Reviews

Advance copies of ‘Through My Eyes: a story of Hope’ have been praised by many…

“I truly enjoyed reading Bob’s book. Over the years, as a combat vet of Vietnam, I have read many of the first hand accounts written by individual Soldiers. This is a very good book, well developed and thought out. Job well done!”

Bart Gilbert, BG,
Retired, USA

“For anyone looking for a book that doesn’t glamorize war but tells the honest story of a young soldier caught in the vortex of duty, friendship, trust in God, and survival, this is it! Bob Whitworth tells first-hand account of confronting the unseen enemy in the bush as well as the fears and questions in his own heart in a way that is compelling, humorous, insightful, and meaningful. Husbands, fathers, sons, brothers, and comrades-in-arms will experience everything from the mundane nature of military life in a war-zone to the riveting accounts of explosive battles and combat. But Moms, wives, sisters, and daughters will also gain insight into the mind of the soldier in their life as they encounter the fears, questions, values, and insights of a young man who willingly fought in a war that became very unpopular and forgotten. Read it and remember the men who fought and died with Bob. This story of courage, commitment, friendship, and faith will inspire you.”

Dr. Jon McNeff
Pastor, NorthCreek Church
Walnut Creek, CA

“Vivid pictures of daily life as a grunt. The stories of leeches, snakes, parties, etc.  show a rounded view of being in-country. I love the memoirs and how those life-lessons came into play in Vietnam.”

Sarah

“It is a memoir told by someone who had been there. It isn’t just a re-telling of dry facts and the politics behind the war. There are many parts I could relate to and the Vietnam war came to life for me in a way it never did in history class. I like that [Bob] told it how it was – rain, mud, skin-rot, leeches, and all. That’s what helped bring [it] to life for me. I liked reading about how [his] faith was developed and strengthened during [his] time in Vietnam and [the] inclusion of so much Scripture. [Bob’s] writing style is engaging. My favorite line in the whole book: “When Boredom shows up, he always brings his friends, Ignorance, Stupidity and Overconfidence.”

Juli

“I like everything about the book. I think it is really well written. It’s genuineness leaps off the page. It’s obvious that it’s from the heart. There is nothing contrived about it.”

Mark

 “Real stuff about war. [I appreciate] Bob’s avoidance of the gutter talk.”
Herb

“I like the short chapters; the honesty, the reality, yet without just shoving it into my face.”

Charlie

“The creative imagery of war in Vietnam from an infantryman’s experience is so well done I felt I was there with him every step of the way. It is historically informative and satisfying as an entertaining story both emotionally and spiritually.”

Marian

“The book gave me a ‘window’ into the experiences of a soldier in the midst of the Vietnam war.”

Vonda

“I most like that the story is the truth in Bob’s eyes, and as you read the book, if you know Bob, you truly feel him and his personality throughout the complete story. I like the way Bob tied his life history prior to VN into how it affected and influenced his ability to cope and survive the tragedy of war.”

Michel

“One man’s courage and ability to do the right thing in many situations regardless of consequences or the easy way. It stirs my imagination and I understand much better.”

Gil

“Love the sense of humor. Flash-backs and references to [Bob’s] hope and faith in such an awful backdrop. It is so well done and not too graphic. Very informative.”

Virginia

“Towards the end of the book, I enjoyed [the] Tam Ky stories. Got to know more about the man!”

Dan

“This is Bob’s story and it has merit. It allowed me to get a good picture of a soldier’s life in a war where the odds were not always fair and survival never away from their minds.”

Christine

“I enjoyed reading the personal thoughts, feelings and impressions of a soldier in Vietnam. I was a little confused about the ‘story of Hope’ [in the title] due to the contrast of ‘hope’ and the gritty photo, but I understand the hope aspect a little better after reading the book. “

Linda

“[I like] the intensity and passion of the author. Feeling of pain and anxiety of experience flowed well.”

Ron

“A great story about real faith in a war that has such negative associations with it. The nitty-gritty of what it was like – smells, etc. Not a glorification of the author, but an honest journey of growth. Not a political treatise.”

Jeanene

“Bob was able to share and release a big part of his life.”

Jerry

“…I laughed where it was suppose to be funny and there were areas that I thought were just so harsh on the human that how in the world someone could go through such a thing was unthinkable. To think that God was at work [in] Bob’s life through all of this is so awesome.”

Darryll

Dad

Growing up I had very few restrictions set by my father, but it was well understood that there were five major rules, that if violated, would cost me plenty:

1) Don’t bring the cops home.
2) Don’t drink liquor.
3) Don’t act disrespectfully toward women.
4) Don’t swear.
5) Do what Dad tells you to do.

