No Surrender: Faith, Family and Finding Your Way by Patrick Bisher with Jon Land


Reviewed by Russell Ilg

No SurrenderAfter 40+ books, writing about heroes is nothing new for Jon Land. What is new for him is writing about an actual warrior, instead of a fictional one, which is exactly the point of No Surrender and then some. This wondrously written tale, chronicling the improbable route Navy SEAL Patrick Bisher followed in becoming a true American hero, rings true as an inspirational catharsis of rare depth and pathos.

No Surrender is subtitled Faith, Family and Finding Your Way for a reason: Because that’s exactly what Patrick discovered were the true keys to surmounting obstacles life kept throwing in his way. He was only nine when doctors told him he’d likely never walk again due to a congenital hip condition, but you wouldn’t know that from his performance through Navy SEAL BUD/S training. Nor would you know that his decorated service in Iraq was performed with an artificial hip made necessary when a parachuting accident threatened to waylay Patrick’s dream yet again.

Those BUD/S chapters are among the finest I’ve ever encountered as a backdrop to military training, but this is no standard military tome, despite a sequence set amid Patrick’s deployment to Iraq. It’s a memoir rooted in Patrick finding his faith when he’d lost everything else and how that faith, along with God, carried him from the darkness of despair to the light of hope.

“I had tried everything to heal, to make my body right and whole,” he writes. “Having failed physically, I had to look elsewhere; inward, toward my soul. If I couldn’t heal myself from the outside in, maybe I could heal myself from the inside out.”

No Surrender is one of those rare true-life tales that wraps all three acts into a tight, taut package. The beginning, middle, and end are as heart wrenching as they are heartfelt for different reasons entirely, but no less mesmerizing and magical in tracing Patrick’s circuitous climb to joining the ranks of the elitist of America’s warriors. A testament to perseverance and the triumph of the human soul, making No Surrender a masterpiece of introspection and a memoirist classic that is not to be missed.