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Chuck Holton’s first book, “A More Elite Soldier” is an amazing look at both the Military and our Faith. Interesting, yet full of valuable content for the Christian and his walk with the Lord, he tells an amazing story. A former US Army Ranger and Helicopter Pilot for the National Guard, Chuck Holton’s book tells of his early years with the Rangers. Every little thing that happened to him during these years showed him how his Christian faith needed to be more central in his life. For those of you who like reading books with more action in them this could be just the book for you!

Set in Chuck Holton’s early 20’s, the book starts off to the alarm clock of the Ranger Indoctrination Program, trash cans thrown down the hall of the bunk room and machine gun fire. Every moment of training pushes the recruits to their limits until only the ones with the greatest determination are left. Less than two days into the three week Ranger program, 50% of the recruits had dropped out. Chuck Holton attributes his success only to the saving grace and peace the Lord Jesus Christ had given him. The ultimate test, for both him and the group, came in the form of the “dying cockroach”. An exercise that requires the participant to lay with only their back touching the ground and arms and legs straight up in the air. He describes the ordeal as follows.

“I knew they couldn’t leave us in this position forever, but I was equally unsure that I could outlast the roughly twenty or so men who would have to quit before we could move on to the next ordeal. I had no intention of quitting, but I didn’t know how long my body would hold out. The mental anguish of that prospect was almost more painful than the physical torture of the dying cockroach.”

Before the exercise was over 70 out of 140 men dropped out and he had held the position for over 50 minutes. The book then follows him through the actual training of a US Army Ranger, in some ways more grueling than the Ranger Indoctrination Program. It is during this time he comes to a startling realization.

“I walked along, weaving in and out of trees and stepping over downed logs in sync with my Ranger buddy’s bobbing rucksack, and started thinking about my relationship with God. Had I already experienced a break in contact with Him? Sometimes it felt like it. I’d carried around a small New Testament in my breast pocket for the past two months. But had I ever opened it? The Bible wasn’t doing me any good that way. If I brought my compass along on a patrol but never took it out and consulted it, I wouldn’t stay on course for very long… …A bible isn’t a good luck charm any more than a compass is. Both are dead weight in my pack unless I take them out and use them.”

Through every ordeal he faced he turned to God for strength. From day one of the Ranger Indoctrination Program, to the search in Panama for their elusive dictator, he found comfort in Joshua 1:9.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

Packed full of interesting stories and tips to grow closer to God, Chuck Holton’s book is a great read for Christian interested in the military. He shares how through everyone he met, even the non-Christians, he learned something that he could use to build his faith upon. Just under 200 pages long this book is a shorter, yet amazing companion to believers. I give it a 4 out of 5 stars.


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Published on 11 January, 2010. Last updated on

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  1. Slightly Opinionated Nerd

    This sounds like a great book, I don’t know much about military stuff, but if I could get a copy I’d read it anyway. Looks like this guy learnt a lot of important lessons while serving in the army. And holding that position for 50 minutes??? That’s insane! (It kills me to try for 1 minute!) God DEFINITELY must have been with him! Thanks for the review 🙂

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Into the Book was born out of a crazy idea of a blog that'd provide book reviews for teens. There aren't very many book review websites out there exposing awesome, high-quality Christian literature, and there are even fewer that target teenagers. Since 2009, we've been providing high-quality book reviews to the world through our blog. Into the Book has grown around reviews since then, but it remains our oldest project.

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