The Truth about War, Told With Fiction

Proof of Our Resolve by Chris Hernandez

Genere(s): War, Action, Ficto-biography, Afghanistan
Publisher: Tactical 16, LLC
Availability: eBook
Description: Proof of Our Resolve is a novel about a Texas Army National Guard infantry platoon deployed to Afghanistan. This books attempts to convey some of the experiences of soldiers serving in Afghanistan through a fictional platform. 

Proof of our ResolveThis book is listed as fiction, but for anyone who has served this is more of conglomeration of stories that actually happened to the author or his fellow service members told within a fictional platform. I was in the Army for 12 years and to this day I still find it hard to convey what real world operations feel like but Chris Hernandez has no such limitations. I have read hundreds of military fiction books and this is by far one of the best I have ever read. Because I know many of the instances in this story are based on reality, it shows just how skilled an author Mr. Hernandez is. At 197 pages this book is just the right length, although most of the time while reading this book I wanted it to be longer, I wanted more, but by the time the book finished it was just the right length.

This book actually touches on several aspects of military life including combat, day-to-day military life and what I call “Dirty Boots Leadership”. The combat action in this book focuses mostly on first person perspectives. There is some bird’s-eye commentary but for the most part, we as readers are only allowed to know as much as the characters know. I love it when an author describes combat this way. It truly portrays how it feels to be there as opposed to feeling like you are reading about a battle or engagement in a history book. With Proof of Our Resolve, Chris Hernandez has captured in book form the same jarring combat experience that audience members were exposed to when watching the movie Saving Private Ryan. The pace of this book is worth mentioning, because like any other book it has its peaks and valleys. As you can guess, the combat operations were by far the most exciting but without overdoing it, Mr. Hernandez was able to fill the valleys with a quick glimpse of what life is like the rest of the time for soldiers. Plenty of books and movies cover what down time is like for service members, and rather than beat a dead horse, Proof of Our Resolve touches on it and uses those scenes to enhance the page-turning action sequences.

Now let’s discuss the “Dirty Boots Leadership” I mentioned earlier. Chris Hernandez was a leader, which you can tell just by reading this book. What he did in Proof of Our Resolve is cut away all of the leadership concepts that seem so easy to implement when read from a manual and went straight to the dirty boots side of leadership that no school or manual can prepare you for. People seldom discuss the self doubt and second guessing that goes on in a leader’s head. Authors tend to glaze over the inner turmoil that a leader faces when one of the soldiers under their command dies or is hurt. Describing things like this don’t make for good fiction, but they are the most difficult part of being a leader. There is no manual that can tell you what to say to a soldier who just zipped up the body bag containing parts of his best friend and is still covered in their blood. Chris Hernandez goes there in Proof of Our Resolve and he is willing to say all of those things most leaders and servicemen don’t want to discuss. These moments are not the focus of the book, but in some ways they are some of the most important. I could easily see this book making an SGM‘s recommended reading list for NCOs, as well as enlisted soldiers.

This book was not without its faults though, as no book is. I was very worried that Mr. Hernandez was going to play up the identifiable enemy who the soldiers had to neutralize at all costs and in a way he did. He saved himself at the end of the story, but it was touch and go for a while. Because of the nature of the fight in Afghanistan the enemy is often unknown or worse sitting right next to you wearing an ANA uniform. Mr. Hernandez makes this obvious but he dipped his toes in the well-defined good guy/bad guy pool just a bit deeper than I would have liked. My biggest complaint was his use of “Hooah!“, especially towards the end of the novel. For those readers who are not in the Army, hooah is a kind of catchall phrase that the Army commercialized for recruiting purposes. Hooah is still used in the Army but it is often frowned upon. The hooahs were in check for the first part of the book, but by the end SFC Nunez had a bit of “hooah diarrhea.”

Proof of Our Resolve is a really well-written and accurate depiction of the type of engagements and the participants in those engagements in Afghanistan. Chris Hernandez was careful not to overwhelm the reader with tons of acronyms and the ones that he included, he explained. These explanations made Proof of Our Resolve the type of book that military and civilians can read and enjoy with ease. There are some tough moments in this book and there are chapters that will piss you off. Any book than can evoke the emotions that this book evoked for me is worth twice the cover price. It bothers me that this book will not get the exposure that it deserves because it is being released by a small company, but that is the only small thing about this story.

It doesn’t matter if you are serving, have served or have never served, this book has something for you. Even if you don’t support the war in Afghanistan, this book will give you an insight into what our troops are going through and how it is affecting their lives, in and out of uniform. This book is proof of Chris Hernandez’ resolve to tell the average soldiers story to as broad an audience as possible.

Cape Rust

Cape Rust is an international man of thespionage. Being a fat, bald version of James Bond, his geek interests are wide (like his belly) and varied. His collection of gadgets (electronic and travel related) are only rivaled by the amount of pockets found on most items of clothing he wears. Other geek interests include RPGs, PC gaming, enormous Corgis, and Community theater.

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7 Responses

  1. Brett64 says:

    Great book and probably the best review I have ever read.

  2. Greathouse Steve says:

    I served in Iraq with Chris and can tell you that in addition to being a great author, he’s a great Soldier, and a fierce friend. Loved the above review but must correct one error…the Army does NOT discourage the “Hoo-ah” and its used by all motivated combat-arms Soldiers regularly. It means something like, “yes I will comply and am motivated to do so”, “yes”, “lets kick some ass”, and well…pretty much anything but “no”. But as for the book, it’s great, buy it!

    • Cape Rust says:

      Steve, I got and get the same impressions about Chris it is good to have them confirmed. And yes the Army encourages hooah, they are even marketing it, however when I surved Hooah was still a catch all but with less positive meanings. And I can’t tell you have many no hooah zones I’ve been in or seen, I’ve known plenty of movitated combat arms soldiers that won’t touch it with a ten meter non-metallic mine probe. The normally sound off with things like All the way or second to none, first team or steel. I’ve even heard a few say sappers forwad or death before dismount. Thanks for reading the review and thanks for your service!

  3. Pedro Benitez says:

    Good review…gonna go check it out! Amazon?

  4. Jennanicolenixon says:

    Ok, so I was encouraged to read this book due to rave reviews I heard from a family member. I have never been in the military, and I am a 30 yo woman. The closest I’ve been to military was have clinixals at BAMC ( which I loved by the way).. anyhow, I absolutely loved this book. I think that says a lot being that I have never read a book on this subject. I usually read either romance novels, or true crime, so for a book like this to get my attn and keep my attn means that it must be amazing. I read this book completely through the day I started it. I couldn’t put it down. I felt like I was in combat, even felt my heart race with anxiety at certain parts and I put the book down wanting more. I can’t wait for another book from this author!

    • Cape Rust says:

      It is good to hear from someone who has not served, it really is an amazing story. Thanks for reading the book, my review and visiting the site.

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