Those were the standards he set and lived.

Let there be no misunderstanding; I had violated most of these rules at one point or another, and it had always cost me something. Dad had done his part to keep me on track. Aside from those rules, I’d been given plenty of freedom. He expected me to know what was right by watching him and thinking for myself.

Dad’s gas station was in a small town in the Central Valley of California. The seasonal farm hands worked through the summer, and saved what little money they could to see them through the winter months.

When there hadn’t been enough work for them to make ends meet all the way to spring, they’d come to Dad’s station. Gas was about thirty cents a gallon then, and he would loan them money for groceries and gave them gas on credit.

Every family had a little credit book with their name on it. Each time Dad helped them, they signed for it with either their name, or an “X” if they couldn’t write. His desk was full of these little books and he didn’t charge any interest on the loans. When spring came and they found work, they’d start paying him back. This went on for years.

The railroad tracks were about a half-block from the gas station. In those days, most of the homeless had been hobos, winos, or bums. Dad got to know most of them by name. Very often, one of these guys would get off the train and come see Dad for a handout. Some of them he paid to do small jobs around the station. Some he took to the grocery store and bought staples such as bread, canned soup and lunchmeat before they went on their way. Others he took to the café next door and bought lunch..

The first thing Dad wanted when he got home from work was a hug and a kiss from Mom. It was easy to tell how much he loved her. He set a good example for me. He took our family to church regularly, where sometimes people stood up and talked about how God had helped them. Most of the time I found it pretty boring, but if Dad stood up to speak, I always sat up and listened. I knew that he would only talk in front of people if he had something of real value to say.

When I was leaving for Vietnam after a short leave at home, Dad and Mom stood on the front porch together, watching as Beth and I left for the airport. We had said our good-byes, and I looked back as we got in the car and saw my father’s head down, with tears on his face.

“I wonder why he’s crying,” I said to Beth as we drove away.

I guess he knew far more about war than I did.

My father taught me some valuable things. He showed me the way to be faithful in hardship, tender to the wounded, kind to the weak, generous to the poor, strong for the fearful, steadfast to the truth, and humble before a forgiving God.

Bob

Mother

The day before I was inducted into the U.S. Army I was given a small pocket Bible by the woman who would one day become my wife. It was small and easily accessible. I carried this little book with me during infantry training and then throughout the war. It fit easily in one of the many pockets on my jungle fatigues or stuffed in my rucksack.

That small well-worn book held within it the promises I so counted on during those troubling times.

I would write home to my folks often, but seldom gave them information about what was really happening in our daily trudges through enemy territory. We had no body armor like the soldiers have today–the only substance between our flesh and the enemy’s bullets were dirty jungle-fatigues. 

After a particularly vicious fight with the enemy, I wrote home to my younger brother and related some information about the battle details and casualties which had taken place. I clearly instructed him to destroy the letter when he had finished so my mother could not read it.

About a month later, I received a nice box of chocolate chip cookies and a new small zippered Bible from my mom. When I unzipped it, I found that this particular Bible had something inside it besides the Word of God. Tucked tightly next to the front cover was a piece of steel plate.

After my mother passed away, I found an envelope containing the tiny fragments of that torn-up letter to my brother which my mom had patiently pieced and taped together.

When you grow up in a home where there is love, discipline, and compassion–along with a huge dose of fun–all while feeling safe, you have something precious.

Growing up in my home where mom provided these attributes gave me a foundation to move forward on. When I left home and went to war I gained an appreciation and understanding of the value of a wonderful mom and her caring ways.

Thank you Mom, you made me a rich man. 

Friends

Sometimes I look at life wrong. Then I have to step back and take another look, to see if there is another perspective. Most of the time there is a better way of seeing things. That’s where good friends come in.

A good friend who cares. One who will sit and listen to me while I lay out how I see what appears to be to be happening from my point of view. Sometimes they make a small helpful comment, but mostly just hear me out.

It’s amazing how often I find insight when I get to talk it out.

I have some wonderful friends. Some of them served in the Army with me where we faced life and death beside each other. Some grew up with me, and we played kick the can until after dark or built tree houses together. Some worked with me on heavy construction jobs. Some went to church with me. Some I’ve met at the coffee shop.

I want to say thank you. Thank You to all my friends for being there—kind, listening, and giving me input and encouragement.

You have made my life richer…Bob

Hope’s Strength

As I watched TV and the sad news from Boston played over and over, the old ache in my stomach that I felt during the war returned. The illusion of safety was once again shattered for many Americans . They trusted in the apparent until safety was removed. For many, the ability to feel safe has now dissolved.

