Mark’s book has received very positive reviews on Amazon with an average rating of 4.8/5.0. I haven’t read all of them and don’t plan to, but I have read many of the reviews. So, if you’ve read the book, please leave a review on Amazon. You can also leave them at Goodreads, Barnes and Noble, or a variety of places.
I’m going to respond to one particular comment because even though few have said it, others may have thought it. Here is one reader’s review:
First of all, everyone can have their opinion and I probably can’t change your mind. But, if you’re thinking about reading the book and are making your decision solely on comments/reviews, then let me shed some thoughts. I hate to spend time based on one person’s comment, but it’s a subject that’s been on my mind since Mark’s funeral—long before the book was written and long before I started speaking to groups about him.
How many people read the introduction or “pre-chapters” to any book? I admit I used to never read them, instead I’d go straight to chapter one. In the case of My Brother in Arms, please read my Preface. I try to make my purpose clear and get across my thorough research to only publish accurate, or at least unembellished, stories. I wanted to be fair in describing Mark and his life.
I have to admit that even with this focus from the very beginning, it was still hard to do because so many people were praising him, and I was mourning. Friends and teammates wanted to make us feel better so they only told us the good stuff. However, they came to us (and still do) on their own, unsolicited, to tell us of their respect for Mark and his behavior.
I say ‘behavior’ because Mark didn’t talk a big game. Although he was very opinionated, he wasn’t viewed by others as “holier than thou”. There are several examples of this in the book.
As Mark’s brother, I’m fully aware he had pitfalls. I’m also aware that he stuck to the principles he was taught as a child and tried his best to never disappoint his mom. I’m convinced that this person who left the review I pictured above didn’t really read the book. If so, he’d realize that most of the praising of Mark came from others, not me.
It’s probably common nature to over-praise our family members when they die. Is that such a bad thing? In Mark’s case, I was careful what I printed because I didn’t want to sound too biased. I like to think I’m a realist when it comes to this topic with Mark.
So, the reader’s comment about there never being a better kid, never a better son. That’s pretty accurate. And I’m sure there are other parents and brothers who can say the same thing about their family member. I was fortunate enough to grow up in a happy home where we spent a lot of time together as youngsters. Then, I was able to have Mark as a roommate while he was in college. Those were great days. Shoot, he drove me crazy sometimes too. I had to ask him to cut the grass and do some cleaning. He wasn’t messy at all, but occasionally he had to be reminded that he needed to do something around the house. That’s nothing unusual.
My little brother is an example to me of selflessness. He voluntarily joined the special operations community in an obscure field. Once he decided what he wanted (and felt God wanted him to do) his actions were based on how he could get there—working out, eye and shoulder surgery, graduating college, and busting his rear in the CCT pipeline so he could fight the enemy as soon as possible. Mark became combat-mission-ready faster than a vast majority of others in that field.
So, I will praise my brother all the days of my life, but it will always be warranted. Read the book and make your own opinion.