You don’t know the name Patrick Bisher, but that’s understandable. Many of us know very few of the names of those brave men and women who serve our country in the armed forces, spending time away from loved ones, often far from home, defending our freedoms, our allies, and our very way of life. But Patrick Bisher’s name is one you should know. It’s a name that, after reading No Surrender, is now synonymous with resilience, with humility, with hope, with courage, and with sincerity. Imagine a child who loves playing basketball being told he’ll never walk again. Imagine a soldier being told he’ll never return to his unit. Imagine the fortitude, the ferocity, and the heart it takes to prove both statements wrong.
No Surrender is written in three phases — The Boy, The Man, and The Adult — allowing Bisher to explain and explore his childhood, the long journey that led him to the military, and his struggle to realize his dream as a Navy SEAL. Along the way, he chronicles the hardships, both self-inflicted and fate-inflicted, that he dealt with along the way.
Bisher is unflinching in his honesty, never painting himself as a hero, forever careful to remind us of his human failings and foibles. He shares tales of his mentors, those who supported him, those he’s lost and those he’s found. And he shares the times he felt he let them down, or squandered their efforts, or pushed them away. This honesty makes his story all the more remarkable, as a man with a bad leg bears emotional burdens to match his physical ones.
Part memoir and part inspirational message from someone who refused to give up no matter how many obstacles were thrown in his path, No Surrender‘s three-part structure allows him to share the realizations and epiphanies he’s had — both in the moment and that came later upon further reflection.
The entire package is bound up in a religious ribbon, the circuitous path walked by a man who felt betrayed by God, only to find his way when he embraced God. Bisher’s indefatigable resolve truly makes the reader feel like they can accomplish anything. That being said, the third section — “The Adult” — is the weakest of the three, because it’s less about Bisher’s journey and more about the lessons he tries to impart. And while many of those lessons are worthwhile, some come off as so optimistic as to be unrealistic. He cites the quote “The only reason men fail is broken focus,” which is a nice sentiment, but ignores the realities of the world.
Tied in with diatribes about social media and the entitlement of the current generation, Bisher weakens his main point by going off on various tangents. Although this is a small portion of the book, it’s also near the end, so the power and meaning of Bisher’s journey is watered down a bit by these statements. But, again, that is a minor quibble when compared to the emotionally engaging, spiritually enriching storytelling that forms the core of this book. No Surrender is about not only reaching your goals, but figuring out how to set them in the first place.
After editing at City Book Review for a few years, I took up the duties of editorial assistant, which include assigning books for review, posting reviews to our various sites, and nagging reviewers for things. In my non-nagging time, I’m a gamer, artist, writer, and notorious black thumb/bane of plants. My answer to every book-related question: read Octavia Butler.
|Author||Patrick Bisher with Jon Land|
|Page Count||208 pages|
|Publisher||Post Hill Press|
|Amazon||Buy this Book|