Still Standing: The Story of SSG John Kriesel
John Kriesel as told to Jim Kosmo
Beaver’s Pond Press (2010)
Reviewed by Joseph Yurt for Reader Views (1/11)
Most American’s perceptions of life as an Army foot soldier in recent wars in the Middle East are based on shallow television news reports, newspaper and magazine snapshot stories, and a casualty count that is relatively low compared with previous wars. The result is false impressions of the continued patriotism, commitment, and hellish experiences that today’s soldiers share with their fallen brothers throughout American military history. Anyone who has such impressions will find them rocked to the core upon reading “Still Standing: The Story of SSG John Kriesel” as told to and penned by award-winning journalist Jim Kosmo.
The publisher proclaims that this is not just another war story, but rather the story of an ordinary young man from Minnesota who, after sustaining unthinkable injuries from the detonation of a roadside bomb in Iraq, overcomes extraordinary challenges with the help of a lot of medical and rehab personnel, friends and family. Ultimately, through the power of positive thinking, he emerges stronger and more in love with his country, his wife, his children, and with his own life.
Mr. Kosmo writes “In the end I would love to reveal John Kriesel’s magic formula for staying positive in the face of every incredible obstacle.” But his conclusion was that SSG Kriesel simply used the power of positive thinking. Yes, the same formula prescribed by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale in his 1952 book “The Power of Positive Thinking.” A quote in the book from John Kriesel typifies the positive attitude that guided his spirit from the time the reader first meets him at age 17. “If I can’t fight, I can serve. One thing I have learned is that when doors of opportunity get slammed in your face, whether by a bomb blast in Iraq, auto accident at home, loss of your job, death of a loved one, or any personal tragedy, new doors are waiting for you to push them open.”
Whether you can teach people positive thinking is debatable. But one thing for certain is that if Dr. Peale was still with us, he would highly recommend “Still Standing: The Story of SSG John Kriesel.”