The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Book Review: I’m Still Standing Shoshana Johnson

By Barbie Farley/reporter

Imagine being shot in both ankles, forced to walk and surrounded by dozens of machine-gun-toting men who want you dead.

Such was the harsh reality of Shoshana Johnson, a former prisoner of war, who tells everything in her new book I’m Still Standing: From Captive U.S. Soldier to Free Citizen — My Journey Home.

While not entirely sure why she, a cook for the Army, was being deployed to Iraq, Johnson became the first black woman POW in U.S. history. The story she tells creates a vivid picture in the reader’s mind detailing what it was like to be a POW, what conditions she had to endure and how she was rescued.

On March 23, 2003, just days after the U.S. invasion of Iraq began, her unit was attacked by Saddam Hussein’s forces. After several machine guns had jammed and with no other viable options available, Johnson’s unit surrendered. Eleven soldiers were killed and seven soldiers taken and held as POWs in various cities in Iraq.

Johnson and the six male soldiers were moved from town to town while blindfolded. They heard the world blowing up around them and shots fired from every direction. Iraqi officials beat and interrogated the captured soldiers. The courage these soldiers showed is truly inspirational.

In her book, Johnson describes one night in her prison cell.

“Fierce battles raged around us the entire day and night. I cowered on that thin mattress worried that at any moment one of the bombs would find our building. The entire structure shook and rattled all night long.”

Being the only woman in the group, Johnson was constantly separated from the men, forcing her to endure much of the nightmare alone.

Marines were tipped off on the location of their fellow soldiers, and 22 days after their capture, Johnson and the six other POWs were rescued.

“I looked around at the young faces of the Marines and was overwhelmed by their bravery,” she writes about her rescue.

Nearly seven years later, Johnson is still trying to cope with what happened to her during those 22 days. From night terrors to paranoia, she tells all.

I’m Still Standing is a story of tragedy and survival reminding Americans what freedom really means.

It is impossible to read this book and not appreciate what the men and women of the armed forces endure to keep us free and safe today.

 

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