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Book review: 'Compassionate Soldier' shares great stories of mercy, caring during war

"COMPASSIONATE SOLDIER: Remarkable True Stories of Mercy, Heroism and Honor from the Battlefield," by Jerry Borrowman, Shadow Mountain, $19.99, 199 pages (nf)

In the early days of the Revolutionary War, a British soldier named Patrick Ferguson found himself in a position to take the life of a senior officer in the American Army. As a master marksman with the military, Ferguson was very confident that he could hit his target from a long distance. But because it would have required him to shoot the officer in the back, he adamantly refused to take the shot. As it turned out, the officer was Gen. George Washington, who eventually led the fledgling American forces to freedom from Great Britain.

Ferguson's example of courage and honor is only one of the 15 stories highlighted in a new book, "Compassionate Soldier: Remarkable True Stories of Mercy, Heroism and Honor from the Battlefield."

Compiled by Jerry Borrowman, a well-known historical author, this very interesting and enlightening book follows the story of war experiences across the ages, highlighting great courage in times of stress. In many of the stories, individuals choose to act honorably and with mercy despite the resulting consequences to their lives or careers. The author's meticulous research ensures that readers are experiencing powerful examples of individuals who did not let the atrocities of war take away the empathy that should reside in every human heart.

Starting with the Revolutionary War and citing examples up to the war in Iraq, each story recounts acts of bravery, fortitude and courage shown by individuals who had been called upon to choose honor and civility over the hatred of war. In every circumstance, the individual was presented with a choice to take action that might result in harm coming to another — whether friend or foe. But in each instance, the soldier was able to resist the instinct of self-preservation where fear and death were the expected result.

Borrowman lives in Utah and is the author of many books relating to history. While the stories in this book are war-related, there are no graphic descriptions.

Mike Whitmer lives in West Valley City and can be reached at