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2021 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama
- Alaska
- Arizona (1)
- Arkansas
- California (4)
- Colorado (1)
- Connecticut (1)
- Delaware
- Florida
- Georgia
- Hawaii (1)
- Idaho
- Illinois (4)
- Indiana
- Iowa
- Kansas
- Kentucky (1)
- Louisiana (1)
- Maine
- Maryland (1)
- Massachusetts (1)
- Michigan (1)
- Minnesota (1)
- Mississippi
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- Nebraska (1)
- Nevada (1)
- New Hampshire (1)
- New Jersey (1)
- New Mexico
- New York (4)
- North Carolina (1)
- North Dakota
- Ohio (6)
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- Pennsylvania (1)
- Rhode Island (1)
- South Carolina (1)
- South Dakota
- Tennessee
- Texas (1)
- Utah (1)
- Vermont (2)
- Virginia (3)
- Washington (3)
- West Virginia
- Wisconsin
- Wyoming (1)
- *Washington, D.C.

International:
Australia (2)
Canada (3)
England (6)
France (1)
Ireland (1)
Switzerland (1)
The Philippines (1)
Wales (1)

My Progress:


28 / 51 states. 55% done!

2021 Fall Into Reading Challenge

My Progress:


0 / 24 books. 0% done!

2021 Children's Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

2021 Children's Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
(Hosted by Yours Truly!)

My Progress:


6 / 25 books. 24% done!

2021 Popsugar Reading Challenge

My Progress:


33 / 50 books. 66% done!

Booklist Queen's 2021 Reading Challenge

My Progress:


35 / 52 books. 67% done!

2021 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

2021 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

The 52 Club's 2021 Reading Challenge

My Progress:


39 / 52 books. 75% done!
Monday, October 05, 2020

Mormon Mentions: Jon Erwin and William Doyle

If you're not sure what a Mormon is, let alone a Mormon Mention, allow me to explain:  My name is Susan and I'm a Mormon (you've seen the commercials, right?).  As a member of  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (commonly known as the Mormon or LDS Church), I'm naturally concerned with how my religion is portrayed in the media.  Because this blog is about books, every time I see a reference to Mormonism in a book written by someone who is not a member of my church, I highlight it here.  Then, I offer my opinion—my insider's view—of what the author is saying.  It's my chance to correct misconceptions, expound on principles of the Gospel, and even to laugh at my (sometimes) crazy Mormon culture.

(Note:  In 2018, Russell M. Nelson—president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saintsmade an impassioned plea to members of the Church and to the media to always use the full and correct name of the Church instead of referring to it by its various nicknames.  This led to the renaming of many Church entities, including its famous choir, which is now The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square.  Thus, I'm trying to think of a new name for my "Mormon Mentions" feature.  Any ideas?) 

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In Beyond Valor, the authors discuss how various Medal of Honor recipients react to the award, which often honors actions taken on the worst day of their lives.  On Page 96, it says:

"Some recipients have battled depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and periods of great despair and failure in civilian life.  Pvt. Thomas C. Neibaur of Idaho was the first Mormon to receive the Medal of Honor, which recognized his actions in France on October 16, 1918.  In 1939, discouraged by misfortune and unable to feed his family, Neibaur mailed his Medal of Honor and other decorations to Congress, stating, "I cannot eat them."  Within three years, both he and his wife died, and their four sons were sent to an orphanage in Michigan."

I'm not sure what to say about this except what a terribly sad story.  I did find this article about Neibaur, which gives more details about his life and military service.  

Grandson's Tribute to His World War II Hero Moving and Faith-Promoting

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Imagine you're the radio operator on a B-29 Superfortress airplane flying over Japan on a bombing mission during World War II.  As you're dropping the explosives through a chute, one backfires, filling your aircraft with smoke.  Blinded and knowing you have only seconds to act before the bomb detonates, killing you and the rest of the men on board, what do you do?  

If you're 23-year-old Henry "Red" Erwin, you grab the bomb, make a desperate, sightless crawl through the aircraft, find an available window, and force it outside.  You save your buddies but at an incredible cost to yourself.  With third-degree burns over at least 20-50% of your body, you spend the next few years undergoing agonizing operations and procedures to save your skin, reconstruct your ear, and rebuild your face.  Even then, you must go through the rest of your life with a damaged body.  Your face will always bear horrific scars, the kind of disfigurement that scares children and makes adults gasp.  You receive the Medal of Honor, a prize that comes with its own weight.  Was it worth the sacrifice?  If you're Red Erwin, the answer is a resounding yes.

In Beyond Valor, Red's grandson, Jon Erwin along with co-writer William Doyle, tells the story of Red's heroism during World War II.  They also explore the two things that most strengthened Red during his ordeal in the B-29 and throughout his long, painful recovery—his marriage and his faith.  Although Beyond Valor is less than 200 pages, it's packed with a lot of interesting information, which made it a quick but impactful read.  I especially enjoyed learning about Red's constant reliance on God and would, in fact, have liked to hear more about that.  Still, I found his story to be a powerful example of how faith can help us through our darkest hours.  Although Red's tale is both intriguing and moving, my favorite part of Beyond Valor might actually be a section at the end of the book entitled "Seven Prayers."  It details seven instances in which American presidents called on their Creator to help them in times of great national stress.  Again, it's a faith-promoting testament to the power of prayer and faith.  All of these elements combined to make Beyond Valor a touching, uplifting read.  I don't always enjoy non-fiction books about war, but this one engaged me, made me think, and touched my soul.

Jon Erwin and his brother, Andy, are the creators of faith-based films like their 2018 hit I Can Only Imagine.  The duo plans to make a movie based on their grandfather's World War II experience.

(Readalikes:  Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for brief, mild language (no F-bombs), violence, and blood/gore

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of Beyond Valor from the generous folks at TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!

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Interested in more reviews of Beyond Valor?  Click on the links below to follow along on the book's blog tour:


Monday, September 21st: @hannah_reads

Tuesday, September 22nd: Savvy Verse and Wit – author guest post

Thursday, September 24th: Treestand Book Reviews

Monday, September 28th: What is That Book About – excerpt

Wednesday, September 30th: Books Cooks Looks – excerpt

Thursday, October 1st: @meetmeinthestacks

Monday, October 5th: Bloggin’ ‘Bout Books

Wednesday, October 7th: @lets_talk_books_and_cats

Thursday, October 8th: Living My Best Book Life and @livingmybestbooklife

Monday, October 12th: Laura’s Reviews

Thursday, October 19th: @liferhi_inspired

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