W. Lee Warren. No Place to Hide: A Brain Surgeon’s Long Journey Home from the Iraq War. Zondervan, 2014.
W. Lee Warren was an American medic in Iraq during the Iraq War. He treated Americans and Iraqis, including Iraqi insurgents. He even met Saddam Hussein after Saddam’s overthrow. This book is largely about the operations that he performed on Americans and Iraqis, and the carnage with which he came into contact. Writing his story was a way for him to address his post-traumatic stress.
The most insightful parts of the book, in my opinion, were Warren’s spiritual and political reflections. I could identify with his spiritual reflections. He was once a person who believed that he had to look all-right to the outside world, especially Christians, even when things were not all right. He learned, however, that there were things in life that he could not control, and that worship was coming to God in a state of honest vulnerability.
While Christian author Philip Yancey states in the book’s afterword that Warren leaves to others the debates about whether the Iraq War was right or wrong, Warren did offer political opinions about the war. Overall, Warren struck me as rather ambivalent. Warren believed that the Americans were the good guys, noting that Americans treated the enemy combatants who were wounded or dying, whereas the enemy did not do the same for the Americans. Warren also indicates that he believes that the Iraq War was, at least in part, about bringing democracy to Iraq. At the same time, Warren laments the torture that certain American soldiers performed at Abu Ghraib, asking what would have happened if they chose instead to love their enemies and end the cycle of sorrow and hate. On page 275, Warren wishes that he could have asked both George W. Bush and Saddam Hussein if the war was truly worth it: “In the grand scheme of things, what have you gained from all the palaces and parades, from the bombs and the bullets and the dollars spent and the lives lost?” Warren also reflects about how a number of Iraqis were becoming insurgents in order to feed their families.
This was a thoughtful book—-often technical, but thoughtful.
Note: I received a complimentary review copy of this book through the BookLook Bloggers (http://booklookbloggers.com/) book review bloggers program. The program does not require for my review to be positive, and my review reflects my honest reaction to the book.