Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Devotions for Boots on the Ground by James W. Visel

Compelling and Personal ; a true testament of faith

From the Publisher

There is possibly nothing more conducive to thoughts of the Eternal than having ones face slammed into red, wet muck, with explosions so close your body arcs and bounces off the ground, hot shards burn in your flesh, and concussions are bright flashes of dirty fire beating a tattoo on the light receptors in the backs of your eyes. Your head aches; throbbing from visual shock waves. Time has come to an end; there is no right, no wrong, only whatever follows a life that is now over. The dark reaper is here. What’s it going to be like on the other side? Is there another side? 

The old timers use the maxim, “There are no atheists in a fox-hole”. Possibly so; I can only give my own experience, and I never had the opportunity to be in one. Combat aviators crash and sometimes burn instead. But close calls almost always give rise to interminable questions; especially when the survived experience is seared into the human psyche. For some, satisfactory answers never seem to come. For myself, may I pro-offer both scorching experience, and incredible life-lessons learned? Then, should you ever fall into similar adventure; you man go into it better prepared than I was.
                                                                                                -- James W. Visel

My Take

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up Devotions for Boots on the Ground. Would it be about Visel’s Vietnam War experiences? Would it be a devotional? Or his journey with God? I was quite surprised to find out it was about all of them.

Visel tells stories about combat that may be disturbing to some but they are the truth---a truth that nobody really talks about. Some parts are gruesome but Visel tempers them with bible verses and interpretations of God’s voice. 

I personally know James W. Visel and know that he is a very faithful Christian and always relates life to bible teachings. He does this same thing in Devotions for Boots on the Ground. He constantly looks for God’s lesson in the events described in the book. 

There are also amusing accounts of soldiers letting of some steam interspersed in Visel’s account of a situation. With all the death and destruction in Vietnam, it’s understandable that the solders played practical jokes and made light of certain events. 

One suggestion I would make is to have an appendix or list with all the abbreviations and their meanings. That would have been very helpful for a layperson. The military is full of acronyms and it's hard to keep track of them if the reader doesn't have a military background. 

I give Devotions for Boots on the Ground 4 starts. For new author, James W. Visel, the writing is compelling, sometimes hard to read, but the reader feels part of the story. With a published book under his belt, Visel had a promising future as a writer.

I received this book free for personal use. I am not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

About the Author

James W. Visel is a highly decorated helicopter crew chief who did three tours of duty with the 173rd Assualt Helicopter Company “Robin Hoods” during 1966, 1967, and 1968. He was shot down or crashed due to catastrophic mechanical failure seven times and wounded twice during the Vietnam War.   

Targeting today’s GIs and their families, and drawing from personal experiences, the author reveals the surprising source of his incredible courage. A maverick whose life experience mad him passionately spiritual-minded; is a decorated combat vet, family man, 40 yr. building boss, skydiver, pilot; who projects refreshing, out of the box perspective to intense situations. Life can get dicey, Jim articulates, but God is faithful. You can trust Him!

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