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Touching the Dragon: And Other Techniques for Surviving Life's Wars

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“Jimmy Hatch is a personal hero of mine.” —Anderson Cooper “Irresistible. . . . A wounded SEAL’s shame becomes a salvation.”  —J. Ford Huffman, Military Times James Hatch is a former special ops Navy SEAL senior chief, master naval parachutist, and expert military dog trainer and handler. On his fateful final mission in Afghanistan, his SEAL team was sent to recover Bowe B “Jimmy Hatch is a personal hero of mine.” —Anderson Cooper “Irresistible. . . . A wounded SEAL’s shame becomes a salvation.”  —J. Ford Huffman, Military Times James Hatch is a former special ops Navy SEAL senior chief, master naval parachutist, and expert military dog trainer and handler. On his fateful final mission in Afghanistan, his SEAL team was sent to recover Bowe Bergdahl—the soldier who deserted his post and fell into the hands of Al-Qaida and the Taliban. The mission went south, and Hatch was left with a shattered femur from an AK-47 round and the SEAL dog who fought alongside him was dead. As a result of his horrific leg wound, his twenty-four-year military career came to an end—and with it the only life he’d ever known.     In Touching the Dragon, we witness his long road to recovery. Getting well physically required eighteen surgeries, twelve months of recovery, and learning to walk again. But getting well mentally would prove to be much tougher, as he fought through the depths of despair, alcoholism, and the pull to end his own life. What emerges is a different kind of hero’s journey, one in which Hatch shows the courage it takes to confess, confront, and overcome his own brokenness. Through the love of family, friends, and his military dogs, Hatch learned remarkable tools and found his purpose, and now he wants to share this wisdom with the rest of us because we all have wounds.


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“Jimmy Hatch is a personal hero of mine.” —Anderson Cooper “Irresistible. . . . A wounded SEAL’s shame becomes a salvation.”  —J. Ford Huffman, Military Times James Hatch is a former special ops Navy SEAL senior chief, master naval parachutist, and expert military dog trainer and handler. On his fateful final mission in Afghanistan, his SEAL team was sent to recover Bowe B “Jimmy Hatch is a personal hero of mine.” —Anderson Cooper “Irresistible. . . . A wounded SEAL’s shame becomes a salvation.”  —J. Ford Huffman, Military Times James Hatch is a former special ops Navy SEAL senior chief, master naval parachutist, and expert military dog trainer and handler. On his fateful final mission in Afghanistan, his SEAL team was sent to recover Bowe Bergdahl—the soldier who deserted his post and fell into the hands of Al-Qaida and the Taliban. The mission went south, and Hatch was left with a shattered femur from an AK-47 round and the SEAL dog who fought alongside him was dead. As a result of his horrific leg wound, his twenty-four-year military career came to an end—and with it the only life he’d ever known.     In Touching the Dragon, we witness his long road to recovery. Getting well physically required eighteen surgeries, twelve months of recovery, and learning to walk again. But getting well mentally would prove to be much tougher, as he fought through the depths of despair, alcoholism, and the pull to end his own life. What emerges is a different kind of hero’s journey, one in which Hatch shows the courage it takes to confess, confront, and overcome his own brokenness. Through the love of family, friends, and his military dogs, Hatch learned remarkable tools and found his purpose, and now he wants to share this wisdom with the rest of us because we all have wounds.

30 review for Touching the Dragon: And Other Techniques for Surviving Life's Wars

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lee Woodruff

    For anyone who wants to know what life is like not just on the battlefield but when you return home, Hatch writes with an honesty and openness about the “second war” that service members face when they come home. We honor the dead this weekend but we must honor those who have sacrificed and still walk among us in silent pain.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Camellia

    Everything you ever wanted to know about the personal effects of war on man and beast, and then some.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Ewoldt

    This is a very moving story of one man's descent into the maelstrom of mental illness, alcoholism and drug addiction and the compassion and dedication of friends and strangers that rescued him.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mark D

