Tough As They Come (A Review)

Tough As They Come by Travis Mills and Marcus Brotherton is an incredible story about a US Army soldier who served in Afghanistan with the 82nd Airborne Division. While on patrol, he was seriously wounded by an IED; he became one of the few quadruple amputees who survived a war zone. This book is his account of his life, service, injury, and recovery.

I don’t want to give all the details away, but I will say it was a fascinating read. Since the cover is a spoiler, I knew what the book was generally about, but the details are truly incredible. If you’re interested in current military affairs and stories of bravery and strength, you’ll like this book.

It’s not without flaws, however. I realize Mills didn’t write this book all by himself, so I hope it’s not too rude to say that the writing makes him seem arrogant. I think this is the co-author’s writing since Mills’ whole story is about how he helped and serve others selflessly. So there was a disconnect of sorts. Also, this book is marketed as a Christian book, but it really isn’t. He mentions God a few times, and quotes one Bible verse a few times, but it isn’t a Christian book. It may be inspirational, but it isn’t at all devotional!

Still, despite these flaws, I was glad to read this book. It’s probably not for kids under 13 or 14 because there are a few swear words and a few adult discussions, but teens and adults interested in this topic should enjoy it.

NOTE: I received this book from the “Blogging for Books” company in exchange for an honest review.

Shane Lems


2 comments on “Tough As They Come (A Review)

  1. 861a says:

    Shane, I’m a combat Marine from Vietnam. I’m 100 % disabled from PTSD & I’m an old guy. I graduated from Cov. Theo. Seminary back in 1993 & am currently working on my PHD – PTSD & Reformed biblical theology. I don’t know this soldier but I suspect I know why you were disappointed in it not being a Christian devotional. It takes a combat veteran years to be able to stand back honestly & eval what he has been through. Non combat folks cannot understand this. Vietnam was the biggest, most overpowering event in my life & still is. But over the decades, Christ has slowly “shaved off” huge amounts of the top of that mountain, especially when God led me to move from dispensational theology to Reformed. Only the Reformed faith gives a person a place to stand, i.e., under the sovereignty of God. Dispensational sovereignty is half hearted sov. (see WSC Q. 11) This veteran is writing about toughness. He probably hasn’t made the connection w/ Jesus’s brand of toughness, setting his face like flint toward Jerusalem; coming into the world he created to his own who did not know him. It is very tough to flee that military system of toughness, that expects you to always be on top of things. Unfortunately, dispensational churches do not understand the chemical, anatomical, physiological, neurological changes that occur in the brain from constant stress & trauma of combat. Those churches don’t know how to help these veterans.

    Most of them do not immerse themselves in Bible memory/study & if they do, it’s usually dispensational theology. What these guys think people want to hear is about what it’s like being in combat. It certainly gets people’s attention, but doesn’t help anyone. That took me a while to learn. People want to know how to overcome their sins, etc. I’ve reached a place in my life where I realize Vietnam was crucial to my salvation. Thank God for it. I hope this helps.


    • Thanks for the comments and thanks for serving in the military! I guess a big part of my critique is that the book is advertised as a Christian book, but it really isn’t a Christian book. But your comments are helpful; perhaps a misunderstanding of Christianity is also a factor. I served in the Army, but didn’t see combat, so you’re right – I can’t understand a combat zone. Thankfully God used your time in the military to ultimately help you spiritually! He is sovereign!


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