Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
Proof of Our Resolve Paperback – August 5, 2013
See the Best Books of 2017
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for the best books of the year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Proof of Our Resolve reads like a true story. It's a narrative that has something real to say, and expressing that reality takes precedence over the embellishments of mindless entertainment or the metaphors and literary subversions of highbrow fiction. It's the experience of a war veteran told through the lens of a fictional medium, which provides a voice for the personal struggles that could never be captured in a simple memoir. Autobiographies--the ones I've read, in any case--tend to work backwards from a known conclusion, and are never as soul-baring or revealing as they suggest. By projecting autobiography into a fictionalized milieu, however, there is no escaping the inside voice or internal conflict. Rather than getting some butt-covering burnishing of credentials after the fact, this feels more like a journey into the very soul of a soldier.
Proof of Our Resolve starts off in breathless fashion by inserting us directly into a military convoy in Afghanistan, where we half-expect an IED attack at any moment. We are also introduced to Sergeant First Class Jerry Nunez, who serves as the narrative anchor to the story. He and his Texas National Guard infantry platoon have been assigned to work alongside the French army in Kapisa province, and we follow a story arc of impotent frustration as these soldiers fight an enemy that manipulates the rules of engagement to its advantage.
Something that impressed me immensely was how the French were portrayed here as real soldiers. Too often the ignorant "cheese-eating surrender monkey" caricature takes a shameful centre stage. The mutual respect between French and American forces here, however, gave an air of authenticity that is sorely missing from the usual tales of Stars and Stripes with guns a-blazin'. Instead of whitewashed heroism befitting a Hollywood screenplay, this seemed in every respect to be the real deal.
In terms of literary criticism, my impressions were almost entirely positive. Any scenes where the soldiers were off base had a crackling energy that kept me on the edge of my seat. The tension was often ratcheted to a nail-biting degree, and the action was fluidly written with an incredibly well-realized spatial awareness. I always had a clear mental image of physical layouts, friendly positions and the relative direction of incoming enemy fire. Reading these scenes was effortless, and I was continually swept into the action without any difficulty.
The continual chirping between the soldiers was another strong point, and it seemed to always come at the perfect moment. I suppose that's something you get a feel for after so many years of service, but experience doesn't necessarily translate to the written word. This felt just about pitch-perfect. With one scene involving a misplaced water bottle, I actually laughed out loud for longer than I can remember laughing at any other book in recent memory. That's just plain impressive.
Where the writing suffers just a little, in my opinion, is the expositional dialogue. When the narrative had to relay factual information or set up the next series of events, the writing suddenly became just a bit too stiff and formal. The words coming out of Nunez's mouth didn't feel like they belonged to the character I was familiar with from scenes outside of the firebase, and the effect was a little jarring. Gone was the fluidity of the previous scenes, and it suddenly felt like I was being led through events rather than experiencing them.
There are two scenes in particular where Nunez has to make phone or house calls, and these are the hardest for me to voice an opinion about. The inner turmoil may have been drawn out just a little too long for my taste, but there was also an incredibly powerful resonance behind the words. These were scenes from real life, so intimate that you almost feel compelled to look away. Any minor issues that I had with pacing or wooden dialogue were more than amply rewarded by the privilege of experience something so genuine beneath the text.
I feel confident in predicting that Proof of Our Resolve is going to stay with me for some time. It's simply too real to accept as just another story. If publicity is to be believed, Chris is planning to write a series of books in a similar vein. If so, I can guarantee you that I'll be standing in line to get my copy.
Were it written by a civilian, this novel would more than likely not rate the four stars that it does.
No, that does not mean that as a veteran, I'm giving this review simply because Chris is a fellow veteran.
That does mean that Chris's veteran status allows him to near-perfectly put the reader in a realistic combat situation.
Anybody who has done a tour in either sandbox will read this book and they will immediately recognize people that they served with. Not that those specific individuals were written into the novel, but that every Army unit has people like those described in the prose.
They'll recognize the characteristic dark humor of combat arms, the humor developed when you face death on a daily basis and must find a coping mechanism to remain sane.
They'll recognize the long moments of boredom punctuated with brief periods of sheer terror and devastation, especially in the wake of a loss.
They'll recognize the frustration from higher ups refusing to actually commit to winning a war due to their misguided notion that fighting a propaganda war is more important than actually defeating the enemy on the battlefield.
And--the part that struck home the hardest--they'll recognize the feelings of coming home to a nation indifferent, and the anger and resentment that builds from that feeling. When I read the ending, I was immediately transported back to the summer of 2009, shortly after I had returned from Iraq, and old feelings rushed to the forefront.
Chris Hernandez GETS IT because he's been there before.
If you're a veteran, you owe it to yourself to read it to know that there are others out there who can relate to your feelings and experiences.
If you're a civilian, you owe it to yourself to read it to get a glimpse as to the feelings and experiences that many veterans have endured.
Writers get better as they continue to write. I have absolute confidence that Chris's subsequent books will show him moving closer to hitting his stride, and when he hits his stride, he will be unstoppable as an author.
Most recent customer reviews
Chris Hernandez.Read more