Tough Subjects, Terrific Books

Some terrific books, even redemptive ones, deal with tough subjects. Here are five you might consider: 

Bridges & Angels: The Story of Ruth by David LaBelle

Haunting and even tormenting at times, this story, which has at it core a real nightmare from the author’s past, also carries with it a redemptive beauty. The author’s gift of photography shows up in compelling similes, giving the reader the experiences right along with the characters.

Unforgettable images and drama. The nursing home scenes are so tastefully wrought.

Dave’s 16-minute interview on Our American Stories.


Cameron Lost by Craig Matthews

Compelling characters wrestle with their beasts, their demons, even while attempting to forgive and encourage others. Cameron does something unspeakable to his family, knowing it can never be forgiven–by God, by anyone. His journey through his misery takes him on a real one, hiking and hiding in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Known by his trail name as Caveman, this miserable misfit meets Butter, also a trail name, who runs a place called the Oasis. Theirs is such a compelling friendship, deeper than that.

Cameron Lost takes the reader on a journey through rich UP vistas while sharing in Cameron’s losses and terrible choices and misery to eventual redemption.

Craig’s 24-minute interview on


Brothers Born of Adversity by Larry Dean Reese

Subtitle: How the Bonds of Friendship Helped Two Men Survive the Horrors of Japanese Prison Camps and the Infamous Hell Ships During WWII. This is a gruesome episode from World War II that must not be forgotten. The author has masterfully woven the ordeal of the POWs of the Japanese with stories two men told their families about those terrible years.

Since both men had already died, Larry Reese relied on several other sources to corroborate the memories told by their children. George Crowell and Frank “Max” Maxwell were Navy Corpsmen before the war, caught in the Philippines early in the war. They met as POWs at Bilibid prison, where they were held for more than two years.


Courtesies of the Heart by Kenneth Breaux

A P-51 pilot is lost in Germany but not located by the Americans for decades. He left a widow and a baby daughter, who feels his absence her whole life. The area where he fell became part of East Germany, so was inaccessible for decades. But one local man buried his remains and cared for the grave for years. This is the amazing story of how several people, speaking three different languages, eventually became a “society of the heart” through the internet and in person.

The P-51 pilot’s remains are brought home for a military burial. Just incredible.


The Rescuer by Jason Sautel

Subtitle: One Firefighter’s Story of Courage, Darkness, and the Relentless Love That Saved Him. This is such compelling book. The author explains so well the emptiness, the darkness, the haunting of a broken past while serving in the physically, mentally, and emotionally challenge as a firefighter. He contrasts it so well with the light and peace that love and salvation bring.

This book is being made into a film.


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