What do you do when you are not able to have confidence in the safety of your surroundings? How does hope come into play?

There have been times when I had to step over my doubts and push into my hope to overcome my fears.  In “Hope’s Strength” beginning on page 263* see through my eyes what strengthened my hope during tough times.

 

*View Inside (Book page 229)

Fred Miller 1942 – 2013

Fred Leo Miller, born May 2, 1942, a lifetime resident of ParadiseValley passed away January 2, 2013 at NorthernNevadaMedicalCenter after complications of a heart attack.  With the exception of his military service in the Army in Viet Nam from June 14, 1967 to March 13, 1969, he lived his entire life on the family ranch, which was established by his grandfather Gehardt Miller in 1898.  He was an accomplished  spur maker,  and made a lot of the branding irons for the ranchers around the valley.  He was always there to help his friends and neighbors.

Fred was educated at the ParadiseValleyGrammar School, often times riding his horse to school, and finished his education at HumboldtCountyHigh   School in Winnemucca.

Fred loved to tease people, sometimes not quite appreciated and he always had a joke to tell.

Fred was preceded in death by his father George, mother Elizabeth, sister Hermine.  He is survived by his wife Gay Lynn, 3 step children, Jason (Tammy) Anderson, Andrew (Jaclyn) Anderson and Janis (Dave) Baldwin and 4 grandchildren.  He is also survived by his brother Paul (JoAnn) and numerous nephews and nieces.

Services will be conducted at the Paradise Valley Catholic Church on Saturday, January 12, 2013, at 1:00 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Paradise Valley Catholic Church, ParadiseValleySchool or the Paradise Valley Fireman’s Department, all at PO Box 7, Paradise Valley, NV89426.

A Real Cowboy

cowboyfredresizedMy dad would give me a quarter each week for spending money when I was about five years old. If I asked for more, he always answered, “get a job and earn it!”

It was mega-hot in the summertime down in the San Joaquin Valley , but one of the coolest places in town was the movie show. Fifteen cents for a ticket at the door and a dime for popcorn. That’s where I saw Hop-a-long Cassidy, Roy Rogers and others as they roped and rode horses across the west shooting at bad guys. But the first real cowboy I met was at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii, while in the army training with an infantry platoon for the Vietnam war.

Fred Miller was in the machine gun squad with me and five other guys. He had a way about him that was a little different than the rest of us. He always spoke just what was on his mind in that “get to the point” cowboy way.

He was about four years older than most of us and earned the nickname “Gramps.” The story he told was that he’d had a run-in with the local banker in his home town who was on the draft board. Seemed like the next thing he knew he was headed for boot camp, even though he ran the family ranch with his widowed mom and shouldn’t have been drafted.

We ended up in the rice paddies and the jungle mountains of Vietnam together, hunting for the enemy. Fred had eyes like a hawk and could spot “Charlie” a thousand yards away on a jungle-covered hill. He started carrying a little rope and was constantly lassoing people and other things. You could always count on Fred to stay awake on the long, wet, all-night ambushes we had to pull after hunting Charlie all day. He did get antsy though, when we were penned down by snipers in the shallow rice paddy water and the leeches were sizing us up.

“Gall-dern it,” he would mutter, “I’m gittin’ up to see if I can spot that sucker!”

Fred considered it his duty to always “pick up after me” when we were on patrol and it seemed like he was always whittling on something with the super-sharp Buck knife I’d had sent to me from home.

Somehow Fred finagled about three leaves to go home and check on his elderly mother who was trying to keep the cattle ranch going while he was off hunting Charlie with us. I didn’t know until years after I got home from the war, but Fred had made it a point to take some of his leave time and stop off in Northern California to see my folks and ensure my mother that I was alright. He really was looking after me.

After the war was over, every now and then I’d go see Fred at his ranch just outside Paradise Valley, Nevada. One time his alfalfa fields were being overrun by hordes of jackrabbits and he and I spent hours together in the middle of the night trying to save his crop with .22 rifles.

Fred married Gay Lynn when he was in his mid-forties and they’ve had some great times together. She added something really special to Fred’s life, and always made our family feel welcome.

In 2002 I took my whole family to Fred and Gay Lynn’s and he took my granddaughter for her first horseback ride. She was just a few months old. My son and son-in-law got to share in the work during calf-branding that spring, which was a pretty big deal for those guys. It was just like being in the movie “City-slickers.”

One winter a few years ago, Fred called and asked if I’d come help him feed the cows. When I got to the ranch he told me he had fallen off the hay wagon and it ran over him while the unmanned tractor was pulling the wagon across the cattle yard. He said the tractor had made a full circle and was about to run over him again when he came-to and just made it out of the way.

