Book Review: FORTITUDE by US Representative and Navy SEAL Dan Crenshaw
Updated: Jun 29, 2020
I am a sucker for good marketing and I bought the book from an ad I saw that provided a signed copy at a very reasonable rate. I am delighted I bought the book.
I devoured it immediately and it is worthy of your time. Politics aside, this dude is not just a war hero, but a certified badass, having gone through US Navy SEAL BUDS Hell Week twice, because he broke his leg on the first pass.
Which should make him certifiable, but I’ll let you judge that.
Yes, the book is heavy on SEAL training and it gave me more insight into how truly insane that standard of excellence is. Less than 20% of the candidates succeed, and from the SEALS I know I have determined that any one of them could eat three Marines, and I know many hard-chargers in the latter group, including myself.
This is not ghost written. Crenshaw is no slouch, a graduate of Tufts University and, after his service, Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. He quotes many people with ease, including John Paul II and Thomas Sowell, which gives the reader a clear indication of his leanings. He is candid about his down-range service, injuries, weak moments of overwhelming self-doubt, and impatience in recovery.
There is much to unpack in the book, but my strongest impressions were about his search for meaning, disavowing victim identity politics which turn into a hatred of America, and his personal stoicism. Yeah, Crenshaw’s a Republican, but I was reading from his reasonable man’s perspective, and I believe he is not one to knee-jerk his way into a corner.
Over 87% of the reviews on Amazon are five-star, a true indicator of popularity. But I read the one-star reviews, and they all broke along politically ideological lines. Look, I read Barack Obama’s two biographies before he was elected to the presidency, and although I disagreed with virtually everything he stated in both books, I didn’t puke. They were in 44's voice and no one should have been surprised by his administration.
I suspect if you don’t agree with a person’s politics you can’t learn from them, according to the negative reviews. No wonder there is so much unnecessary venom in public discourse today. Crenshaw rises above that easily.
I am predisposed to like the man, appreciate his service and personal sacrifice, and respect his going above his disability and making stuff happen. Good stuff. With luck, Crenshaw will remain on the national stage for a long time. His stoicism and ability to calmly address outrage culture is worthy of all our respect.
His last two lines sums it up for him, and I embrace it: “I will do my part. I will live with fortitude.”