash describes his relationships with several U.S. Marines, you will gain understanding and compassion for those men. The Bible is a constant reference for Cash in this book, and it is interesting to see how scripture was active in his life as a chaplain.
The highlights of this book included Lt. Cash's ability to relate personal experience to his audience and his eloquent writing style. Even without prior knowledge of the military, it is easy to follow this memoir and to understand Cash's perspective of the war. He explains his situations, without being overly descriptive. For example, when he is describing the children in Baghdad it is impossible not to feel their suffering through his words. He contrasts their characteristics with those of his own children so that people in America can understand their differences. Lt. Cash's mastery of the English language makes this book easy to follow as well as stimulating.
The only part of this book that I had an issue with was the organization. It seemed as though Lt. Cash had a difficult time cutting out any of the personal stories of the men he served with. Long tangents about each individual drew away from the main story, which was his presence in the war.
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in examining a first-hand account of the war in Iraq through a Christian Perspective.
This book offered an in-depth look into the life of a soldier on the front lines and how he applied his disciplined faith in God to the challenges that met him. It is from a unique perspective because few soldiers have the ability and privilege to hear the intimate, personal stories of so many fellow comrades that a chaplain does. The second reason why Carey Cash's perspective is unique is because of his position in one of the most controversial, significant military operations of our time. Operation Iraqi freedom is of monumental historical importance and to have a book an eye witness in the position that Carey was in is a rare gem. A final reason why Carey's perspective is so unique is because of the revelations from his fellow soldiers that he records in the book. He was in a position to have hardened men of war confide in him and entrust their very souls to him. Anyone interested in military affairs has to find this book compelling and interesting. That is one of the strong points of this book: it offers a unique, highly intriguing perspective. For the student of history and/or military affairs, this is a must read.
The book emphasizes personal accounts and at times, it seems to over-emphasize them. I often wondered what was going on outside of a few individual's experiences at certain points of the war that the book describes. But I would have to say that, overall, the emphasis on personal accounts is the better route to go since they are easy to relate to and they give the story a touch of humanity that is easy for the reader to understand. That being said, the book could have included more objective summary of what was happening during the war so that the reader isn't left wondering what was happening beyond a certain unit.
The sentence variety that Carey uses gives the narration a touch of elegance. He uses short and compound sentences to explain a situation and then personalize it with short expressions of relatable emotion. He paints excellent mental pictures with his descriptive style and one feels much more educated about the men and women who serve our country when they read the author's accounts of them. Many passages of the book are heart-wrenching regardless of experience with military situations or conditions. People will be shocked and moved by what soldiers go through every day, from the painful phone calls home to the shock and horror of having your good friend shot to death a foot away from you. Cash is a master at relating personal experience to his audience and this book is a masterpiece of storytelling, not only because it deals with a fascinating and exciting time in history, but because it describes the lives of Carey's fellow soldiers so well. At times, he seems to go off on rabbit trails which make it hard to focus on the important points, but it is a forgivable offense when one looks back on all the personal accounts and puts them together at the end of the book.
If there is one thing that I have an issue with in this book, it is the structure of the narrative. It begins with an intense build-up that has Carey Cash about to crash over the border into Iraq with his unit, ready to engage and destroy any enemy that he might meet. But just as he describes how he crosses the border, he backtracks and tells his life story, leaving the reader hanging and full of suspense. In the lengthy section of his life story, the reader all but forgets what was about to happen before. Then the story splinters off into mini-narratives about the people around Carey Cash. Like I said before, this is a good thing because it adds a colorful personal element to the story, but it muddles the direction of the narrative and the climax of the story almost ambushes you without any warning. There is little build-up because one is focused on the many personal stories. But overall, this was an incredibly moving book and a must-read for everyone.
Truly inspirational! An awesome writing of how God works in our lives every day, and more importantly that miracles happen still today! You will be awestruck and amazed at the testimonies of our brave men and women of our U.S. military!
Have read it twice already and received something different out of it both times. This is the stuff that the news media should talk about. What an amazing story of courage in the face of overwhelming odds, but then that is when God works His wonderful grace.