Surviving Son is a compelling true story that provides the reader with an insight into the life of a combat infantryman who fought in Afghanistan at the same time as his younger brother, Steven, who was killed in action just miles away. Scott takes the reader on a journey through his upper-middle-class childhood to his call to service after 9/11. With college degrees and a bright future ahead of them, they left the safety of suburban life to fight on the front lines in Afghanistan. When Scott was asked why he would do this, he responded, “Why not me?”
The story provides many details that give the reader a clear picture of what it was like to fight for their country in a hostile war zone. Scott explains with raw emotion how he learned of his brother’s death, and minutes later, he was engaged in combat with the Taliban, the same group responsible for his brother’s death. He vividly reveals how he continued to struggle with PTSD from the stresses of combat, the loss of his only sibling, and the transition to civilian life.
Scott’s homecoming was not the hero’s welcome that he deserved. As you read the story of his return to civilian life, it will leave you laughing and crying, sometimes at the same time. However, in the end, Scott’s message is one of hope. He addresses the reality vs. perception that often accompanies those struggling after a traumatic event. He openly explains how a flashback or “reliving experiences” can for a few moments have him believing that he is standing on the hot, dusty terrain in Eastern Afghanistan.
It took courage to write this book, and out of much despair, the message is one of hopefulness for others. Scott believes that by telling his story so publicly, it might give hope to others and reverse the stigma that often accompanies those who seek mental health treatment. Scott continues to give back through his podcast, Drive On Podcast, which provides veterans support through the message that they are not alone in their struggles.
This book is a reminder of the sacrifices that the military and their families make to keep us safe. It is especially timely with the withdrawal of troops in Afghanistan, and Scott has addressed his feelings on the subject. He believes that every service member who took part in the war did what was needed to keep Americans safe at home by taking the fight to the enemy. “We did what our country asked us to do. Be proud of that!”