I loved going to see Fred. He called me to come see him a while back and it turned out he just needed someone he could talk heart-to-heart with about the war after all these years.

Fred had a stroke a while back and never quite got over it. Then here last night I got the word that Fred had just passed away after heart failure.

Well, Cowboy Fred, you made my life richer and I’m going to miss you!

Bob – January 3, 2013

 

Attention Book Clubs!

We have a “Book Club Lending Library” with 20 copies of Through My Eyes: a story of Hope available for book clubs in Contra Costa and Solano Counties.

Please contact us at bobgwhit@throughmyeyesthebook.com for details about how to have the books made available to your club members.

We look forward to future posts here from your club discussions!

Locations Selling Through My Eyes: a Story of Hope

We are reaching out to book stores to carry copies of the book. Currently it is available at:

Bibles, Books, and More:

2025 Hilltop Drive, Redding, CA

530-222-2944           Bibles, Books, and More

 

Read Booksellers

3630 Blackhawk Plaza Cir., Danville, CA

925-736-9090           Read Booksellers

 

Rakestraw Books

522 Hartz Avenue, Danville, CA

925-837-7337           Rakestraw Books

 

Northcreek Cafe and Bookstore

2303 Ygnacio Valley Road, Walnut Creek, CA

925-627-4414           Northcreek Cafe & Bookstore

 

Mount Hermon Bookstore

36 Conference Drive, Mount Hermon, CA

831-430-1270           Mt. Hermon Bookstore

 

Orinda Books

276 Village Square, Orinda, CA

925-254-7606           Orinda Books

 

Graceland Christian Books

4261 Century Blvd., Pittsburg, CA

925-706-8790

 

Word of Life Bookstore and Library

1477 Willow Avenue, Hercules, CA

510-799-3171

 

Canyon Sports

887 Howe Road, Martinez, CA

925-229-4867           Canyon Sports

 

Quail Point Hunt Club

29625 County Road 14, Zamora, CA

530-735-6217           Quail Point Hunt Club

 

Appreciation

There are numerous times I am thankful because of the war:

When I step into Costco and see the abundance of everything—stuff and more stuff—fresh food instead of canned C rations, wine and cool drinks instead of dirty lukewarm water from a rice paddy.

When I hear the rain falling on the roof on a dark night and I’m lying in a dry bed with a light switch close at hand to banish the darkness.

When I reach into the drawer and get a clean dry pair of socks to put on instead of digging through my rucksack to find a dirty pair that hasn’t dried out yet.

When I’m hiking back in the mountains or crossing a shallow stream and feel peaceful instead of alert and tense.

When I feel freedom and liberty instead of deadly duty, pushing me on. (I’ve almost stopped jumping when there’s an unexpected loud noise.)

It’s easy to get busy and take these things for granted, but when the day slows down or I’m about to doze off for the night, my heart snuggles up to these blessings as my mind slips back to when I didn’t have them.

The ability to appreciate often comes from tough times but those tough times can pay high dividends when we dig the good stuff from them.

Bob 3/1/2012

Pre-order the Book

Beth and I are very happy to let you know that a hardcover edition of the book can now be pre-ordered during the month of February. The book is due to be released on March 1, 2012, which is when the orders will be shipped. Beginning March 1, the price will go back to the retail price of $24.99. We hope to have an e-book edition available on or before Memorial Day (May 28, 2012) At this time, the only way to order is from this website. Shipping is set up for the U.S., Canada, and United Kingdom. If you live in a different country and want to purchase a book, please leave us your information (name, address, and email) in the feedback section of the website and we will make arrangements to ship to your country. Thanks to all our patient facebook supporters who watched and waited while we moved through this process.

We want to thank our son Bobby for making the book trailer for Aperio Press to publish on YouTube. Well done!

Bob 2/3/2012

Book Release

We are happy to announce that Through My Eyes: a story of Hope will be available beginning March 1, 2012.

Through My Eyes: a story of hope

Well, this has been a long time coming.It is an exciting thing to launch a book. It will be real for me when I’m holding it in my hand. You, my friends, have been patient while we worked through the process of editing and publishing—during our time of silence on FaceBook because we didn’t know quite what to say. I’m not really a blogger, so Beth will help me with this. Continue reading

More videos coming…

When I was infantry training in Hawaii in 1967, I bought a slim movie camera and made a leather pouch for it that fastened to my pistol belt. During the first 6 months of my tour in Vietnam, I carried this camera and filmed sometimes. Now we’ve got that footage and are making it into small clips.