Left for Dead: A Second Life after Vietnam
Author: Jon Hovde, Maureen Anderson
Publisher: Univ Of Minnesota Press (2005)
Binding: Hardcover, 208 pages
Jon Hovde's journey begins with despair and the struggle to stay alive and ends with hope and the inspiration to live. As a twenty-year-old soldier in Vietnam, Hovde lost an arm and a leg when the armored personnel carrier he was driving hit an antitank mine. He was nearly left for dead when the medic at the scene accidentally took his pulse in the arm that had been severed. For weeks, doctors gave Hovde very little chance of survival. When Hovde finally returned home, the transition was not easy. He used alcohol and fast cars to cope with both the physical pain of his injuries and the emotional pain caused by uneasy stares from his friends and neighbors. The straightforward words of a highway patrolman finally opened his eyes to his reckless behavior: "Why would a guy like you, who's survived all you survived, want to come back and kill yourself on our highway?" Hovde went on to marry his high school sweetheart, realize a successful business career, and become a leader of city and state school boards. In 1998, Hovde's war story found some closure when he successfully tracked down and was reunited with the nurse who had helped save his life. He was finally able to thank her. Left for Dead is a gripping memoir that not only recounts Hovde's remarkable recovery from his injuries, but recognizes the efforts of the people who aided him - including the courageous medic who rescued him, a caring army nurse, and army chaplains. Far more than just another tale of combat, Left for Dead will stir emotions in veterans, the families of veterans, and civilians alike. Hovde's lack of bitterness and abundance of hope is a source of inspiration to anyone overcoming obstacles.
2005 Silver Medal Award for Military Non-Fiction!
“Left for Dead” will inspire you! Vietnam veteran Jon Hovde teams up with Maureen Anderson to bring us a real life tale of heroes, redemption, sadness, suffering and joy! Jon’s life story “Left for Dead – A Second Life After Vietnam” will inspire you and it will also make you very aware of the sacrifices that many veterans have made on the personal level. This book tells it like it was and allows you to view a part of the veteran experience that mostly remains hidden from the public view.
We find that Jon is very much a human being with all that baggage that comes from being a baby boomer growing up in the 1950’s and 1960’s. That includes his days spent driving fast cars and getting drunk. But his story takes us to new places of the heart and the spirit as we follow along on his personal journey through his life. We are there with him when his body is ravaged by war and his life is almost taken from him. Then we get an insider view of what it was like to recover and try to move on with his life. As a reader you will find yourself rooting for him as he begins his new life with a wife and family.
The thing that will impress you most when reading this story is the author’s lack out anger or outrage at what the war did to him. He accepts life as it is and moves onward as best he can. Of course, with all that happened to him it is matter of time when he discovers that his workaholic attitude is killing him and that he needs to focus on his family and personal needs. He deals with many issues from PTSD to excessive drinking to depression but it is all just a part of the healing process for Jon as he continues to move spiritual and emotionally forward with his life.
This book is riveting—once you read the first few pages you will not put it down until you have savored the final words on the last page. I know that is what happened to me. The book will inspire you as does his life to many people. Jon is a special person and is now doing much through his public speaking and now his book, to inspire and to help others.
Reviewed by: Bill McDonald (2005)