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Review – Heart of a Soldier

I first heard about Rick Rescorla as a young private in 1989.  My First Sergeant was a Vietnam vet with a 1st Cavalry Division combat patch, and among his war stories was talk of a fearless lieutenant he had met there.  I learned more about him when I read and reread We Were Soldiers Once, And Young a few years later.

Imagine my shock at finding out that Mr. Rescorla was not only among the dead of 9/11, but was also a hero of that infamous day.  Heart of a Soldier tells his story in a very human manner.

From Pulitzer Prize winner James B. Stewart comes the extraordinary story of American hero Rick Rescorla, Morgan Stanley security director and a veteran of Vietnam and the British colonial wars in Rhodesia, who lost his life on September 11.

Heart of a Soldier is the extraordinary story of war, love and comradeship, danger and heroism, told by a Pulitzer Prize winner who is one of our finest writers.

When Rick Rescorla got home from Vietnam, he tried to put combat and death behind him, but he never could entirely. From the day he joined the British Army to fight a colonial war in Rhodesia, where he met American Special Forces’ officer Dan Hill who would become his best friend, to the day he fell in love with Susan, everything in his remarkable life was preparing him for an act of generosity that would transcend all that went before.

Heart of a Soldier is a story of bravery under fire, of loyalty to one’s comrades, of the miracle of finding happiness late in life. Everything about Rick’s life came together on September 11. In charge of security for Morgan Stanley, he successfully got all its 2,700 men and women out of the south tower of the World Trade Center. Then, thinking perhaps of soldiers he’d held as they died, as well as the woman he loved, he went back one last time to search for stragglers.

Heart of a Soldier is a biography of Rick Rescorla and his life-long friend, Dan Hill.  The story starts as they meet in post-colonial Africa, and progresses through a lifetime of combat, family, and friendship.

While both men’s leadership and heroism in Vietnam is discussed in detail, this is more than a gathering of war stories.  We learn about how they were brought up, their plans for life, how they diverged from those plans, and the ending one of them chose.  We get to know their families, their life after the military, and how they lived as men.

Heart of a Soldier isn’t an action story, although there is action throughout the first half of the book.  It’s not a romance, although romance plays a large part in Rescorla’s later life.  Heart of a Soldier is the story of two men from very different backgrounds who never forgot the meaning of honor and duty, even until the very end.

If you believe that such men deserve to be learned about and remembered, I think you’ll enjoy Heart of a Soldier.

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  1. mrgarabaldi

     /  September 24, 2019

    Hey DB;

    In my mind to use an old term”He died well and went to Valhalla on the wings of Valkyries” I will go check out the book


  2. OldNFO

     /  September 24, 2019

    Excellent book, and highly recommended!


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