    There are some books that are gripping page-turners that won’t allow you to lay them down. There are some books full of self-help advice that makes you step back and reassess how the hell you’re conducting your day-to-day life. There are some books that give you precious insider’s insight into foreign affairs being conducted half a world away. There are some books that sound the depths of the human soul and give us a reading on the hopes and dragons that sleep there. There are some books that ma There are some books that are gripping page-turners that won’t allow you to lay them down. There are some books full of self-help advice that makes you step back and reassess how the hell you’re conducting your day-to-day life. There are some books that give you precious insider’s insight into foreign affairs being conducted half a world away. There are some books that sound the depths of the human soul and give us a reading on the hopes and dragons that sleep there. There are some books that make you laugh out loud and shake your head. There are some books that embarrass you because they make you weep in your middle seat on an airplane. There are some books that change who you want to be. There are precious few books that do all of these. This is one of them. This is not a review, it’s a request. I’m requesting that you read this book. Not for you, but for me, for all of us. If enough people read this book there might be just a little bit less condemnation of others without knowing their stories. There might just be a few more human chains of love pulling others to safety.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jackie Buckmaster-libert

    I absolutely loved this book for so many reasons. I appreciated getting a glimpse into the life of being a Navy SEAL. I’ve always wondered what motivates folks to do what they do—especially this type of work where you put your life on the line on a pretty regular basis. I also appreciated the insight into what soldiers go through when they are injured. It was incredibly brave for Jimmy to share how he struggled with PTSD and guilt. It is only through sharing experiences that others will learn th I absolutely loved this book for so many reasons. I appreciated getting a glimpse into the life of being a Navy SEAL. I’ve always wondered what motivates folks to do what they do—especially this type of work where you put your life on the line on a pretty regular basis. I also appreciated the insight into what soldiers go through when they are injured. It was incredibly brave for Jimmy to share how he struggled with PTSD and guilt. It is only through sharing experiences that others will learn they are not alone. So happy he is using his many talents to continue to help other humans and dogs. No man is an island, and this book really drove that point home.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Chris Alsop

    I loved this book! I loved this book for many reasons. It made me laugh; it made me reflect; it made me happy; it made me sad; it made me angry. I felt very connected to Jimmy. If you’ve ever struggled with demons in your life, read this book!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Eeg

    Powerful

  8. 4 out of 5

    Gerald Mack

    out f'n standing!!!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jordan

    Wasn't what I was expecting. I was thinking it would be more like "No easy day". After realizing what it was, I enjoyed it but it wasn't extremely compelling. Glad I read it, but certainly do not need to read it again. This is a true story of the struggle a soldiers faces after battle. I cannot imagine what it would be like to be in his shoes. Audible

  10. 4 out of 5

    Steven Lee

    Great book. I thought the parts with Rep. Giffords in it were interesting.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Stephan

    Are you a fan of Navy Seal literature? Need I say anymore?

  12. 5 out of 5

    Tom Tyler

    Excellent read Recommended for anyone to read. Even if you’re not going through one of life’s ambushes doesn’t mean someone you know and care about isn’t. This booked helped solidify my ideals and opened my eyes up to a lot more.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Patricia

    I like the first part of the book best - his descriptions of going into battle and what that was like. The story of his recovery and aftermath wasn't written as well in my opinion.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Lee

    WOW What an excellent, inspiring, honest look at the human spirit. It’s also a Great Story! I feel it was a privilege to be let into Jimmy’s world. Thanks for sharing, James!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy Haddock

    Amazing story of an incredible man and his journey through his life's challenges. Highly recommend for anyone seeking greater insight into the complexity of emotions that face those who protect our shores overseas. Always thankful for individuals like James Hatch protecting America abroad and improving it at home.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Hailey

  17. 5 out of 5

    David Stockton

  18. 4 out of 5

    Dru

  19. 5 out of 5

    Chanler

  20. 4 out of 5

    Linda Mckenzie

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sharon Spory

  22. 4 out of 5

    Angelica McMurtray

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kyle Love

  24. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

  25. 4 out of 5

    Joseluis Ayala

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Doherty

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jayalexn

  28. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Boiko

  29. 5 out of 5

    Derek

  30. 5 out of 5

    Peter

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