Guaranteed to galvanize more than a few couch potatoes into action.



A former Navy SEAL explains his take-no-prisoners approach to life in this candid memoir/self-help book. 

“I should have been a statistic,” admits debut author Goggins. A childhood marked by abuse and racial prejudice seemed to leave him destined for a life of struggle and failure. But after nearly flunking out of high school, Goggins got tough on himself, realizing that he’d never fulfill his dream of joining the military if he didn’t shape up fast. And shape up he did, eventually becoming a Navy SEAL, celebrated endurance athlete, and one-time Guinness World Record holder for the most pull-ups performed in a 24-hour period. Yet as a teen, Goggins barely made it into the Air Force after failing the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test twice. Later, he had to drop 100 pounds in three months in order to join the SEALs. His laundry list of accomplishments is impressive, and he tells his remarkable story in a direct, conversational way, though his language is often raw. Much of the book recounts the author’s experiences in military training and competing in ultramarathons and endurance sports, offering a fascinating peek into those subcultures (expect a few graphic photos of what toes look like after running a 100-plus-mile race). He also speaks frankly about his moments of doubt and failure. Each chapter ends with challenges to complete. The goal is to bring readers “nose-to-concrete with your own bullshit limits you didn’t even know were there.” According to Goggins, most people are operating at about 40 percent of their true capability, and he makes a convincing case that tapping into that unused 60 percent is largely a matter of mental discipline. Doing so requires fortitude and sacrifice—Goggins admits he “lived like a monk” to achieve his level of success—but will eventually lead to “self-mastery.” And through all the tough talk, he also offers words of encouragement: “Your small victories are your cookies to savor.” Some might find Goggins’ intensity a bit intimidating, but there’s no doubt his story is inspiring.

Guaranteed to galvanize more than a few couch potatoes into action. 

Pub Date: Dec. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5445-1228-0

Page Count: 364

Publisher: Lioncrest Publishing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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