WaterBrook Edition (w/ Bible Verses)

The WaterBrook Special Edition features Bible verses selected by the author to correspond with each letter.  It is distributed through Christian Booksellers.

Words of wisdom, hope, humor, and strength from those who have been tested by fire and maintained their faith

The first book of its kind, Grace Under Fire is an inspiring and spiritual collection of letters and e-mails by U.S. troops and their families from the American Revolution through the War on Terrorism. 

Andrew Carroll, editor of the bestselling War Letters, went through his massive archive of seventy-five thousand previously unpublished wartime correspondences to pick out some of the most intimate, dramatic, historic, and insightful letters and e-mails ever written about faith. The fifty best of these are featured in this incredible book, and they emphasize how extremely important a belief in God has been, and continues to be, in the lives of U.S. troops and their families.

What is especially remarkable about Grace Under Fire is the sheer diversity of the collection, which includes several extraordinary letters by two brothers who fought on opposing sides of the Civil War; a harrowing account by a WWII soldier who survived being on a ship that was torpedoed; a surprising pen pal correspondence between a Marine who fought in Desert Storm and a woman who wrote to him simply to boost his morale—and then fell in love with him; and a profound and impassioned reply to the timeless question “Where is God in wartime?” by a doctor serving in Iraq.

Warfare can reveal the worst in mankind, but it can also bring out the best, and these correspondences are a testament to the heroism, compassion, grace, intelligence, and goodness of American troops and their families. And although the letters and e-mails featured in this book were written in times of armed conflict, they transcend the subject of war. They are about determination, hope, patriotism, fighting for something greater than one’s self, and, of course, the enduring value of faith. Regardless of whether we have served in the military or not, we can all find inspiration and courage in these powerful and insightful words.


“You will experience every conceivable human emotion as you read these real life stories. Andrew Carroll helps us appreciate the heroic people who fought bravely on behalf of our freedom. Read Grace Under Fire and treasure your heritage as an American.”
Jim Graff, president of the Significant Church Network and author of A Significant Life

“These letters give a warm, reassuring, and sometimes sobering reminder that God is in control, even on the battlefield.
Sara Horn, author of A Greater Freedom: Stories of Faith from Operation Iraqi Freedom and publisher of AGreaterFreedom.com

“For generations, a letter from or to a loved one serving in uniform has been a lifeline back to the home front. Now, thanks to Andrew Carroll, we get a few small glimpses of those connections of affection: the ordinary insights, humorous anecdotes, and philosophical and spiritual musings of soldiers today and generations past. Pondering the lives of the men and the women who wrote these letters and the tremendous sacrifices they record is a moving—and sobering—experience every American should undertake.”
Tom Neven, Marine Corps veteran and author of On the Frontline: A Personal Guidebook for the Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual Challenges of Military Life

Sample Letter/Chapter

The American Revolution

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young,
but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in
love, in faith and in purity. 1 TIMOTHY 4:12

James Williams, Serving in the War of Independence, Tells His Son Daniel That He Is Off Fighting in Defense of Their “Rights and Liberties”

Few letters by U.S. troops who fought in the American Revolution exist today. Compared to other major conflicts in our nation’s history, not as many letters were written; there was no postal system to speak of, paper was scarce, and a significant number of soldiers were illiterate. Unfortunately, of the letters that were sent from the front lines (and they were usually hand-delivered through an informal network), many were lost or damaged over time. But what is remarkable about the relatively small number of letters that have survived is how similar the sentiments are to those expressed in correspondence written today. The language is much more formal, but the emotions are very much the same. On June 12, 1779, thirty-eight-year-old James Williams of Hanover, Virginia, penned the following letter to his son Daniel, explaining to him that he is now the man of the house and to place his trust in God.

Dear Son:

This is the first chance I have had to write you. I am, by the cause of Providence, in the field in defence of my country. When I reflect on the matter, I feel myself distracted on both hands by this thought, that in my old age I should be obliged to take the field in defence of my rights and liberties, and that of my children. God only knows that it is not of choice, but of necessity, and from the consideration that I had rather suffer anything than lose my birthright, and that of my children.

When I come to lay down in the field, stripped of all the pleasure that my family connections afford me at home—surrounded by an affectionate wife and eight dear children, and all the blessings of life—when I reflect on my own distress, I feel for that of my family, on account of my absence from their midst; and especially for the mother, who sits like a dove that has lost its mate, having the weight of the family on her shoulders.

These thoughts make me afraid that the son we so carefully nursed in our youth may do something that would grieve his mother. Now, my son, if my favor is worth seeking, let me tell you the only step to procure it is the care of your tender mother—to please her is ten times more valuable than any other favor that you could do me in my person.

I am sorry to have to inform you of the melancholy death of Anthony Griffin, which took place on the 11th instant, while out with a scouting party. Alighting from his horse, and leaning on his gun, it accidentally went off, shooting him through the head. He never spoke after the accident. This is a fatal consequence of handling guns without proper care; they ought to be used with the greatest caution. The uncertainty of life ought to induce every man to prepare for death.

Now, my son, I must bid you farewell. I commit you to the care of Providence, begging that you will try to obtain that peculiar blessing. May God bless you, my son, and give you grace to conduct yourself, in my absence, as becomes a dutiful son to a tender mother and the family.

I am in reasonable good health at present, and the regiment as much so as could be expected. The death of Griffin is much lamented. I hope in God this will find you, my son, and your dear mother and the children, all well. My best compliments to you all, and all enquiring friends.

I am, dear son, with great respect, your affectionate father,

Jas. Williams