Jun 10

Depression, War, Disability Be Damned: Praise God

Posted by Soliloquy in Kindle

Too often the tales of war focus on mere survival, While it is an enormous accomplishment in such violent times, readers of war memoirs are often left wondering about the details after the battle, after the physical wounds are healed. How often did the men and women who endured such trauma move forward to lead fulfilling lives? Thomas Jay Lee’s memoir, “Depression, War, Disability Be Damned: Praise God,” leaves no such questions unanswered.

Lee tells of the r… More >>

Depression, War, Disability Be Damned: Praise God

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5 Responses

  • Thomas Jay Lee’s book is the story of a man who faced adversity and did whatever it took to overcome it.

    This book initially takes the reader back to an altogether simpler place and time, causing one to reflect on the “busyness” of today’s youth’s lifestyle.

    Certainly the most gripping part of Mr. Lee’s life begins as he graduates from high school. The U.S. soon enters WW II and he becomes a citizen soldier. Training, testing and the thrust of the war ultimately determine his place in the war as a medic, whose brief time on the front line leads to him being wounded. What he experiences for the next few years should be required reading for anyone who doesn’t know what true courage and bravery are. Photographs of some of the seemingly grotesque medical procedures endured by Mr. Lee and olther vets add to the power of his story.

    Adversity occurs in years that follow in the form of adjusting to life as a young disabled vet, finding his professioanl niche, and questionaing life’s dilemmas, always being encouraged by significant people in his life, his early upbringing, and trust in his God whose grace he credits for saving him from being killed in a foxhole in 1944. His success an an educator in various settings from exclusive private schools to prison speak to the capacity of Mr. Lee’s abilities.

    Mr. Lee’s story tells us why he is a humble man, but proud of who he is. We as a nation are proud to see him and others as the greatest generation. I am proud to call him my uncle. You see, I am the niece whose birth is mentioned on page 88. Biased as that makes me, I think most people will find this book interesting in many ways.

    Julia Hale

  • Full disclosure: I am Tom Lee’s grandson and I was very involved in this book from inception to completion.

    That does not mean I am giving the book a free pass, five-star review out of a sense of obligation. This is an affecting and skillfully constructed story, and I can recommend it to anyone without hesitation.

    The book begins with Tom’s thoughtful study of rural Indiana life in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s, a time when the Depression descended on America and forever changed its national character. He relates the trials of poor country living (infrequent bathing comes to mind) but also the comforts of being supported by family members whose love was a necessary balm during difficult times. We also feel Tom’s deep sense of community and civic responsibility these early chapters, which makes it all the more wrenching when war comes and he is shipped overseas.

    The war chapters are frank and frightening. I dare you not to shiver when Tom describes walking past a bombed-out building, artillery shells strewn about, knowing within days that similar shells will be falling around him. This very thing happens, and the book switches gears from battlefields to hospitals, where we follow Tom’s long and often frustrating recovery. Here we share in the trials that helped shape the man he became later in life – a man of patience, temperance, and humble devotion.

    It is this man who leads us through the third act of the story. We watch as Tom leaves the hospitals behind, graduates from college, marries, and begins a productive career as an educator. Here we see the application of the lessons he has lifted from the crucible of Depression, war, and disability. But it is not all seriousness and sermonizing! Entertaining stories abound: flatulent cows at a student pageant, surviving a full-scale prison riot, and tense times with Marlon Brando and his son Christian (you might remember the highly publicized custody battle; Tom was in the middle of it).

    “Depression, War, Disability Be Damned: Praise God” is an honest examination of a man who has lived a good life. It is by turns incisive, exciting, vulnerable, and humorous. I hope you will read it and share it with others.

  • Tom Lee writes the story of his life experiences beginning with his early days as a boy growing up in rural Indiana. In a well-written book that I found difficult to put down, he takes us on a fascinating journey from country life in the small town in which he grew up during the 1920’s and 30’s Depression era to the present day.

    As a young enlisted soldier in 1944, he suffered a grievous war injury which, despite years of horrific treatments, ended with the partial amputation of his leg. Although sometimes discouraged, Tom eventually found his calling thanks to his faith, and the support of comrades, family, friends and an abiding love of music. His adjustment to civilian life albeit sometimes rocky finally led him to his vocation in teaching and administration. He takes us through Colorado, California and Idaho on this odyssey as he deals with students, staff, administrators, children of movie stars and the hardened inmates in the Idaho State Correctional Institution. His book reads like a well paced novel.

    This autobiography of faith and courage is compelling. I have had the privilege of meeting Tom and can personally attest to the fact that his strength, humor, and love of God and country is still brightly burning. It is a lesson in courage and determination written with grace in a very readable style that I would recommend to all generations.

  • Tom Lee has captured a side of American life you won’t find anywhere else. His few days in battle were rewarded with five years in recovering from combat wounds. And his skill with words brings the reader right into the hospital wards and furloughs that so many soldiers experienced. Tom Lee’s depression-era childhood, war-time experiences, and struggles to succeed gave him the tools to help so many others during his subsequent academic careers. You won’t be able to keep this story to yourself. You’ll want to grab a second copy of Tom’s book for a friend.

  • As a member of America’s “greatest generation,” Thomas J. Lee offers inspiration, insight and wisdom in his latest book, Depression, War, Disability Be Damned: Praise God. The reader watches the author grow from a young boy in the heartland of rural America through his teenage years during the Depression. He sees Mr. Lee mature from a young man injured in World War II to a highly successful and accomplished educator, schooling children of movie stars and later, inmates in a state prison. For parents, grandparents and great-grandparents, his book provides lessons in determination, perseverance and courage that can be shared with children and their children. In today’s unsettled economic times, they are valuable lessons indeed. For teachers and students, his book offers lessons in twentieth-century history from personal experience rather than from a history book. Did you know, for example, that over half of all new American combat soldiers died or were wounded within their first three days in combat? Our current military men and women may be interested in exploring the differences between today’s Army and the Army of World War II. Depression, War, Disability Be Damned: Praise God is about a life well-lived and sets a standard for us all. Written with directness and humor, this book is a gift from the “greatest generation” to the current generation.



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